Michelle Cogle promoted to Training Instructor

Michelle Cogle, Michigan Dog Training, Plymouth, Michigan, dog, training instructor


On September 19, 2017 Michelle Cogle was promoted from Dog Trainer to Training Instructor (TI) at Michigan Dog Training in Plymouth, Michigan.  She will still train dogs at MDT but has accepted additional responsibilities. The promotion is well deserved and is in recognition of her excellent dog training skills, demonstrated staff training skills, awesome customer service and perfect time and attendance.

Michigan Dog Training hired Michelle as an Assistant Dog Trainer on April 25, 2017.  She relocated from West Virginia where she had trained service dogs. On July 11, 2017 she was promoted to the position of Dog Trainer after successfully passing MDT’s comprehensive written and practical exams. On September 12, 2017 she was awarded the MDT August 2017 Employee of the Month Award.

Her new position as a Training Instructor is a mid-management position and includes but not limited to training MDT Staff, being a shift leader, and teaching group classes and private lessons.  Congratulations Michelle!

Michelle Cogle – Dog Trainer

Michelle Cogle, Michigan Dog Training, Plymouth, Michigan, Dog Trainer


On June 11, 2017 Michelle Cogle was promoted from Assistant Dog Trainer to Dog Trainer at Michigan Dog Training in Plymouth, Michigan. She successfully completed MDT’s Dog Trainer program and passed comprehensive written and practical exams with high scores.

Michelle joined the MDT team in 2017. Previously, she trained mobility service dogs at West Virginia University.  We are very proud of her hard work, dedication and accomplishment.  Congratulations Michelle.

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!!

N.J. promoted to Dog Trainer


On April 14, 2017 N.J. 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! Your accomplishment is well earned.

Juliana Arnold passes exams to be a Dog Trainer

Michael Burkey, Michigan Dog Training, Dog TrainerOn June 9, 2016, Juliana Arnold (having already passed practical exams) also passed a through written exam with flying colors, recognizing her as a “Dog Trainer with a Specialization in E-Collar Training” at Michigan Dog Training (MDT) in Plymouth, Michigan. She received training at MDT while working there as an Assistant Dog Trainer since August 30,2015. On June 9, 2015 she was promoted to the position of “Dog Trainer.”

Since the age of 13, she had been a passionate dog owner and volunteer at the Dearborn Animal Shelter. In 2015, she graduated from the University of Michigan with a Bachelors of Arts in Criminal Justice. Juliana also lived for three years in her mother’s home country of Venezuela where she became fluent in Spanish. Juliana says, “I joined MDT in 2015 with a desire to get a first class education in dog training from Michael Burkey.” She is a person who accomplishes her goals.

Her other goal is to become a Michigan State Police Trooper. She was recently accepted into their July 2016 Trooper School.  She expects to graduate in November 2016 and one day handle a Michigan State Police K9. As demonstrated by her hard work ethic and concern for others (people and dogs) at MDT, we know she will be successful in what ever goals she sets for her self. MDT wishes her good fortune and our full support.

Michigan Dog Trainers – Train the Trainer

Michigan Dog Training, Michigan Dog Trainers,

Michigan Dog Trainers


The Michigan Dog Training (MDT) staff is composed of very experienced and caring personnel dedicated to the care and well-being of your dog. Additionally, MDT has a structured training program for its Assistant Dog Trainers and Dog Trainers administered by the Program Coordinators as well as on-going Train the Trainer in-service training for all staff with Michael Burkey.

Each week, dog trainers at MDT in Plymouth, Michigan come together for a team meeting led by Michael Burkey, CEO and Dog Behaviorist at MDT. They discuss the dogs’ progress in the various dog training programs and hone their own dog training skills. This process keeps their skills sharp and gives them the opportunity to collaborate with each other in formulating new programs and training ideas.

Some of the in-service topics have included:

  • Safe dog handling and bite prevention
  • Aggression management
  • Focused heeling
  • Engagement or capturing the dog’s attention despite the reward not being present on the trainer
  • Ways to add distance work to stays
  • Sit and Down out of motion drills
  • Capping drive behaviors (quickly getting the dog to sit or down while the dog is in prey drive such as when chasing a toy)
  • Position changes (sit to stand, down from a stand, and stand from a sit with the dog in front as well as off to the side)
  • Going away from the trainer to a flat foot target
  • Having the dog return to them into a heel position by going around the trainer or lining up beside them
  • Heeling in close quarters to other dog teams
  • Advanced e-collar work
  • Fetch and hold an item for service dogs in training
  • Scent detection (diabetic alert dog, narcotic detection and nose work), and more.

The below video gives you a behind the scenes look at MDT Trainers working with the dogs.

Kaboom earns BH obedience title

On October 31, 2015 KABOOM Du Loups Du Soleil and Michael Burkey of Michigan Dog Training in Plymouth, Michigan earned their BH obedience title in IPO. The trial was held at Capital Area Schutzhund Club in Charlotte, Michigan where they are a member. Their coach is Gustavo Sanchez.

The BH or Begleithunde is the preliminary and prerequisite test for a dog going on to get his/her IPO titles. IPO (formerly known as Schutzhund) stands for International Prüfungsordnung (International working tests). The BH is an obedience and temperament evaluation of the dog. There are two components of the BH. The first is the obedience portion performed on and off leash as shown in the video. The obedience routine includes the following:

  1. Heel on lead (showing left & right turns, about turns, automatic sits, and heeling amongst a group of people)
  2. Heel off lead (showing left & right turns, about turns, automatic sits, and heeling amongst a group of people)
  3. Sit stay
  4. Down stay
  5. Come when called and return to heel position
  6. Long Down while another dog team performs on the field

If the team earns enough points, they proceed onto the temperament portion of the BH which includes the following:

  1. Presentation of the dog to the judge of a tattoo or microchip for identification
  2. Having the dog surrounded by a crowd of people while the owner steps outside of the group and then returns to pick up the dog
  3. All of the dogs heeling together in a line and back past each other
  4. While the dog is tethered to a tree and the owner is away, another dog team heels past the dog
  5. The dog is non reactive to a passing by jogger, biker, and vehicle.

