Paw In Hand, LLC is devoted to keeping good pets in good homes through the training of cats and dogs and the education of owners. Mel specializes in working with family pets and with fearful or reactive dogs.

Contact Mel any time at or 563-663-7554 for help with your pet!

Paw In Hand, LLC is a pet training company based in Dubuque, IA and serving the surrounding Tri-State area. Mel helps you train your cat or dog by enhancing communication between owner and pet. By building a better understanding, we can strengthen the relationship and fix the problem behaviors simultaneously.

While training with Mel, you will benefit from clear, patient instruction, unlimited support by email or phone, and flexible scheduling. Mel will do everything in her power to help you fit training seamlessly into your life.

Mel uses “marker training”, telling the animal when they get it right and when they get it wrong. The positive marker is often paired with access to something the animal wants, which then increases motivation. Throughout training, we’ll keep an eye on building the relationship and increasing self control while decreasing stress by giving clear direction.

In short, Mel will teach your pet the same way she will teach you- by telling you when you have it right, and helping you correct it when you get it wrong. With clear communication, owners and pets improve quickly and steadily while having fun!


Mel is doing private lessons for those who need them. Dogs must be current on rabies and distemper, and clients must be vaccinated against Covid. Since Mel has chronic migraines, unfortunately there is a significant chance she may need to reschedule on short notice, but if all that is acceptable, qualifying clients can email about setting up private lessons.

Are you looking for help? Please see the Behavior Education Center for videos to get started. Remote private training sessions with Mel are available, as well.

Looking for basic obedience? Mel’s training manual, designed to go along with her basic obedience classes, is available as an ebook or a paperback. Read Dog As A Second Language and supplement with the free videos in the Behavior Education Center. Got a puppy? Puppy, Translating Your World is also now available, geared toward puppies under 6 months. Supplement with the information and handouts in the Puppy section of the Behavior Education Center.