About Us

Our Philosophy

I am a “Real-World” dog trainer, who will work with your dog in real-life situations. It is highly unlikely that there will come a point in time when your dog is at the dog park with tons of dogs running, playing, and wrestling around them and they will be sitting waiting for you to call them, it rarely happens, which is why it is important to have a dog that has 100% off-leash recall abilities no matter how high the distraction is. Your dog might lie down on command or sit on command and “stay” at home but not when distracted by kids running around, ambulances driving by, baby strollers rolling by, or other dogs barking and lunging at them. Your dog should do a solid “down/stay” AND a solid “sit/stay” until you give another command, with no problem.

Most dogs are born to be followers but the big mistake most people make is when they humanize the dog, which gives them that role of authority and they begin to become leader and telling YOU what to do. If you treat your dog like a kind/Queen, don’t be surprised when they set rules for THEIR kingdom. Because we deal with a lot of aggressive dogs, I have incredible structure in my training. Some people might find my training extreme, but when your dog is chasing a squirrel and heading into the street, do you want your dog to respond to you only 50% or 75% of the time or listen to you 100% of the time? Remember, too, that I do not attempt to take the playfulness out of your dog. Play is important, at appropriate times and places. We incorporate in our training rules, boundaries and limitations which betters the dog understanding of becoming a follower and understanding there is a time and place for everything.

Meet Our Team

Nelson Mendoza – Owner & Founder of The Happy K-9
My name is Nelson Mendoza and I am a Dog Obedience and Behavior Modification dog trainer.
Here at The Happy K-9, we train dog owners and rehabilitate/educate dogs. We have trained hand in hand with the two top dog trainers on the east and west coast, with Sean O’Shea, owner of The Good Dog in California and who is also one of Cesar Millan’s personal hired trainers in Cesar’s “highly-acclaimed seminar ‘Training Cesars Way’”. On the East Coast, we have trained with Jeff Gellman, owner of ‘Solid K-9 Training’ who has many awards for the best board and train facility and is very well known for rehabilitating dogs that are marked ‘red zone’, overall a fantastic man and dog trainer/behavioralist. I made my way up to Nova Scotia, Canada for a shadow program with Ted Efthdyimiadis from Mango Dogs one of the best trainers in the industry dealing with rehabilitating dogs with real genetic aggression, dog aggression, human aggression, resource guarding, etc.
We have trained with the best which is why we give people the best results.

Why I chose to work with dogs?

Working with dogs is one thing but working with dogs that have a past is another. They come in shutdown, nervous, fearful, aggressive, etc and when they go through our program and finally can do what owners never thought they would ever do, it’s a life changing moment. I love being apart of the transformation whether it be a rehab case or a maintainer case, we just want to make sure they go home the best version of themselves. Knowing that I was apart of that process – that’s why I work with dogs.

Why The Happy K-9?

I trusted Nelson from the beginning, don’t know why, I just trusted my gut. His drive, his determination to help owners and dogs and his ability to problem solve. He told me 8 years ago and I’ll never forget, “I want to help the owners that everyone turns away, I want to give them hope”. He always makes sure his team is taken care of, makes sure his clients are taken care of and will not sleep unless everything is taken care of — trust me, I know! Been here 8 years and don’t plan on leaving.


Why I chose to work with dogs?

When I was a kid I had this gigantic encyclopedia of dog breeds (with pictures) that I absolutely loved. I would read about each dog breed, memorizing  and learning everything I could until all the pages started to fall apart. I think that’s where my obsession with dogs started! In my opinion, dogs are one of the most selfless creatures on the planet. I get to honor that every day by being the voice that advocates for them and to be the teacher that shows both the dog and handler, how to be the best versions of themselves together.

Why The Happy K-9?

For the last decade I’ve gotten to work in all aspects of the animal care field…I’ve seen what works and experienced the hard way what definitely does not work! Nelson and his team go above and beyond when it comes to your dog and the quality of care they offer. I chose to work at The Happy K-9 because I wanted to work in an environment that challenged me as a trainer but also allowed me to learn and grow as a team member and leader. Nelson’s patience, training style, knowledge of dog behavior and dedication to the dog and owner is not something everyone in this industry has. Everyday I get to change dogs lives with their owners because of the skills he has taught me. I am very grateful he took a chance on me and allowed me to be apart of his amazing team of dog lovers.

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Olivia (Liv)

Why did I choose to work with dogs?

I’ve always had a passion for working with dogs. For me overall goal of training a dog is to foster a healthier and more fulfilling relationship between pet and owner. It’s so rewarding to see the owners get a new fresh start their pet!

Why the happy k9?

The happy k-9 team works incredibly hard to give every dog and owner the best care! They create an environment for every dog and every situation to thrive in! It’s so rewarding seeing all the dogs living their best lives!

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Why I chose to work with dogs?

Working with dogs is so therapeutic in a way and it just brings a smile to my face every morning knowing I’m coming to work and seeing my fur balls!

Why I chose the happy k-9?

I had a dog his name was Hunter who was food/ human aggressive. We had contacted a trainer beforehand for his aggression but we didn’t see any changes. I entered in contact with Nelson and he had asked me to come in for an evaluation. During the evaluation, that didn’t even last an hour, Nelson managed to touch Hunters food bowl while he was eating and managed to introduce a new person in the room without him showing any aggression. Since then I’ve always looked at dogs different and once I saw the job listing I knew I had to join his team to continue learning about dogs.

Nathan (Nate)

Why i chose to work with dogs?

Growing up, I always had dogs! I’ve always had a passion with animals and working with dogs was definitely one of them!

Why the Happy K-9?

I chose The Happy K-9 because it is a structured environment. Before THK-9, my dog had no discipline, rules or boundaries, plenty of love though. After coming to our training/ daycare facility, there was a dramatic change in her behavior and behavior towards dogs. She strives through structure!

Nelson Sr.

Why you chose to work with dogs ?

They say if you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life.

Why The Happy K-9?

The main reason I chose The Happy k-9 is because they welcome everyone and never believe that hope is lost because change is always possible with proper tools and information.


Why I choose you work with dogs.

I’ve always loved all animals ever since I was young. Working with dogs fulfills that love. I love learing about them, like their body language and respecting their boundaries. They’re such wonderful creatures and I enjoy giving them a safe and fun environment in our daycare!

Why the happy k-9?

Having previous daycare experience, I have never been in such a strong and structured  environment before. I have learned so much at the Happy K-9. Nelson, Lauren and Liv do an amazing job training and we get to see that pay off in daycare. I’ve seen dogs blossom and flourish into their full potential. It makes me proud to work here seeing that. I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else!


Why did you choose to work with dogs? 

I have always had an inexplicable love for dogs, working with dogs is like therapy, it brings me peace, seeing these furry animals with so much love and joy is pleasurable, work with what you love and you will never need to work again in your life.

Why the happy k9? 

I chose The happy k-9 because theyre different than any other daycare. The staff is so friendly and you can tell they’re all passionate about what they do. I also love that the dogs that come to daycare have done training because it makes it exclusive and safer for all the pups. All the dogs there are so well behaved and have so much fun it’s amazing to see them interact regardless of the breed, size, or form of training they did with Nelson!