A dog that passes the temperament evaluation is viewed by the Judge as a dog that is:

Michigan Dog Training, Michael Burkey, Kaboom du Loups du Soleil

Kaboom Du Loups Du Soleil, BH

  • self-confident
  • quiet, secure and attentive
  • animated and attentive
  • impartial and good-natured
  • friendly and outgoing

Upon successfully completing both portions, obedience and temperament; the dog is awarded the title of BH. The dog is now eligible to compete in IPO competitions which tests the dogs in tracking, obedience and protection work.


Julie Arnold joins the Michigan Dog Training Team

Michigan Dog Training, Dog Trainer, Julie Arnold

On August 29, 2015 Julie Arnold joined the Michigan Dog Training (MDT) team, a professional dog training company in Plymouth, Michigan. Her position is “Assistant Dog Trainer.” Her tasks will include the care and training of dogs while under the supervision of Certified Dog Trainers. She will receive top notch training at MDT to become a Dog Trainer and later a Certified Dog Trainer.

In 2013, she earned a Bachelors of Arts Degree in Criminal Justice at the University of Michigan, Dearborn. For the past 13 years, she has been a volunteer worker at the Deaborn Animal Shelter and her best friend of ten years is an Airedale Terrier named Darcy. Her previous employment has included positions of caring for people and providing excellent customer service. Additionally, she speaks Spanish fluently, obtained while living for three years in her mother’s home country of Venezuela.

Julie says, “I have had an extreme passion for working with dogs since childhood. My own dogs have always brought me such joy and fulfillment in my personal life that I hoped one day to incorporate my love of dogs with a career.  I joined MDT with a desire to get a first class education in dog training from Michael Burkey.” She went on to say, “I also wanted to work for Michigan Dog Training due to their commitment to hiring veterans. Having close friends and family that have served in the Armed Forces and witnessing what these men and women struggle with, I admire a company that honors a commitment to our country’s veterans. I told myself, this is definitely a company I want to work for and be a part of.”


Julie is an excellent addition to the MDT team based on her:

  • 13 years volunteer work at the Dearborn Animal Shelter working with large and small dogs
  • Bachelor’s Degree
  • Prior work experience caring for people and providing excellent customer service
  • Bi-lingual skills
  • Professionalism and hard work ethic

Welcome aboard Julie!

Remote Dog Collar Specialists

remote dog training collar, Michigan dog training, ecollar, e-collar, shock collar, Michigan Dog Training, Plymouth, Michigan

Remote Collar Certifications

On June 3, 2015 a Michigan Dog Training Academy student and four Michigan Dog Trainers (MDT) trained by Michael Burkey passed with flying colors a comprehensive Remote Training Collar written exam at MDT in Plymouth, Michigan. The exam covered learning theory, collar mechanics and the practical application of the training tool. Remote training collars allow dogs to learn dog training skills quickly through low level tactile stimulation and with great reliability.  Additionally, the MDT Trainers successfully passed a mentoring training program enabling them to become remote collar specialists.

Congratulations to all (L to R):

Bobby Mathieson, MDT Academy studentMichigan Dog Training, remote collar, shock collar, ecollar, dog training exam

What it takes to be a MDT Certified Dog Trainer

Michigan Dog Training, Plymouth, Michigan

Michigan Dog Training in Plymouth, Michigan has a structured and documented training program for it’s trainers as they develop their knowledge of dog training and handling skills. Most MDT trainers start out as an Assistant Dog Trainer, progress to Dog Trainer and then become a MDT Certified Dog Trainer to ensure they have the skills necessary to provide the ultimate training experience for clients and their dogs. The purpose of this blog post is to discuss what it takes to become a MDT Certified Dog Trainer.

A Certified Dog Trainer assists the Supervisor and CEO in the planning and execution of dog training programs, trains other dog trainers and conducts private training sessions with clients and/or teaches group classes in addition to the responsibilities they performed as a Dog Trainer. To become certified, they must have at least two years of prior experience as a dog trainer, receive training/mentoring with Michael Burkey, CEO of Michigan Dog Training,  pass written and practical exams and pass a formal interview. Through this process the successful candidate will demonstrate that they posses the following skills:

  • Knowledgeable of learning theory
  • Ability to teach a dog advanced obedience commands via hand and voice signals such as place, focused heeling, contact heeling, sit and down out of motion, return to heel position, agility obstacles and capping the drive exercises.
  • Knowledgeable and able to work with dog to dog and dog to human aggression cases.
  • Demonstrated ability to handle all dogs housed and trained at Michigan Dog Training facility
  • Ability to teach clients Novice and Intermediate levels tricks via the Kyra Sundance program
  • Knowledgeable and able to demonstrate Canine Good Citizen (CGC) and Advanced CGC testing requirements
  • Knowledgeable and able to demonstrate Novice Obedience and Novice Rally exercises
  • Knowledgeable of verbal markers
  • Service orientation
  • Time management
  • Judgment and decision making
  • Ability to work well with others
  • Attention to detail and be proactive

MDT employs experienced trainers and is committed to their on-going skill development which ultimately enhances the training experience for its clients and their dogs. You can trust MDT’s experience, professionalism, and integrity.