Dash a SDIT earns Urban CGC

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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.

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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!


Service Dog earns Canine Good Citizen

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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


Dash earns CGCA title

Michigan Dog Training, Service Dog, Diabetic Alert Dog, CGCA , Advanced Canine Good Citizen, Plymouth, MichiganOn November 26, 2016, Dasher Inglis (Dash) a Golden Doodle and Service Dog – Diabetic Alert Dog in training earned her Advanced Canine Good Citizen title at Michigan Dog Training in Plymouth, Michigan. Congrats to Dash and her parents!

Dash and her parents are participating in MDT’s Train Your Own Service Dog program and is doing extremely well.  She has already alerted on her mom’s low blood sugar level in real life applications. As part of that training, Dash has also learned to retrieve her mom’s emergency kit should she need to self medicate.

DAD alerts on owner’s low blood sugar

Dash, a Golden Doodle is being trained at Michigan Dog Training in Plymouth, Michigan as a Service Dog – Diabetic Alert Dog (DAD) through our Train Your Own Service Dog program. Dash’s training started with her associating the scent of her mom’s low blood sugar, collected on a cotton swab resulted in tasty food treats.

Then we taught her to alert on the sample in Shannon’s hand and later with a normal sample as a distraction so she would have to differeniate between the two samples. In this video, Dash is learning to find the sample hidden closer to Shannon’s mouth as that is where the largest concentration of scent will come from during an actual low blood sugar incident.

In the past, Dash had been reluctant to jump up on her mom as she was a well mannered dog. So we reassured her it was ok to do so when she smelled the low blood sugar sample. Then we also raised the expectation that she needed to paw at the sample.

This pawing alert will help Shannon realize her blood sugar has dropped as many diabetics don’t realize when their sugar level is dropping until it’s too late. To Dash’s credit, she recently alerted on Shannon on two occasions that her sugar level dropped in real life applications. Additionally, Dash went and retrieved a granola bar so Shannon could eat it and raise her sugar level back to normal.  Great job Dash and Shannon!

Dash – Service Dog in Training learns to “Fetch”

Dash, a Labradoodle is in training to become a Service Dog (Diabetic Alert Dog) at Michigan Dog Training (MDT) in Plymouth, Michigan. She and her owners have been participating in MDT’s TRAIN YOUR OWN SERVICE DOG program which is a combination of private training sessions and group classes. Sessions focus on alerting to a Diabetic’s low and high blood sugar levels, advanced obedience skills including learning to retrieve (fetch) and public access training.

A dog trained to alert on their handler’s change in glucose level is an important part of their medical management program. Often times, Diabetics do not realize they are beginning to crash. The dog trained to notice the change in their handler’s breath can help alert them to this potential medical emergency.

If the handler is unable to obtain snacks or medicine to raise their blood level, the Diabetic Alert Dog can retrieve a bag or purse containing the snacks or medicine. In the below video, Dash demonstrates the steps in training a dog to fetch:  1. Hold, 2. Carry, and 3. Fetch.

Future Service Dog becomes a S.T.A.R. Puppy

Saoirse, Michigan Dog Training, Michael Burkey, Diabetic Alert Dog, Service Dog, Puppy S.T.A.R., puppy obedience, puppy training, plymouth, MIOn February 28, 2016, Fleetwood Farms Thee “Saoirse” JedIrish, an Irish Setter puppy and a future Service Dog for Diabetic Alert Detection passed her American Kennel Club (AKC) Puppy S.T.A.R. Evaluation with flying colors. Saoirse is trained and handled by Johanna Anderson of Ann Arbor, Michigan.  Saoirse and Johanna are participating in private dog training lessons to become a Diabetic Alert Dog (DAD) team at Michigan Dog Training in Plymouth, Michigan with its CEO and Dog Behaviorist Michael Burkey. Saoirse will be ready to test for her Canine Good Citizen title at her next training session and Johanna has set her sights on also obtaining the Advanced Canine Good Citizen and Urban Canine Good Citizen titles.

While only 8 months old, Saoirse has already alerted Johanna to her sugar levels dropping too low on many occasions. A DAD is an important part of a Diabetic’s medical management program. When a Diabetic’s blood sugar falls they often times don’t feel the oncoming symptoms until its too late thus requiring hospitalization.  A dog trained to detect the change in blood sugar is an early warning system, reminding their human partner to test their sugar level and take appropriate medical intervention.

