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 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.

Testimonial – Nemo is such a great dog!

Michigan Dog Training, board and train, dog training, Plymouth, Michigan


On January 7, 2015 we received a wonderful update on Nemo who completed a board and train program at Michigan Dog Training in Plymouth, Michigan. We miss Nemo so thanks Rosemary for giving us an update on him.

Nemo says “hi”! He has developed into such a great dog! He listens well and comes when called. He runs 5-7 miles every few days with his Dad and is a joy to walk (after the first block of his initial excitement has calmed lol). Thank you for all your hard work with him!!!!  He even did a bit of off leash up north over the holidays and did really well. ….Rosemary Ellinger

Testimonial; …”great choice Michigan Dog Training was for us.”

Michigan Dog Training, Plymouth, Michigan



On October 30, 2014, Michigan Dog Training received this wonderful testimonial from one of our clients, Kim Oberski who enrolled her dog Ruby in our board and train program.  Thanks Kim!

“My husband and I were a little hesitant to sign our pup, Ruby, up for K9 camp. It was a lot of money, and I wanted to be a part of her training. After thinking about what we wanted for Ruby in the future, we decided K9 camp was the best option. Upon picking Ruby up after two weeks, all my worry was gone. She was a dog who pulled a lot on the leash and wanted to wrestle play with every dog. Now she walks next to us (even if the leash is dropped), stays around distractions (including dogs), and comes when called. Bringing her back for Perfect Practice Class, she gets excited to see Michael and the other trainers. It was that moment which solidified what a great choice MDT was for us.”

– Kim Oberski

Will my dog miss me at a board and train program?

Michigan Dog Training, board and train, German Shepherd

Bane, K9 Univ. Grad.

Michael Burkey, President and Dog Behaviorist at Michigan Dog Training in Plymouth, Michigan answers the most frequently asked question about its board and train program.

Question: “If my dog participates in your board and train program rather than other services, will he/she forget me during that time?”

Answer: “Absolutely Not.” The great thing about dogs is that they think in the present time. They don’t fret over the past nor plan out their future. Sure, they can remember past experiences when something triggers that thought (just as when being reunited with their owners) but they think in the moment of time. So even though you are missing your family companion, your dog is having a grand time learning new behaviors and socializing with other dogs. However, when he/she sees you upon your return, your dog will be so excited to see you! To help you, we post frequent pictures of your pet on the MDT facebook page to lessen your loneliness.

So your dog won’t miss you but he or she certainly won’t forget you either. And, isn’t that what you want for your dog, the best of both worlds?. For more information about the board and train programs, please call MDT at 734-634-4152 or check out the Michigan Dog Training website.

How to decide if you need dog training

michigan dog training

Michael Burkey teaching three Malinois to sit and stay

Do you need dog training from a professional for you and your dog? Michael Burkey, President and Dog Behaviorist of Michigan Dog Training in Plymouth, Michigan provides these helpful tips to help you decide if you are in need of dog training.



a) Are you limited on the number and/or age of visitors (young or old) that can visit your home because of the dog?

b) Are you having trouble taking your dog for walks without him/her pulling you down the street or toward another dog or person?

c) Are you concerned about the liability your dog may pose if he/she got loose and was to approach other dogs or people?

d) Is your dog causing damage to your house or yard?

e) Is your life stressful because of your dog?





 a)  Your life being less stressful,

 b) Entertaining more people at your home without having to put the dog away,

 c) Taking beautiful day walks with your dog who has become an ideal companion, 

d) Taking your dog to more family outings, and more?


Michigan Dog Training (MDT) specializes in reducing family stress by training dogs and their families so that peace can be restored.  To discuss MDT’s services (Puppy training classes, private dog training lessons, in-home dog training, board and train, dog day school, doggie daycare, and other group classes such as Basic Obedience, Intermediate Obedience/CGCAdvanced Obedience/Focused Heeling, Nosework, Circus Dog, Service Dog, etc), please call 734-634-4152 or check out the Michigan Dog Training website for more information.

Most popular dog training programs

Michigan Dog Training, Plymouth, Michigan

Michael Burkey, President and Dog Behaviorist of Michigan Dog Training  (MDT) in Plymouth, Michigan was recently asked what were the most popular training programs at MDT. He responded by saying, “Our most popular training programs are in this order:

In trying to decide which program is best for you, a good question to ask yourself is, do you have the time and patience to train your dog yourself with help from a professional via the private sessions, in-home sessions or group classes (you’ll have homework to do each week) or would you prefer the dog experts to train your dog for you, then train you and have unlimited follow up training via a “Perfect Practice” group class (the Day School and the Board and Train programs). Once you know your commitment level, then you can make a further selection between the programs.

Most people prefer the experts to do the initial training and then train them how to do the maintenance work with their dog. When the training is done by the experts, you can enjoy the benefits of the training quicker  and be assured the training was done correctly without having to do the initial hard work yourself. The difference between the Day School and the Board and Train is the boarding and extra training one receives in the Board and Train programs. The dogs’ learning and socialization continues into the evening hours before bed time.  Whereas with the Day School, dogs are picked up by their parents between 4:30-6:00pm.

