Please Note: All of our classes are suspended until further notice. 

But we still know some great trainers. You can call us at 857-998-3343 or email your inquiry to and we would be happy to point you in the right direction.

RiverDog, we want to give your dog the best experience when he/she is with us for daycare and boarding. We also want to give you and your pup the tools to have a great time wherever you are, so we offer referrals to experienced trainers who will give your pup the skills and confidence to be a very good boy or girl.

Meet Our Trainer

Melissa C. McCue-McGrath, CPDT

Melissa was introduced to dog training when her father inherited a dog sledding team, when she was 8 years old. Since that day, she’s been intrigued by training theory, and the unique bond between dogs and humans. She went to college where she graduated with a degree in Psychology, adopted a dog that could fetch, and moved to Massachusetts. Recently, Melissa and her K9 sport partner “Sadie” have been highlighted on NECN’s “The Secret Life of Animals” and the Fox 25 Morning News for competitive K9 Frisbee.

She is nationally certified through the Council of Certified Pet Dog Trainers, teaches puppy classes in Somerville and Belmont, and is also available for private sessions. Ultimately, Melissa’s goal is to make your relationship with your dog a fun and rewarding experience.

Melissa recently published a book, Considerations for the City Dog, that discusses how to best serve our canine companions while raising them in the city. Paperback and e-book versions are available through Amazon and paperback copies at RiverDog!

Class Descriptions

Basic Manners
Basic Manners is a course for all dogs at least 6 months of age. Whether you are just beginning to build a training relationship with your dog, or want to brush up on some basic skills, this class will help you accomplish your goals. You will learn basic commands, leash manners, coming when called, stay or wait, and more. Techniques for preventing unwanted behaviors and solutions to common problems will also be discussed. Dogs will receive the benefits of being able to socialize with other dogs and will learn to work around distractions. Basic skills will be addressed in this class as well as individual problems and concerns.

Beyond the Basics
Beyond the Basics is for all dogs who have taken an introductory level class. This class is for the dog and handler team looking to expand their current skill repertoire, work with distractions, practice behaviors in different contexts, and to have fun! Handlers will practice real life skills with increasing distractions, including elements from the Canine Good Citizen Test (greeting people without jumping and passing dogs without lunging); distance work with distractions (recall past food bowls and toys, down/stay at a distance); and real-life skills (letting visitors into the home without jumping, leave the food that fell off the counter, etc).

Puppy Kindergarten
This introductory level class is for puppies aged 6 months old. This class will get you started on building a balanced relationship with your dog based on trust, mutual respect, and communication. In this class you will learn basic skills such as sit, down, drop it, stay, settle, come when called, and much more. We will also cover house training, how to curb inappropriate chewing and nipping behaviors, and how to socialize your dog appropriately. You will also learn how to identify healthy and happy play behaviors.

Beyond Puppy Kindergarten
This is a second-level class for puppies up to 1 year old that have completed Puppy Kindergarten and is designed to further the skills learned in the first class. In order for your dog to have a solid and reliable skill-set, he will need to practice in a variety of situations, environments, and with many distractions. This class will address these needs using functional practice, exercises, and games. We will also cover exercises from the Canine Good Citizen exam. Difficulty level will be modified to suit each individual student. This class may also be repeated until the dog is a year of age. This class may be appropriate for dogs who have completed the Young Adolescents class. Please see your instructor for details.

Young Adolescents
A training course specifically designed for dogs ages 6 months to 18 months. This class is for adolescent dogs who need more specialized behavior attention beyond the basics of “sit,” “down,” and “stay.” We will work on attention, impulse control, stop jumping, and working in distracting settings.

Tricks & Fun!
If you don’t have time or patience to burn off your dogs energy as the sun sets earlier in the day, we have a class to channel your dogs energy in a creative way! Shake paws, high five, tug of war, nose work/find it, Frisbee/fetch, roll over – these are all fun ways to show off your dogs skills, and burn energy as the winter sets in. Functionally, you’ll also learn Take It, Drop It and Leave It!

Stop Jumping!
Are you embarrassed when people come into your home because your dog jumps all over your company? Does your dog leap exuberantly at friendly strangers on walks? Would you prefer your dog didn’t knock over small children when excited? Then this short class is for you. We will focus exclusively on stop jumping behaviors, impulse control, and redirecting your dog’s energy into something more appropriate.

Walking in the City/Loose Leash Manners
Stop your dogs pulling behaviors and poor leash manners. You’ll learn a variety of techniques, talk about helpful – and unhelpful – walking devices, and practice walking in Union Square with distractions and a slack leash!

The recall class is a 3 week class designed to help with off leash recall and attention at a distance. If come-when-called is a problem or needs brushing up, this is a great class designed especially for you!

Canine Good Citizen Prep
The Canine Good Citizen (CGC) program is an AKC program to promote responsible dog ownership and to encourage the training of well-mannered dogs. This class will teach you and your dog what he needs to know to complete the evaluation which will be given on the last night of class.

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