Emily promoted to Dog Trainer

Emily Justusson, Dog Trainer, Michigan Dog Trainer

 

On April 20, 2017 Emily Justusson was promoted from Assistant Dog Trainer to Dog Trainer with a specialization in E-Collar training.  She has completed Michigan Dog Training’s Dog Trainer program and successfully passed written and practical exams.

Emily joined the MDT team in October 2016 and is near completing studies at Animal Behavior College.  She has a very upbeat attitude when meeting clients and working with their dogs.  Congratulations Emily!!

Nivia promoted to Dog Trainer

Nivia Jones, Dog Trainer, Michigan Dog Trainer, Michigan Dog Training, Plymouth, Michigan

 

On April 14, 2017 Nivia Jones was promoted from the position of Assistant Dog Trainer to Dog Trainer with a specialization in E-Collar Training. She earned this prestigious achievement after having completed Michigan Dog Training’s Trainer program and successfully completed comprehensive written and practical exams.

In addition to training dogs in MDT’s Day Training and Board and Train programs, she continously steps up to new responsibilities. Some of these have included, teaching “go home” lessons to clients once their dog completed a residency program, teaching group classes, and being a pivotal contributing member of the MDT team.

Congratulations Niva! Your accomplishment is well earned.

Rosebud -SDIT earns Adv. CGC

Michigan Dog Training, Plymouth, Michigan, Service Dog, Service Dog in Training, Mobility Service Dog, Advanced Canine Good Citizen, Advanced CGC, Community Canine Good Citizen

On February 25, 2017, Rosebud a Golden Retriever and her handler Laura-Jean Siggens of Ann Arbor, Michigan earned the American Kennel Club Advanced Canine Good Citizen title at Michigan Dog Training (MDT) in Plymouth, Michigan.

Rosebud is is participating in MDT’s Train Your Own Service Dog (TYOSD) program as a Mobility Service Dog. The TYOSD consists of 24 private and group class lessons and prepares dogs to become a Service Dog. Congratulations to Rosebud and Laura-Jean!

Dash a SDIT earns Urban CGC

Michigan Dog Training, Urban CGC, Urban Canine Good Citizen, Service Dog in Training, Service Dog, Diabetic Alert Dog

On the cold wintery day of January 25, 2017, Dash a Golden Doodle earned the American Kennel Club Urban Canine Good Citizen title. The testing was done by Michael Burkey of Michigan Dog Training in downtown Plymouth. Dash passed with flying colors heeling amongst distractions of people seeking warmth in the Panera Bread restaurant, disregarding walkers and joggers on city streets, sitting beforehand and calmly crossing city streets, loading and unloading from a vehicle under control, disregarding trash left on the sidewalk, transversing open back metal grated stairs and more.

Michigan Dog Training, Urban Canine Good Citizen, CGC, Urban CGC, Service Dog in Training, Service Dog, Diabetic Alert Dog, Michigan Dog Training

Down stay at a restaurant

Dash and her owner Shannon Inglis of Lake Orion, Michigan are participating in MDT’s Train Your Own Service Dog (TYOSD) Diabetic Alert Dog program which consists of 24 private and group lessons to gain public access obedience skills and to be able to alert when Shannon’s blood sugar goes low. They are doing an outstanding job and Dash has already alerted to Shannon’s lows in real world settings.

Congratulations Dash and Shannon!

 

6 New Trick Dogs

Do More With Your Dog, Kyra Sundance

On February 6, 2017  six dog teams earned their Novice Trick Dog Title as part of Kyra Sundance’s “Do More With Your Dog!” program at Michigan Dog Training in Plymouth, Michigan. The teams had to demonstrate 15 points worth of tricks that they learned in the Basic Manners group class. MDT’s Basic Manners group class incorporates both obedience skills and tricks to make learning fun for dogs and their owners.  Congratulations to the following teams:

  1. Michaela Gearin and Tobias Gearin, a Coon/Rott mix of Livonia, Michigan
  2. Barbara Gearin and Owen, an All American Dog of Livonia, Michigan
  3. Sarah Huddas and Rebel, an English Setter of Canton, Michigan
  4. Jillian Miller and Dobby Miller, a Vizsla/Labrador mix of Plymouth, Michigan
  5. Srujana Bolger and Penny Bolger a Rhodesian Ridgeback of Northville, MI
  6. Marvin Asuncion and Leroy, a Shepherd mix of Canton, Michigan

 

How do I teach my dog to go to “place”?

dog training, Michigan Dog Training, teach your dog to go to place, behavior shaping, clicker trainingMax and Lucky are attending private dog training lessons at Michigan Dog Training in Plymouth, Michigan with dog behaviorist Michael Burkey. In the video below, they demonstrate how to teach your dog to go to “place” via clicker training and behavior shaping.

