Nov 2017, E-Collar Class Graduates earn CGC

Canine Good Citizen, CGC, CGC testing

 

On November 29, 2017 at the conclusion of the E-Collar Excellence group class at Michigan Dog Training in Plymouth, Michigan; three dog teams earned their Canine Good Citizen title.  Congratulations to the following teams:

  1. Shannon Denton and Luna, a Labrador Retriever of Canton, Michigan.
  2. Shannon Denton and Marleigh, a Collie mix of Canton, Michigan
  3. Theresa Williams and Riley Williams, a Pit Bull Terrier of Ann Arbor, Michigan

Canine Good Citizen, CGC, Michigan Dog Training, E-Collar trainingMichigan Dog Training, E-Collar, E-Collar training, Canine Good Citizen, CGC

3 New Canine Good Citizens

Canine Good Citizen, CGC, CGC testing

On November 28, 2017 three dog teams earned their American Kennel Club Canine Good Citizen (CGC) title at Michigan Dog Training in Plymouth, Michigan. Learn more about what it takes to become a Canine Good Citizen.

Congratulations to the following dog teams:

  1. Kayla Kline and Paxton, a Chocolate Lab/Australian Shepherd mix of Belleville, Michigan
  2. Catherine White and Autumn, a Dachshund mix of Plymouth, Michigan
  3. Alyssa Alessandrini and Dove, a Pit/Lab mix of Westland, Michigan

Michigan Dog Training, CGC, Canine Good Citizen, Plymouth, Michigan

 

8 Puppies earn AKC STAR Medals

AKC STAR Puppy

On November 28, 2017 eight puppies earned their American Kennel Club Puppy S.T.A.R. Awards at Michigan Dog Training in Plymouth, Michigan.  Learn how your puppy can earn his or her Puppy S.T.A.R. Medal.

December Puppy 1 Training Classes start next week, Wednesday December 6, 2017 at 8:00pm. Sign up by visiting our website or by calling 734-634-4152. Hurry, don’t delay. The class is filling up quickly.

 

Congratulations to the following teams:

  1. Connie Giummo and Benelli a German Shorthair Pointer of Novi, Michigan
  2. Rebecca Runco and Zeke, an Australian Shepherd of Dearborn, Michigan
  3. Madelyn Green and Jiri Green-Heeren, a Siberian Husky of Berkley, Michigan
  4. Akshay Vasudevan and Buddy, a Chocolate Lab of Canton, Michigan
  5. Lisa Haselhuhn and Gracie, a Labrador Retriever
  6. Terri Mezigian and Maverick, a Yellow Lab of Livonia, Michigan
  7. Robert Bend and Maggie, a Staffordshire Terrier of Plymouth, Michigan
  8. Anna Blott and Colonel Brandon, a Border Collie of Northville, Michigan

 

Puppy S.T.A.R., Puppy STAR, Michigan Dog Training, Puppy Training Classes

Sully a Rottweiler earns CGCA Title

 

CGCA, Rottweiler, Rottweiler puppy, puppy training, private dog training lessons

Sully, CGCA

On November 25, 2017, Sully a five month old Rottweiler puppy earned the American Kennel Club Advanced Canine Good Citizen title at Michigan Dog Training in Plymouth, Michigan.

Sully’s handler is Spencer Schiftar of Plymouth, Michigan. They prepared for this accomplishment by completing 8 private dog training lessons with Michael Burkey.

This is a huge accomplishment especially for a five month old puppy!  Congratulations Spencer and Sully.

Should I tell my dog to stay?

Michigan Dog Training

I am often asked the question, “Should I tell my dog to stay?” As noted in an earlier blog article, “3D’s for teaching your dog to Stay,” “I don’t use the word “stay” because I’m very consistent with my dog. Sit means sit and down means down.”

If I tell my dog to “sit,” then I expect him to remain sitting until I release him from that position. If I tell him to go to “place” (such as on a place board) then it’s a location not a position. Again, I don’t need to also say stay as staying on “place” is implied through the training. However, if you’re more comfortable in saying stay, that’s fine. Just realize it’s more for your benefit than your dog’s.