The below video clip shows part of Saoirse’s training exercises to alert on a blood sugar scent sample that was collected previously when Johanna’s blood sugar level was below 70. Contact Michigan Dog Training if you are a Diabetic 1 and want to train your dog to be a Service Dog / Diabetic Alert Dog.



Service Dogs pass CGC test with flying colors!

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CGC Title Earners

Training service dogs to perform in high distraction areas proved very successful for four dogs who passed the American Kennel Club’s Canine Good Citizen (CGC) test with flying colors at the high distraction filled Novi Pet Expo on November 22, 2014. The test was administered by Michael Burkey, CEO of Michigan Dog Training in Plymouth, Michigan.

The CGC test measures a dog’s ability to demonstrate good manners and dog obedience. The ten step evaluation includes things such as walking on a loose leash, performing sit/down/come and stay, greeting other dog teams appropriately and more.  It also recognizes the owner’s commitment to demonstrate responsible dog ownership and care.

Based on the amount of distractions in this public space (unfamiliar people and dogs walking close by as the test was conducted in an aisle way, test area next to a food court with people eating food in close proximity, crowds pooling around the testing area at the Michigan Dog Training exhibitor booth, PA system announcing dock diving events, etc.), all four dogs could’ve easily passed the Community Canine Good Citizen Advanced (CGCA) test.  However, one has to pass the CGC before attempting the CGCA.

Congratulations to the following dog teams:

1. William Arney and his Service Dog MADDIE, Chocolate Labrador Retriever, of St. Joseph, Michigan trained by Michigan Dog Training of Plymouth, Michigan

2. Shyann Hilla and her Service Dog in Training, SPELL, German Shepherd of Harrison, Michigan trained by Hilla Dog Training

3. Shyann Hilla and Service Dog in Training COOPER VON GRANVILLE of Harrison, Michigan trained by Hilla Dog Training

4. Sarah Schertel and Service Dog in Training VAUGHN of Grand Ledge, Michigan trained by Great Lakes Assistance Dogs


Service dog handlers – breathe, educate and stand up for your rights

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Michael and Radar

Awh…..breathe in, breathe out and then repeat. It’s so relaxing to sit on comfortable seat cushions on a beautiful sunny day at the Mariott Hotel in Dulles, VA. This is my work location for the weekend.

Radar, a Diabetic Alert Dog (DAD) in training at Michigan Dog Training in Plymouth, Michigan and I are attending a Debby Kay DAD seminar. We arrived a day early so that we could work on our public access skills, DAD detection skills and so I could be refreshed before attending the seminar. It will focus on training DADs to perform night alerts (DADs can be trained to indicate on a Type 1 Diabetic whose blood sugar level has gone low while they are sleeping).

This was Radar’s first flight on a commercial airline and he did outstanding. He flew with flying colors. The MDT team of dog trainers and I have been training Radar since he was a puppy. The results of his dog training has enabled him to perform exceedingly well even in new environments. As we were waiting in the long security line at Metro Detroit airport, I tried to imagine what Radar must have been thinking. I bet it sounded something like this, “Come on, I know how to sit and down and stay already, we don’t need to practice it every 3-4 feet. I’ve got this!” But I was so thankful for his training as that line was a very slow moving line. It was like being on a dead stop freeway, bumper to bumper behind other people’s luggage only able to move a few feet at a time. Due to his training and temperament, he was a real trooper taking the crowds in stride.

If you’ve flown since 2001, you know how stressful it can be taking off your belt, shoes and emptying all of your pockets to

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Radar at Detroit Metro Airport

prepare them for inspection by the X-ray machine. Additionally, one must place their laptop computer in a bin as well. What makes this stressful is because everyone is in a hurry to get through the process to catch their flight. Now add to this stressful environment, a dog, one which you must be observant of, in control of and handle along with all your other items. This is one example why a service dog must have a solid temperament and trustworthy obedience skills.

In most cases, I find people are understanding and considerate of service dogs. However, that consideration runs low when people are stressed. Ironic as it seems, people are in a hurry when boarding the plane despite everyone having assigned seats and the plane not taking off until everyone is seated. They are in a rush to get to their seats to ensure they will have the most desired storage space of their carry on bags. Their haste resulted in people pushing past and almost stepping over Radar as I attempted to move him out of their way. It surprised me that as careful as I was to ensure Radar was out of their way, people were not considerate to wait just a few seconds so that I could makesure their path was clear – for their convenience. Although, once people made their way to their seats and notably the stress levels had lowered; one person offered to trade seats with us as he thought his seat offered more floor room for Radar. It didn’t really but just the same, I was appreciative of his concern after having experienced what seemed like the running of the bulls. LOL

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Radar down stay on plane

Training Radar to lay down in small places payed off as he made himself comfortable on the floor at my feet keeping his paws out of the isle way. The Delta Flight Stewards were very considerate and welcoming of Radar and me as were the Dulles International Airport staff where we stayed for our first night.