The board and train programs are generally more effective. However, a plus of the Day School is that owners will miss their dog less since their dog returns to their home each day in the evening. Since dogs think in the present moment (they don’t regret the past or think about the future), they won’t miss you during either program.  To lessen your absence from them, MDT posts pictures of dogs in training approximately every three or four days so you can keep up on their learning progress. Clients are often worried whether or not their dog will forget them if they do the board and train programs. The answer is, “absolutely not.” While they don’t think about your absence because they think in the moment and are having such a fun time learning and playing with other dogs, they also don’t forget you.  When you pick them up after a board and train or day school program, it will seem like they have the question in their mind, “Where have you been mom/dad?!”

If you have the time and patience to train your dog yourself with help then you might prefer the on-site private sessions, in-home lessons or group classes. Most dogs do well with on-site lessons.  While it is true that most behavior problems occur in the home, it is usually easily replicated at the dog training facility. Coming for the sessions at the MDT facility will save you some money over the in-home sessions and it allows MDT to use its personal dogs as distractions in training your dog. However, MDT offers the in-home sessions for your convenience. The group classes are the most economical way to train a dog but it is usually better to do private lessons first unless you have a young puppy which needs socialization or are interested in a specialized course such as Nosework, Service Dog in Training, Circus Dog, etc.

The VIP (Very Important Pet) Day Care is called that because its not just doggie daycare.  Socialization with other dogs is certainly part of the program but the emphasis is on your dog rehearsing the dog obedience he/she already knows.  Many dogs who complete our other training programs come back for the VIP Day Care to keep their skills sharp and to help them burn off excess energy before their mom or dad pick them up after work. And, of course MDT offers boarding for new and old clients. We love taking care of your beloved dog while you are away.  Thus, its name, Home Away from Home.

To start your dog’s education, call MDT at 734-634-4152 or research more information on the Michigan Dog Training website.

Michigan Dog Training – Mobile Dog Training Van

MICHIGAN DOG TRAINING is fortunate to have an awesome Mercedes Sprinter Van as a mobile dog training van.  Michael and Bart Bellon graciously sold it to MDT when they moved back to Europe.  MDT thanks them for their thoughtfulness, friendship and mentoring. It enhances our training services greatly.  Dogs in the  board and train and dog school training programs can get real world scenario based training in downtown Plymouth, Michigan and other locations amongst environmental distractions of people, children, strange dogs, moving automobiles, people eating in the park, joggers, bikers, etc. Take a look at the video and you’ll see how we can transport and train six dogs comfortably and securely to public training places.


Dog trainer promotions at Plymouth’s MDT

Kiley and a Husky she trained


Michigan Dog Training, Michigan Dog Trainer, Plymouth, Michigan



On July 25, 2014 Kiley Spade and Maddy Petitpas, Michigan Dog Training (MDT) employees earned promotions from being an Assistant Dog Trainer to that of “Dog Trainer.”  They have received their training from Michael Burkey, President, Wendy Bemis, Lead Trainer and Sheryl Pokorski, Dog Trainer at MDT.  Throughout their employment, they have demonstrated excellent dog training and handling skills, taken initiative, paid attention to details, worked well with others and shown ease of training others.

Kylie and Maddy are two of the eight MDT trainers.  MDT is located at 1031 Cherry Street, Plymouth, Michigan. For more information on MDT’s dog training programs (K9 Camp / Board & Train, Day Camp, Private dog training sessions, In home dog training and group dog training classes) contact MDT at 734-634-4152 or Congratulations to Kiley and Maddy!

BNI Members learn dog bite prevention tips

Michigan Dog Training, dog obedience

Kaboom heeling with attention on Burkey

On June 27, 2014, Michael Burkey, President of Michigan Dog Training in Plymouth, Michigan gave a dog training demonstration and safety talk at the Referral Business Alliance, a BNI Chapter in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Assisting Burkey was his dog Kaboom, a two year old Belgian Malinois.  Kaboom is being trained in the sport of IPO/Schutzhund, Dog Obedience, Nosework and to be a Diabetic Alert Dog. Kaboom demonstrated some of his dog obedience skills such as heeling (walking next to Burkey while looking up at him), relinquishing a ball when told to do so, when to tug and when not to tug on the ball, to sit, to lay down, to stay when told and to come when called.

Burkey shared dog safety tips such as the correct way to approach and pet a dog, what to do if running or riding a bike and being chased by a dog, as well as how to recognize a dog that is exhibiting signs of stress or fear. These tips were also recently shared with Click on Detroit/Channel 4 News Reporter Hank Winchester in a video news report called, “Experts reveal how to help fend off dog attacks.”

The purpose of the BNI presentation was to provide its members with dog safety tips and to share with them the services Michigan Dog Training provides the community such as K9 Camp (board and train), Day Camp, In home private dog training lessons, on site private dog training lessons and group dog obedience classes. MDT works with all breeds large and small, puppies and adult dogs. They help high energy dogs become ideal companions. For more information on MDT services or to request Burkey to talk about dog bite prevention to your organization, contact MDT at 734-634-4152 or email


Michigan Dog Training, dog obedience

Kaboom comes fast when called by Burkey