Your dog will learn faster, the more you are consistent and precise in your cues, commands and expectations. Years ago, a college roommate of mine was taking an Abnormal Psychology course. As part of his homework, he asked me to take a 500 multiple question test. I didn’t know the purpose of the test at the time but later found out it was to test a person’s consistency rate. Many of the questions resulted in the same answer but were asked in a  different way.

Michigan Dog Training, brain waves, PsychologyWhen announcing the score, he told me I was abnormal. I replied, “Abnormal!! What do you mean, I’m probably the most normal person you could find!” That’s probably a sign of an abnormal person right there LOL.

He told me that I scored 100% on the test and it was a test on consistency. He further explained that he called me abnormal as hardly anyone scores 100%. A dog training secret is that a high consistency rate is one of the main things that separate dog owners and dog trainers. And, that’s a good thing because consistency can be taught as well as dog training skills.

Dogs learn well when we chuck learning goals into smaller components and are consistent in their delivery. Once learned, we can add them together for the desired end result command. Thus if you’re consistent that a sit means a sit and a down means a down, you don’t need to give another command which is more ambiguous such as “stay.” It’s an added command that really doesn’t have as much meaning for the dog as William Shakespeare, Michigan Dog Training, To be or not to bethe desired command. For example, a dog can’t jump on you if he’s been taught to reliably respond to a sit command. Thus, the stay command is not needed.

As William Shakespeare coined, “To be or not to be,” you can decide to tell your dog “to stay or not to stay.” It’s your choice.

For more information on having your dog trained or learning how to train your own dog, contact Michigan Dog Training in Plymouth, Michigan or call 734-634-4152.

3D’s for teaching your dog to Stay

Michigan Dog Training, teach your dog to stay,

One of every dog’s necessary skills  is to be able to stay either in a position such as sit-stay or down-stay or on Place such as on a place board, dog bed or towel. Whether you call it stay or not, really doesn’t matter. Personally, I don’t use the word “stay” because I’m very consistent with my dog. Sit means sit and down means down.

There are 3 D’s involved when teaching your dog to stay either in a position or on a location. They are: Duration, Distractions and Distance. Despite everyone’s ultimate goal to get to the Distance component as soon as possible, I teach that component last.

I want the dog to be very solid with being able to stay in the position or on place for longer periods of time (duration) and amongst distractions before teaching it with distance. The reason being is because with Duration and Distractions I am near the dog with him on leash. If he breaks position or the location, I can help guide him back into position whereas if I start working on distance too soon, I can’t offer him that help.

However, I know everyone is tempted to start on Distance too soon because that is their end goal. So to feed that temptation without causing training problems, only go a few steps away. With a dog on a 6 foot leash, you’re able to go four or five feet away and quickly return to praise your dog for staying. Don’t go further than the length of the leash until your dog is solid with Duration and amongst Distractions.

Those are the 3D’s of teaching a dog to Stay. I’ll go into more detail of each in another blog post. Until then, check out our dog training services at Michigan Dog Training.

3D's, Michael Burkey, Michigan Dog Training, teach your dog to stay, sit stay, down stay

October 2017 Dog Title Earners

AKC STAR Puppy

 

Canine Good Citizen, CGC, CGC testingMichigan Dog Training (MDT) is always proud of its students and their dogs accomplishments. Our October 2017 title earners include:

On October 24, 2017 the following puppy teams passed the AKC STAR Puppy program evaluation:

  • Morgan Spencer and Breland, a Black Lab of Plymouth, Michigan
  • Nadine Medley and Kevin, a ShihTzu / Bichon mix of Plymouth, Michigan
  • Sarah Smith and Emmy, an Australian Shepherd mix of Detroit, Michigan
  • Alyssa Alessanorini and Dove, a Pit mix of Redford, Michigan

 

On October 24, 2017 the following dog teams earned the Canine Good Citizen title:

  • Maria Boraniec and Gunner, a Besenji of Farmington Hills, Michigan
  • Richard Miller and Tank, a German Shepherd Dog of Taylor, Michigan
  • Ronald & Theresa Merbler and Tango, a Wirehaired Pointing Griffon of Canton, Michigan
  • Angela Austin and Lexi Austin, an English Lab of South Lyon, Michigan
  • Lisa Brunette and Alyce, an English Lab of South Lyon, Michigan
  • Deborah Buzzy and Odin, a German Shepherd Dog of South Lyon, Michigan

Congratulations to all!

