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.

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.


High school student learns what it is like to be a dog trainer

Michigan Dog Training

Wendy Bemis and Esther Brandel


On February 19 2013, Esther Brandel, a student at Oakland Technical School in Walled Lake, Michigan learned what it is like to be a dog trainer by performing a job shadow program at Michigan Dog Training (MDT) LLC in Plymouth, Michigan.  She learned about MDT, the services it provides to clients (K9 Camp, Dog Day Camp, in-home dog training, on-site private dog training lessons, and group dog training classes) and a brief overview of how the dogs are trained from Michael Burkey, President and Dog Behaviorist at MDT.

Michigan Dog Training

After only  a few days of Day Camp, Billie pays attention to her mom.

She then observed Wendy Bemis, Lead Trainer and Certified Dog Trainer at MDT, train several dogs in it’s K9 Camp and Day Camp programs.  Brandel even received hands on training with some of those dogs.  Additionally, she observed Bemis conduct a private session with a client who learned how to continue her dog’s new calm behavior that she (Billie) learned at MDT’s Day Camp program. She also had the opportunity to watch Burkey work with his dog Kaboom, a Belgian Malinois, perform focused heeling and other obedience exercises. It was a quick paced and enjoyable job shadow for Brandel and MDT. Congrats Esther on a job well done!

Michigan Dog Training Day Camper excels at home; calmer and stays on place

Michigan Dog Training

Nemo, Excelling at MDT Day Camp

Today we received a wonderful update on one of our Day Camper’s progress in his home environment. Nemo is in our four week Day Camp program where he comes to school on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. And, his parents receive private lessons half way through as well as upon completion of his program. Nemo’s typical day consists of private training sessions with Michigan Dog Training staff first at the building and later amongst real world distractions at parks and downtown areas.  Nemo also participates in  play sessions with other day campers to continue his socialization and to expend some of his energy. It’s a great program that allows dogs and parents to receive expert instruction and the dogs go home each night.

Here is what Rosemary shared with us, “Thought I would let you know that Nemo was such a good boy this weekend! My parents were over for a visit on Friday and they jokingly asked if you sent home the wrong Nemo lol! I attached a pic of Nemo calmly laying in the kitchen after dinner.”  Good job Nemo!  And, thanks Rosemary for the update.  It’s very satisfying to hear the improvements and how our clients are able to enjoy their family celebrations with their dog. We are very proud of you Nemo!

To learn how your dog can learn new house manners, call Michigan Dog Training now at 734-634-4152.

Michigan Dog Training

Nemo on Place at Home


“Abby is a Much Better Dog and We Have a Much Happier Home”

Michael and Abby

I would like to thank you again for the behavioral training on Abby, my Doberman. She is not my first Dobe but a hard headed one with lots of energy.  She was a jumper and did not listen well. 

Michael cured Abby of her bad habits and introduced us to the remote collar training, which works real well.  I would recommend this and Michael to anybody that is in need of excellent training. 

Abby was just thrilled to see him when he came for training.  Abby is a much better dog and we have a much happier home because of Michael. 

Thanks again and we wish you well.

Joe and Nikki of Westland