Meet The Team


Promoting Positive Pet Care

Melissa Viera, Proprietor, Trainer & Groomer

A little creativity goes a long way when it comes to pet training!

Melissa Viera opened MJ’s Pet Training Academy in the spring of 2013 to provide people and animals with a positive and friendly academy where they could learn and train. Helping pets and people, and having a positive impact within the pet care industry is what Melissa is most dedicated to. MJ’s provides training, grooming and enrichment to pets all over the Southcoast and surrounding areas. Along with basic obedience and pet manners, pets come to MJ’s to learn many new tricks and games, and to be given jobs that are enriching and help prevent negative behaviors.

Growing up, training her pets skills for everyday life and care (think rabbit hopping into a travel carrier on cue, dogs filing their own nails by scratching a filing board, or pet mice walking into a tube on cue to be moved from one habitat to another) was always just a way of life for Melissa. Melissa spent her free time training and showing her dogs, performing demos of tricks and freestyle, raising rabbits, and grooming all of the family dogs.

She attended Bristol County Agricultural High School where she studied Small Animal Science and was involved in FFA canine showmanship and grooming competitions. After high school, she went on to earn her Diploma in Dog Obedience Instruction and become a Certified Trick Dog Instructor.

Melissa always strives to go above and beyond for those she works with. Along with being the owner of MJ’s she is also the founder of Positive Groomer, and she writes for pet industry magazines along with teaches seminars and workshops. Her goals include sharing her positive and creative pet training solutions and helping families find jobs and games for their pets to eliminate boredom. She also has an interest in educating youth and inspiring future dog trainers.

She hopes to reach and inspire as many pet owners as she can so they too can enjoy the benefits of training and bonding with their pets. To do this, she not only teaches lessons but shares free resources. When she is not busy working towards this goal, she enjoys volunteering with her therapt rabbit, Viktor, or just hanging out with her pets.

Do You Need Some Training Tips and Inspiration?


An Artist In The World of Dog Shows and In The Grooming Salon

Autumn Dugan, GROOMER

Making every dog feel like they just won best in show comes naturally for Autumn Dugan, groomer at MJ’s and dog show handler.  It doesn’t take long for Autumn to become best friends to the dogs she works with. What dog wouldn’t love being fussed over, and pampered like a show dog? Autumn began showing dogs at just 10 years old after watching and becoming completely fascinated by the "Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show," on TV ,which she would later be showing in herself.  Her dedication and love for dog shows was clear from the moment she began showing. Currently, she shows many breeds, but specializes in German Shepherds. She has earned over 30 titles and championships since starting and the number continues to grow. As a groomer, Autumn uses her understanding of breed-standards and conformation to groom dogs in a way that shows off their best features. Whether she is showing, training, or grooming, Autumn pays attention to details like any great artist.

Autumn loves all dogs of every breed and mix. Since starting work as a groomer at MJ’s, she has made a lot of great four-legged friends and she hopes to make many more.