Dr Melissa Starling (PhD)

BSc(Hons), PhD, Grad Cert (Higher edu)
Animal Behaviourist

Dr Melissa Starling (PhD) is an animal behaviourist with 10 years’ experience in animal behaviour consulting. She has a Bachelor of Science majoring in zoology and a PhD in dog behaviour, cognition and emotions, and extensive practical experience in behaviour modification training and handling aggressive and reactive dogs.

She has a functional approach to behaviour modification, focused on identifying why animals are behaving the way they are and how to help them solve their problems effectively without conflict, and in ways that are acceptable to their human carers. Melissa is compassionate and non-judgmental and will work with you to formulate a tailored training and management plan for your situation.  Melissa has shared complicated cases with behaviour veterinarians for years and is excited to be a part of a team where she can work more closely on these kinds of cases.

Melissa has featured on science programs, radio and live television as a dog expert, has co-authored a book called Making Dogs Happy and contributed a chapter to the text book Dog Bites A Multidisciplinary Approach. She has also published 28 research articles in peer reviewed journals on dog, sheep and horse behaviour and wildlife rehabilitation. She regularly writes articles for The Conversation on dog-related issues, and keeps abreast of research in applied animal behaviour and welfare.

Melissa enjoys developing her practical training skills and has attended workshops and seminars with world leaders in the field of animal training, including a 5-day workshop in Florida training birds with Steve Martin, Susan Friedman and their team at Natural Encounters Inc. She loves training her animals to perform tricks because it is a fun way to test and improve her training skills. Melissa is up-to-date on the latest trends in animal training and behaviour modification and co-hosts a podcast on this called The Animal Behaviour Doctors.

Melissa lives with her own spicy and complicated canines who can attest to the effectiveness of her techniques.


Check out some of Dr Melissa’s publications: