How it all started...
Melinda’s career started out as a Civil Engineer, but in 2010 her passion for training animals became a dream come true as she ventured into the dog training world. In 2013, Melinda decided to open her own training center “Lucky Dog Training”, a positive reinforcement-based training center that focused on the human side of dog training. In January of 2017, Melinda and her staff moved to their current location and rebranded to “Lucky Dog Training Center”. Melinda is a true believer that “Dreams do come true” when you are dedicated and keep looking forward!
Interested in growing with us? We’re always looking for dedicated, positive people to join the Lucky Dog team! Send your resume to [email protected].
Meet the Team
Owner/Trainer – Lead Nosework and Rally Trainer
Melinda has been training dogs (and their people) since 2010 and has helped thousands of clients learn to live a better life with their dog! As well as owning Lucky Dog, Melinda also likes to teach some classes, like puppy and manners, advanced and nosework! Her passion for training dogs and helping owners communicate is the joy to success.
Ciara graduated from Texas A&M University in 2019 with a B.S. in Animal Science. She and her dog, Belle, love training in the agility ring and hope to start competing in the future. She is a firm believer in the power of positive training to help build a lifelong bond with the dog and owner. Ciara manages Lucky Dog’s marketing, scheduling, and retail center.
UNT Grad ABA/Animal Science
Trainer - Puppy, Manners, Advanced and more!
Lea graduated with a bachelor's degree in ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis) with a field of study in Animal Science and Behavior Training from the University of North Texas. While attending college, she was the chairman of O.R.C.A. (Organization of Reinforcement Contingencies for Animals) and taught animal training to underclassmen. She has been a part of many animal training projects since graduating, such as teaching husbandry behaviors for exotic, farm and domesticated animals. Most recently she worked at the Fort Worth Zoo as a zookeeper where she trained armadillos and goats. Lea recently received her AKC Canine Good Citizen and Tricks Evaluator certification in May of 2023 and is currently working on her CPDT-KA to pass before the year is up!
Lea has started teaching behavioral modification in private sessions to improve the lives of reactive dogs and their owners through positive reinforcement. She currently owns 2 dogs, Scarlett and Mac, and a 16 year old cat, Pumpkin. Lea has had Pumpkin since her childhood, and that’s how her animal training journey all started. Scarlett, a 4 year old Heeler-Chihuahua mix, has earned her AKC Novice, Intermediate, and Advanced Tricks title as well as her Canine Good Citizen certification. She is currently training in Rally and working on her Elite Performers Tricks Title, all while being one of Lea’s two demo dogs. Mac, a 6 year old American Bully, is registered through 4 Kennel Clubs including AKC and UKC. He is currently training in Nosework and working on preparing for his first Nosework trial in October 2023, all while being introduced to Agility and working as Lea’s second demo dog.
Lead Agility Trainer
Beth Martin started agility in 1996 with her rescue cattle dog mix Rysa, and very quickly became hooked on the sport. She has been competing and teaching all levels and venues since 1997 in the Atlanta area until moving to DFW in 2019. She has had many successes at a high level with multiple dogs over the years. Most notable are being a 3 time USA world team member with her now retired Sport Mix Keen (twice with USDAA and once with UKI), and has also made semi-finals and finals several times at USDAA's Cynosports and at the UKI US Open with multiple dogs. Keen also was the Purina Incredible Dog Challenge Southeast champion in the 30 Weavepole challenge event. Beth is now bringing her 4 year old Jack Russell terrier Yeti up through the ranks, and has already had some good success locally and regionally with him. She has hopes of trying out for the UKI team soon, and competing with him this year at USDAA Cynosports. Beth competes in all organizations , but she really enjoys the training and handling challenges offered by UKI and USDAA.
Teaching others to enjoy agility as passionately as she does has always been important to Beth. She enjoys the challenge of helping people get the most out of their relationship with their own dog, and to be successful at whatever level each team is interested in, whether it's just a recreational activity to do with their dog and compete at local trials, all the way up to being able to being competitive nationally or internationally with their own dog.
Beth also has trained and competed in Nosework, flyball, barn hunt, disc dog, and dock diving, and enjoys the diversity as well as similarities of the training in each sport."