Traveling to the seminar location we would stay at America’s Best Value hotel in Charles Town, W. Virginia. There our reception (at first) was much less appreciated. Upon checking into the hotel, the desk employee asked if a pet or service animal would be staying with me. I advised him that I had a service dog in training. He requested to see verification that the dog was in training to be a service dog such as “service dog registration papers.” Politely but assertively, I advised him that there was not such a thing as service dog registration papers and according to federal law service dogs had full access rights. I told him that I understood their “no pet policy” was an attempt to look out for the concerns of all guests but service dogs are not pets and therefore could not be banned. By emphasizing with his concern for his guests, he didn’t view me as an opponent but instead someone who understood his position even though I disagreed with it. This kept the dialogue open and allowed for education to occur.

I gave him a card which explains the Federal Law and the American Disability Act that defines a service animal, lists the two questions businesses may ask (1. Is that a service animal? and 2. What tasks has the animal been trained to perform?), where service animals are allowed, and what businesses may not do: 1. Require special identification cards for the animal, 2. Ask about the person’s disability, 3. Charge extra fees for the disabled handler or for the service animal, and 4. Isolate a disabled person or their service animal, or treat them less favorably than other customers. He told me of dogs that have been brought into his business that were probably fake service dogs and I agreed with him that that is a real problem and his protection is to be able to refuse service to someone with a dog that is not under their control. However, he would have to show that the purported service animal was not under control. Otherwise, he could not legally refuse service. He was very accepting of this information and said he appreciated the education about service dogs.

I often times see videos and stories posted on the internet regarding service dogs who have been denied access. This is very unfortunate and usually occurs because the business owner or staff were not properly informed about Federal law and the ADA. I applaud disabled persons for standing up for their rights. However, in some cases an opportunity is missed to educate those persons because of high emotions on both sides. I encourage disabled handlers to seek opportunities to educate while standing up for their rights. Here are some tips to accomplish this:

  • Remain calm by being conscious of your breath. Breathe in, breathe out and then repeat (this will aid in remaining proactive in thought instead of reactive)
  • Acknowledge that you understand their concern for all of their guests (seek to understand their position rather than just to be right)
  • Give them an ADA Service Dog card
  • Be polite and respectful as you state your rights
  • If no understanding can be reached, then respectfully advise you will call a police officer as your rights under federal law are being violated

America’s Best Value hotel staff were not against service dogs. They were simply misinformed about their requirements under the ADA. Once properly advised, they were very accommodating and friendly toward us. This occurred because of respectful dialogue on both sides which will serve to aid future disabled guests and their service dogs.

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Sightseeing before DAD seminar

DAD in training earns advanced title

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Kalin and LADY CGCA

On June 26, 2014, Lady, a 7 month old Standard Poodle and Diabetic Alert Dog (DAD) in training at Michigan Dog Training Inc. in Plymouth, Michigan earned her Advanced Canine Good Citizen (CGCA) title.  The CGCA is the American Kennel Club’s newly formed advanced title above the Canine Good Citizen (CGC) title.  Lady was handled by Michael Burkey and trained by Kalin Turri of Canton, Michigan. To earn a CGCA, a dog and handler must be able to perform obedience skills in community situations such as:

  • walking on a loose leash through a crowd
  • walk past distractions and not pull on the leash
  • sit-stay in a small group of three other people with dogs three feet apart from each other
  • dog allows a person who is carrying a backpack or computer bag to approach and pet it
  • dog walks by food and follows the owner’s instructions to “leave it” alone
  • down or sit-stay while owner walks away from the dog 20 feet and moves an item
  • come when called at a distance of 20 feet with distractions present
  • sit or stand stay while owner enters/exits a doorway or narrow passageway and is called through when ready.  Think of the handler having the leash in one hand and a cup of coffee in the other hand

Lady will finish her training to become a Diabetic Alert Dog by January 2015.  If you are interested in being matched with her or MDT’s other Standard Poodle DAD in training, Radar; call Michigan Dog Training at 734-634-4152.

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 info@michigandogtraining.com.


Michigan Dog Training, dog obedience

Kaboom comes fast when called by Burkey