Clicker training is using a sound such as the click of a clicker to mark the moment your dog did a desired behavior and to signal that a food reward is forthcoming. Behavior shaping is capturing and rewarding behavior as it occurs such as the dog touching the target stick with his nose versus luring the dog into the desired behavior. Luring tends to be a faster method of dog training but behavior shaping requires the dog to think instead of just follow a hand and thus cements the exercise into his mind more soundly. A dog taught via shaping is also more engaged in the learning exercise and willing to try new behaviors.

Teaching your dog to go to “place” (a pre-designated location) can be helpful when welcoming your guests into your home, having your dog go away from the kitchen table to prevent begging, jump into your vehicle, go to a spot and relax, etc.

Place can be taught via hand luring or in this example by teaching the dog to touch a target stick such as an Alley Pop freestanding target. The target stick is used to get the dog to move away from the handler. Later, the target stick is placed on the mat where you want your dog to go to and the final step is to remove the target stick and simply have the dog go to the mat on the cue of “place”.

The five steps for teaching your dog go to “place” using behavior shaping include:
1. Teach your dog to touch a target stick held in your hand,
2. Teach your dog to touch a free standing target stick,
3. Send your dog to the target stick from a distance,
4. Place the target stick on a mat to start teaching “place”,
5. Remove the target stick from the “place” mat and cue – Place

Service Dog earns Canine Good Citizen

Service Dog, Diabetic Alert Dog, Michigan Dog Training, Plymouth, Michigan

 

On January 31, 2017, Piper Dashwood Kane and his owners Sheldon and Cheryl Kane of W. Bloomfield, Michigan earned their Canine Good Citizen title.

Piper also successfully completed the Train Your Own Service Dog training program to become a Diabetic Alert Dog (DAD) at Michigan Dog Training in Plymouth, Michigan. The training was provided by Dog Behaviorist Michael Burkey and Assistant Dog Trainer Matthew Bryant.

Congratulations to Piper, Sheldon and Cheryl!

Michigan Dog Training, Diabetic Alert Dog, Service Dog, Canine Good Citizen

 

Number One Best Dog Training Tip

Michigan Dog Training, all dog breeds, large dog breeds, small dog breeds

What is the number one or best dog training tip that a dog trainer can offer? That can be a hard question to answer as there are a lot of things that go into training a dog to have the relationship you desire. However, if you pressed me to answer that question, the answer would be hands down – “consistency.”

Dogs are quick visual learners. They are keen observers and remember your routines. They jump for joy when you pick up their leash telegraphing them it’s time for a walk, they become anxious when you pick up your car keys signaling you’re going to work, etc. One of my clever clients told me that their dog got anxious when she washed her morning water glass as she always did that just prior to putting on her coat and leaving for the day. So sometimes it’s not just picking up the keys or coat that can trigger a response. A dog can recognize an earlier part of the chain of events, especially if you’re consistent in your routine.

When you think your dog has learned an obedience cue via a hand signal or a verbal cue, is that the only thing that triggered them to perform or do other subtle cues prompt them to act? Some examples may include; reaching into your treat pouch before giving a command, learning forward into the dog prior to giving a command to lay down, turning away from them as you want them to exit a vehicle instead of waiting for a command to do so, etc.

Michigan Dog Training, Police K9

K9 Simone

Before I worked on the street as a law enforcement officer, I did an internship in the county jail. That experience taught me I never wanted to work in the jail but it was an interesting social observation. Because the inmates have nothing but time on their hands, they are keen observers of the Correctional Officers’ (COs) routines. And, COs just like all humans are creatures of habits despite trying not to be so. Many of the inmates would purposely try to frustrate the COs for entertainment purposes. Some of the COs recognized it was all a game and were able to not take the inmates’ antics personally. Whereas, many others took it personally and sequentially caused themselves a lot of undue stress that would probably result in elevated blood pressures and other medical conditions.

Similarly, I see many dog owners who are stressed out and struggling with the undesired antics of their dogs. It doesn’t have to be that way. Just like one hires a professional to help them with their taxes, legal matters, and health issues; one should seek help from a professional dog trainer or dog behaviorist. The main thing that separates a pet owner from a dog trainer is consistency. Pet owners can learn how to train a dog but their success level will be dependent upon their consistent follow through.