Join a dog training group class and teach your puppy or dog to be a Canine Good Citizen.

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Should I have my dog professionally trained or do it myself?

Michigan Dog Training, Board and Train, Day Training

 

This ia a question, we are often asked at Michigan Dog Training. So I wanted to take a moment to answer it becuase that’s what we do, answer your questions and provide dog training and behavior solutions.

Michigan Dog Training, Mastiff, Day TrainingWe offer several different training programs to fit a wide variety of training needs and budgets.  If you don’t have the time or patience to train your dog, then Day Training or Board and Train is an excellent choice. Professional trainers do the leg work of training your dog. Then you only have to be trained on how to keep your dog’s new skills sharp. We accomplish this  by providing you with a training session upon completion of either dog training programs (day training also includes a mid-way semi private training session). Pups and dogs who are shy but not aggressive, will  benefit from the socialization that trainers can more easily provide.

If you do have the time and patience to train your dog, then I recommend signing up for our Private Lessons or Group Classes. Young puppies do best by attending group classes to gain the socialization they desperately need before sixteen weeks of age. Otherwise, they may grow up developing fear issues around other dogs, people and their environment. In addition to general obedience classes, we also offer specialized group classes such as Nose Work (fun scent detection), Intermediate and Advanced Obedience, and E-Collar Excellence.

Obedience group classes are the most economical way to train your dog, but they don’t provide the one on one training experience Puppy STAR, Michigan Dog Training, Plymouth, Michiganfor you and your dog’s specific needs. Also, if your dog barks a lot during class, he or she cannot opitmally learn and they detract from other dogs’ learning as well. For dogs who have special needs such as fear or aggressive tendencies, private lessons are the best option.  This way, they reside with you at home but they and you receive one-on-one training with a behaviorist or expert trainer. It’s also a great choice for all other dogs because optimal learning comes by private instruction followed by group classes.

This is why we offer our Perfect Group Classes as an added bonus to students who have completed our private lessons, day training or board and train programs. The Perfect Practice group class is a great way to proof what you and your dog have learned  amongst distractions of other dogs and people.

I hope this helps you narrow down your actions. If you need additional help, please give us a call at 734-634-4152.  We’ll be happy to answer your questions.

 

Is training your dog a habit?

Change of habits, Michigan Dog Training, Plymouth, Michigan

In business circles, a common topic of discussion is whether or not leaders are born to lead. And so too, I ask are people born with dog training skills or do they develop them?

It may seem obvious, that people develop the skills because most people see the value in getting their dog professionally trained. However, there are those who have a passion and love for dog training as a profession, sport or hobby, have an easier time relating to dogs than others, are easily able to recognize stress, fear and aggressive behavior signs in dogs, and are more coordinated. So which is it, born with greater skills or trained?

Greek Philosopher Aristotle, Michigan Dog Training

Aristotle

Aristotle said it best, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” So too is dog training. Even the most uncoordinated and first time dog owner can learn to bond, relate and train their dog with help from an experienced dog trainer as long as they consider the training of their dog to be a habit and not an one time act.

If you don’t have the time and patience to train your dog then its’ best to have a professional train your dog via a board and train or day training program. However, if you do have the time and patience as well as the motivation and commitment; then group classes or private training lessons are a good choice.

As you progress through the weekly lessons be sure to put practice time on your schedule. Just like going to the gym, it’s more likely to happen if you reserve time on your calendar and commit to it. Otherwise, life gets in the way and your attendance at the gym will suffer. Thus, you need to reserve time on the calendar for you and your dog. Otherwise, life will interrupt the best intentions of training your dog.