CPDT-KA Trainer - Puppy and Basic Manners
Joy’s dog training career formally began in the summer of 2007, but she has always had a strong love for dogs and a passion for teaching. Her goal when training is to strengthen the relationship between owners and their dogs by helping owners understand the why behind canine behaviors. Joy has a wide variety of training experience ranging from therapy work to protection sport (IPO), and more recently started competing in AKC Rally with her four year old Rottweiler, Akira. Joy is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT-KA) and an AKC Canine Good Citizen Evaluator, and she graduated from Oklahoma State University with a degree in Elementary Education. When she isn’t teaching dog training classes, she can be found teaching fifth grade science and social studies for a local school district.
Trainer - Puppy and Basic Manners
Kat has a passion for working with both dogs and people. For her, positive reinforcement training promotes stronger bonds and overall well-being for both dogs and their owners. She has loved dogs since childhood and began her formal involvement with dogs when she served as a prospective home evaluator in 1996 for an Italian Greyhound rescue group in Minnesota with her IG, Cappuccino. Since moving to DFW she has been active with her current dog, Maggie, who is a large mixed-breed rescue. As a team they have been involved in a variety of dog sports and training including rally, tricks, agility, nose work, and Canine Good Citizen.
Kat began on-boarding with the Lucky Dog team in February of 2022 with the Puppy Kindergarten and Basic Manners classes, and has found a second calling in dog training. She hopes to work toward her CPDT-KA and pursue further studies to support the relationship between dogs and their owners. She graduated from Saint Olaf College with a degree in Secondary Social Studies Education and earned her Master’s from Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota with an emphasis in learning and cognitive processes. When not at Lucky Dog, she can be found teaching high school history in a local district.
Rachel "Rach" Simmons
Trainer - Puppy and Basic Manners
Rachel “Rach” Simmons fell in love with training dogs while raising her first puppy in 2019. That puppy, Bean, has grown into an excellent role model for her new puppy brother, Behemoth. While working at a local doggy daycare, Rach became fascinated with canine behavior and body language, socialization and play styles. After being certified as a dog trainer at that job, Rach became a canine scholar, learning from every new dog (and human) she trained and every book she could get her hands on. She also organized a foster program to help local shelter pets find homes. Her favorite parts of being a trainer are preparing enrichment activities and getting to play tug after a great training session. In the future, Rach hopes to learn more about dog sports and even step into the competitive ring. Her goal as a trainer is to help people better understand their dog, and to continue the pursuit of knowledge. She hopes to test for the CPDT-KA next year, and will then pursue a Fear Free certification.
Retail & Trainer (Onboarding)
Say hello to Paityn and her pack, Cash, Collins and Paxis! They are new to Texas and love to hike, camp, take photos and enjoy the outdoors. Paityn has had a passion for dogs since she can remember, but her dog training journey really began with her personal dogs in 2020 when she started earning trick titles with her White Swiss Shepherd, Collins. Once introduced to the sport world, Paityn and Collins started competing in Dock Diving and Fast CAT plus training in Disc and Agility. Paityn also does Barn Hunt with her 12 year old Cattle dog/Husky mix, Cash, and plans to compete in Disc, Agility and Dock Diving with her Border Collie pup, Paxis.
The dog sport world really opened Paityn up to the idea of working with humans and their dogs to form a stronger bond and connection through training and play. She is onboarding to be a trainer at Lucky Dog, and looks forward to bringing people closer together with their pups and building that bond!
Trainer - Rally and Conformation
Susan Ramsbottom came by her love of animals and training from her family, with her father growing up on a farm raising, training and showing livestock. She and her sisters began in 4-H with the dog project in the late 1960’s and have maintained their interests ever since.
Beginning with obedience and Junior Showmanship, her interests grew to include agility, Nosework, conformation, Rally, and lure coursing. She has had Dobermans, Pointers, English Springer Spaniels, a Wire Fox Terrier, Saluki, and has had Manchester Terriers (Standards and a Toy) for the past 17 years.
With a special interest in Behavior and Training she earned a degree in Psychology, is a member of APDT, earned the CPDT-KA, is a licensed Vet Tech, and likes to stay current with continuing education seminars. She has worked for an Assistance Dog organization for the past 30 years. She especially enjoys problem solving training challenges, teaching owners how to understand and train their pets to be much loved family members. She finds much satisfaction in “being the wind beneath other people’s wings”.