Years ago, my college roommate was studying abnormal psychology. One of his homework assignments was to have his friends take a 500 question survey. When he scored my results, he told me that I was “abnormal”. I asked jokingly, “what do you mean I’m abnormal!?” He said I was considered abnormal because the test measured consistency and I scored a 100%. We had a good laugh about that and I told him I wasn’t surprised because I recognized many of the questions were the same questions with the same results, they were simply asked in a different manner. He said, well it’s not normal to score 100%. As a dog trainer, this analogy shows me how important it is that we be consistent in our physical cues (intended and unintended), verbal cues, and inflections with our dogs. They are keen observers of our behavior.

To be consistent with your dog:

  • Look how you might be giving unintended cues,
  • Understand your dog is always learning (desired or undesired behaviors)
  • Seek out a professional dog trainer/behaviorist to learn how to train your dog
  • Follow through with the instruction with deep practice
  • Realize your dog is a keen observer of your behavior and
  • Understand your dog’s antics are not personal but rather shows you what your dog still needs to learn.

Michigan dog training, teacherA dear client of mine was struggling to get her dog to go to and remain at “place” (a dedicated location such as a dog bed) while she prepared lesson plans on her computer for her school children. Her dog would do the command during a training session but not when she needed it otherwise. Her dog knew what the command meant so that wasn’t the problem. The problem was consistency. While my client was preoccupied, the dog was no longer receiving reinforcement for staying nor a fair correction for leaving the place.

She became increasingly frustrated with her dog leaving the dedicated place and thus gave up, allowing her dog to come off the place during “non-training sessions” (all moments of time are training sessions). So I asked her a question, “would you ask one of your students to do something that they understood but then take no action when the student simply walked away?” Her response with a smile of passionate enlightenment was, “nooo wayyyy!”

My suggestion was to either be mindful of her dog and be able to respond if her dog stepped off the dog bed or not to give the cue in the first place. It seems like a simple solution and it is. However, many times without a coach (dog trainer) to guide us, we can’t see the obvious because we are stuck in the mind.

Bart Bellon, an internationally known dog trainer coaches dog handlers to know what the rewards for doing are and consequences for not doing. Thus,

1. Teach your dog what to do,

2. Reward your dog for doing,

3. Use fair corrections for not doing, and

4. Above all else be consistent in your approach and response.

Please comment below how you will become more consistent with your dog. And, if you need help, contact Michigan Dog Training in Plymouth, Michigan at 734-634-4152. We can help you!

Key Cabinet Positions for your Dog

U.S. Capitol Building, Michigan Dog Training

Whether you agree with President Trump’s Key Cabinet Appointees or not; it is interesting to watch the selection and confirmation process. It would be interesting to know how President Trump goes about making his selections. How much of the decision process is related to the person’s skill sets and prior experience? Was the person crucial in supporting his bid for the presidency or was he willing to consider those who did not? Are they like minded or willing to question each other for the greater good? And, the confirmation process, what are their agendas in asking specific questions? Is it to further their own agenda or is it truly to ensure the right person is confirmed for the position?

So too it’s crucial to consider each family member’s agenda, skills, and prior experience when selecting a new dog or puppy. Will the right puppy or dog be confirmed to best suit the family’s lifestyle? Are the family members like-minded or willing to listen and compromise on important issues such as:

  • Is this the right time to bring a new dog or puppy into the home?
  • Why are we getting a dog or puppy?
  • Should we adopt or purchase our new family member?Golden Retriever, puppy, pup, puppy training, Michigan Dog Training, Plymouth, Michigan
  • Should we get a puppy or an adult dog? Male or female?
  • What breed of dog will best fit our lifestyle?
  • Is it a “should” that we get a puppy or dog or is it a “must” decision? (To be fair to the dog, it must be a “must decision.”)
  • Who will be the primary care takers?
  • Who will train the dog?
  • Where will we take our dog for dog training?
  • How will we properly socialize our new loved one?
  • Who else will take care of our dog and in what way?
  • If there are children, are they mature enough to interact safely with a dog?
  • How will the puppy or dog impact and add value to our life?
  • How will we add value to our pet’s life?
  • Who will be our veterinarian?
  • Can we afford the financial cost of a puppy or dog? (purchase price, training, veterinarian, food, grooming, boarding when away on vacations, etc)
  • Do we have enough time to spend with our puppy or dog?