The good news is, you don’t have to reserve big blocks of time to train your dog at one time, such as a hour or even a half hour. Frequency of practice sessions utilizing Deep Practice or Deliberate Practice (defined by Daniel Coyle in his book, The Little Book of Talent, 52 Tips for Improving Skills as “The form of learning marked by 1) the willingness to operate on the edge of your ability, aiming for targets that are just out of reach, and 2) the embrace of attentive repetition.”) are more important than the length of the sessions. Therefore, for a pet dog to be transformed into a well mannered family member, I recommend the following minimum training sessions:

  •  Pups 10-19 weeks of age:  10-15 minute sessions, 3-4 sessions per day, 5 days per week
  •  Dogs 20 weeks and older:  20 minute sessions, 3 sessions per day, 5 days per week

Once your happy with your dog’s new obedience skills, you can switch from having scheduled training sessions with your dog to practicing good manners throughout your everyday life. As you remain consistent with the new standards you hold for your dog and for yourself, the training will cease to be an act and grow to be a habit with amazing potential and results.

Simple explanations for dog behavior

Michigan Dog Training, Belgian Malinois, Kaboom, Happy Halloween

 

Is Michigan Dog Training haunted? This was a question I amusingly asked myself the other day when I saw a Halloween Pumpkin Ornament disappear and reappear. Ohhh.

Michael Burkey, Michigan Dog Training, dog behavior, simple answers to dog behaviorFor the holiday, my staff hung a Halloween Pumpkin ornament light in between two Ghost ornaments on our kitchen windows (pictured above). The next day while providing private dog training lessons, I glanced over and saw the Pumpkin had disappeared. I assumed that one my staff members took it down to put up somewhere else in the building. However, the next day I noticed it had reappeared in-between the two ghosts. So I amusingly thought that Michigan Dog Training must be haunted because the Halloween Pumpkin disappeared and reappeared like magic.

Obviously, the simple explanation was that the sticker which hung the Pumpkin on the window had come loose causing it to fall to the floor. On the following day, someone spotted it laying on the floor and reattached it to the window. This whimsical analogy made me think of the times that dog parents often times put human emotions on their dogs and come up with complex explanations for their dogs’ behavior. When in actuality, there are really a lot more simple explanations as to why dogs do what they do.

One time, I had a client tell me convincingly that their dog was upset with him because he was watching the Super Bowl game rather than paying attention to his dog. So naturally, his dog ripped out the cable cord that was attached to the house. The client seriously thought his dog had done this to avenge him. I explained that a simpler solution was that his dog found a wonderful tug toy attached to the side of the house and since he was unsupervised, he was determined to remove it because that’s what some dogs do.

Another client told me that their dog tore up the couch pillow and when they entered the room, they could see their dog knew it was wrong to do. I asked them what that looked like to them that their dog looked guilty. I already knew the answer to my question because it’s a common one. They said their dog slinked downward toward the floor as he made an attempt to get around them and escape out of the room. I asked if it was possible that the dog knew they were upset with him. They responded, “yes of course because we were very upset, we yelled at him and he exited the room quickly. He knew he was guilty” I suggested that the dog really only knew that the owners weren’t safe to be around at that moment.

They believed the dog knew he was wrong and therefore acted guilty upon the owners walking into the room. A simpler explanation is that as the owners walked into the room and saw the cushions ripped apart, the dog sensed that the owners were upset without understanding the “why”. Thus, a human emotion of guilt was placed on the dog.  The dog was simply being a dog tearing apart a stuffed toy (in the dog’s mind).

Another owner believed their dog urinated on their bed to spite them. A much simpler explanation is that the dog had been corrected previously for laying on the bed. Thus, the dog was fearful as the owner approached and Jessica Bawol, Michigan Dog Training, Halloweentherefore the dog was unable to control his bladder at that moment.

There are many more examples of dogs performing undesirable behaviors and the stories we attach to dog behavior. There are made up stories of how we perceive things and then there are “just the facts”, as famously said by Detective Joe Friday of the TV Series “Dragnet”. So rather than assuming that Michigan Dog Training is haunted, I quickly entertained other possible explanations for the disappearance and reappearance of the Halloween Pumpkin such as the ornament simply fell to the ground.

I encourage you to look beyond your dogs presenting behavior and entertain plausible explanations as to why a dog did what it did rather than going with your first perceived complex explanation. I wish you and your family a happy and safe Halloween. Oh, and to be clear, Michigan Dog Training isn’t Haunted.      : )