About Us


Michigan Dog Training, Michael Burkey, German Shepherd

MICHAEL BURKEY’S CV (resume):  Michael is the CEO and Dog Behaviorist at Michigan Dog Training, a highly successful dog training corporation whose aim is to promote peaceful relationships between pets and their families. MDT specializes in helping high energy dogs become ideal companions.

Michael is a professional dog trainer and dog behaviorist; expert trial witness on dog behavior, Diabetic Alert Dog Trainer, Certified E-Collar Specialist, Certified Canine Good Citizen (CGC) Evaluator for the American Kennel Club (AKC), former Police K9 Handler, Search and Rescue (SAR) K9 Training Director and SAR K9 Handler, obedience and rally competitor and social worker.  Read more info here


Judy Wernette, Michigan Dog Training

Judy Wernette, Executive Assistant

Judy joined our team in July, 2016. She is highly experienced in customer service, organizational management and data processing to name just a few of her skills. You will enjoy her friendly and professional spirit when scheduling your appointments at MDT. She is a partner at Strategic Partners, Inc. (a consulting firm specializing in not-for-profit organizations), former Executive Director of the Lenawee Humane Society and has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration.



Michigan Dog Training, Plymouth, Michigan, dog trainer

Annie Zhao Yang, Assistant Dog Trainer

Annie joined our team on September 3, 2012. She is originally from China and therefore, speaks Mandarin and English. She enjoys training dogs as well as providing dogs with much needed exercise and love.




Michele Bodoh, dog trainer, Michigan dog training

Michele Bodoh, Assistant Dog Trainer

In May 2016 Michele joined the MDT team after having run her own business for thirty years in another field. Through which she learned the importance of excellent customer service and having a strong work ethic. In 2014, she completed the Karen Pryor Academy’s “Foundation Training for Instructors” course, has been actively involved in animal rescue as a foster mom to many dogs and cats through the years, volunteered at the Monroe County Humane Society and earned a Championship Trick dog title on her personal dog through the Kyra Sundance’s “Do More With Your Dog” program.



Nivia Jones, Michigan Dog Training, Plymouth, Michigan

Nivia Jones, Dog Trainer

In July, 2016 Nivia joined the MDT team as an Assistant Dog Trainer. On April 14, 2017 she completed MDT’s Dog Trainer program and passed written and practical exams earning her a promotion to the position of Dog Trainer with a specialization in E-Collar training. She has a natural ability for gaining dogs’ trust quickly. She previously volunteered her time as a  dog walker at the Michigan Humane Society. She is attending college with the aspiration to become a Veterinarian.




Marcus Houston, Michigan Dog Training, dog trainer, Plymouth, Michigan

Marcus Houston, Assistant Dog Trainer

In August 2016, Marcus joined the MDT team. Marcus always has a smile on his face when meeting clients and training their dogs. He was a former Salem High School star athlete so he’ll be sure your dog gets plenty of exercise in between training sessions.




Fern Smith, Michigan Dog Training, Plymouth, Michigan, dog trainer

Fern Smith, Assistant Dog Trainer

Fern had three years dog handling experience at another company prior to joining MDT in September 2016. She was also a Freelance Photographer and a School Teacher for six years. Her Bachelors of Art degree is in English. Fern has the right combination of skills to teach you and your dog by breaking down learning exercises into easy to understand components and have fun while doing it .



Michigan Dog Training, Plymouth, Michigan, Dog Training Technician

Emily Justusson, Dog Trainer

Emily joined the MDT team in October 2016 as an Assistant Dog Trainer. On April 20, 2017, she was promoted to Dog Trainer after having completed MDT’s Dog Trainer program and successfully completed comprehensive written and practical exams with a specialization in E-Collar training. She is enrolled as a student in the Animal Behavior College. She joined our team because she recognized MDT as having an excellent reputation in the field and her goal was to become a dog trainer. She enjoys the process of keeping dogs engaged in training and also learning what motivates them. She believes that dog training exercises should be enjoyable and a positive experience for both pets and their owners. And, we do too.  You and your dog will enjoy her upbeat attitude toward life and dog training.


Abby Nemeth, Assistant Dog Trainer

Abby joined the MDT team in January 2017 as a Kennel Technician. In March 2017 she was promoted to Assistant Dog Trainer due to her excellent work performance and willingness to work extra hours when needed.


Drea Engle, Michigan Dog Training, Plymouth, MichiganDrea Engle, Kennel Technician

Drea joined the MDT team in January 2017. She has run a Pit Bull Rescue for 30 years and had may years experience in the cleaning business.  She always has the dog’s best interest in mind and excels in keeping things well organized.



Kristin Farley, Michigan Dog Training, Plymouth, MichiganKristin Farley, Kennel Technician

Kristin joined the MDT team in March 2017. She has always had an interest in working with animals and has two dogs of her own. She is very calm and patient by nature, compassionate with animals and has excellent communications and customer service skills.



Robert Ankiel, Michigan Dog TrainingRobert Ankiel, Kennel Technician

Robert joined the MDT team in March 2017. He previously volunteered at various veterinary hospitals, loves dogs and is a student at Oakland Schools Technical Campus studying Biotechnology and Environmental Science.  He is always glad to lend a hand and has two dogs of his own.



Brittany Walter, Michigan Dog Training, Plymouth, MichiganBrittany Walter, Assistant Dog Trainer

Brittany joined the MDT team in April 2017. She previously worked as a multi-species Animal Trainer and Performer at Sea World and as an Elephant Caretaker for Barum Bailey Circus. She has two dogs of her own and relocated to the Plymouth area in order to work at MDT.



Michelle Cogle, Michigan Dog Training, Plymouth, Michigan

Michelle Cogle, Assistant Dog Trainer

Michelle joined the MDT team in April 2017.  She relocated from West Virginia to Michigan to join the MDT Team.  She previously trained Mobility Service Dogs at West Virginia University.





Michigan Dog Training (MDT) stands out as a recognized leader in dog training due to:

  • Michael Burkey’s real world experience (Police K9 Officer, Search and Rescue K9 Training Director, Dog Behaviorist, Social Worker, National Scenario Based Trainer and obedience competitor)
  • Our experience, professionally trained and certified staff
  • Being the preferred training place of many veterinarians for their own dogs
  • New agencies (Channel 4 and Channel 7 News, cable TV and newspapers) call MDT when needing to interview a dog behavior expert
  • Corporations call MDT when needing their employees trained in dog bite prevention
  • Attorneys call Michael Burkey when needing an expert witness regarding dog behavior
  • Experience in providing Aggression Rehabilitation, Service Dog training and Scent Detection training
  • Vast experience working with all breeds, large and small
  • Proven ability to successfully train and modify the behavior of the most challenging of dogs that other trainers and facilities can’t or won’t train
  • Use of cutting edge scientifically based behavioral training and experience in all methods of training
  • Varied programs that best suit you and your dog (board and train, day school, night school, in home lessons, private lessons at the facility and group classes)
  • Flexible hours to accommodate your personal and work schedule
  • Abundance of fun group classes
  • Posting clients’ dogs’ pictures on social media so owners can follow their dogs’ training
  • Our numerous five star reviews
  • Unlimited “Perfect Practice” group classes for certain noted programs
  • Free family hikes for all students
  • Our 7,000 square foot highly maintained, climate controlled facility conveniently located at 1031 Cherry Street, Plymouth, Michigan  48170
  • Our honesty, transparency and experience
  • We treat you like family

In summary, we provide the behavior solutions you seek with a five star client experience.