So, who are your dog’s Key Cabinet Appointees? Do they want the job(s)? And, how will the family (department) carry out the mission and value of bringing a new puppy or dog into the home? And, what are the other considerations your family must consider before obtaining a new family member? Please comment below.

President Trump, Human Needs & Dog Training

Donald Trump, Michigan Dog Training, Plymouth, Michigan, Fear of Change, dog training

On January 20, 2017, Donald Trump became the 45th President of the United States.  The Inauguration lasted approximately five hours. However, the most interesting part for me was the few moments the camera showed Donald Trump just before he walked out onto the swearing-in platform.  He was quiet and looked focused, deep in thought, and solemn.

I found it interesting to study him for this glimpse of his persona because this is not an image of Donald Trump we commonly see. Even more importantly I was intrigued by what he may have been thinking knowing he had captured the ultimate position of power. Was he visualizing his upcoming acceptance speech? And, was he nervous, ecstatic or in wonderment that he was about to become the 45th President of the United States? It would’ve been interesting to be able to read his mind in that moment of time.

Then my thought went to how an incredible feeling it must’ve been to know one was about to walk out and Michigan Dog Training, Gladiator, President Donald Trumpbecome the President; to go from President-Elect to “The President” in just a few minutes. No matter how prepared one is, change is often scary because people thrive certainty. It is one of the Six Basic Needs That Make Us Tick according to Tony Robbins an internationally known Personal Coach and Strategist. Yes, Trump was certain he would be sworn in but what challenges would he soon face as a leader of the free world?

Similarly, people face uncertainty when bringing a dog into their home. They envision the dog will be a welcomed new family member and the joy the dog will bring to their lives. Later, they realize the puppy or dog requires a lot more work to supervise and train than they first envisioned. This causes a disconnect with the original reason they got the dog. It can also cause disagreement amongst family members as they have their own ideas how to train their dog. This is where it’s beneficial to seek help from a professional dog trainer to give you the certainty you need – to build the relationship you desire with your dog and to restore family unity.

In relation to dog training, many people also need Uncertainty, Significance, Love & Connection, Growth, and Contribution; the other Human basic needs. While people seek Certainty to feel comfort, they also need Uncertainty. It provides variety, for example when a person goes beyond teaching their dog basic obedience and learn the exciting dog sport of Nosework. What fun activities do you want to learn with your dog? Please share below.

Learning how to influence and train your dog can certainly make one feel significant. It’s getting out of “the head” by dismissing self-limiting beliefs, deep practicing new skills by chunking them down into easily achievable parts, practicing them slowly, and then allowing the parts to flow back together. This is how you go from zero to mastering new skills.

Michigan Dog Training, Michael BurkeyLove & Connection can be obtained through personal relationships or by getting a dog.  I know this to be true from personal experience as it was a dog who taught me how to talk. I missed out on hearing beginning language sounds until the age of four. The speech therapist advised my parents to get a dog who would seemingly sit still and listen to me trying to make babbling sounds as I petted my friend Princess. How has a dog changed your life? I’d like to know so please share below.

Growth is crucial for self-fulfillment. If we’re not growing, we’re dying. Humans have a need to push themselves and explore their world and themselves. Working with and training a dog provides that growth not only of new skills but also the personal connection with the dog. As Robbins says, “And the reason we grow, I believe, is so we have something of value to give.”

Contribution provides meaning to life. When one gets out of themselves and focuses on the needs of others, Michigan Dog Training, Michael Burkeyone finds fulfillment. This is what motivates many people to adopt a dog from an animal shelter or rescue organization rather than purchasing a dog. They want to provide love and improve a dog’s life that doesn’t yet have a forever home. For me, I make an unspoken contract with each dog I meet that I will be there for them and help their human counterpart better understand them. They cannot speak for themselves so I can be that catalyst for them, ending suffering and restoring peace within the home. What is your contribution? Please share below. I’m always inspired learning about individual’s contributions to dogs and others.

4 actions will make a lasting change in the relationship with your dog:

  • Realize your dog’s behavior is not what you desire and use your suffering to motivate yourself to take action.
  • Know, declare and own that you and your dog deserve a close and fun relationship together.
  • Get clear on how you want your relationship to be with your dog. Commit this to being a lifestyle change.
  • Call a dog behavior expert to help you achieve your dream.

I started this conversation by wondering what President Trump was thinking before stepping out onto the platform and what were his fears as he became the President. So too, I’d like to hear what your fears are in training your dog or seeking out a professional dog trainer/dog behaviorist for assistance. What prevents you from taking action today?