Dog training New Year’s Resolutions

dog training, new year's resolutions, Michigan Dog Training, Plymouth, Michigan


2016 is past and 2017 is here.  That’s a fact. People often times debate whether or not to set New Year’s resolutions.  Those who don’t, say they don’t keep them so why set them and cause themselves undue stress? Those who set resolutions and keep them are ones who not only decided on a goal but also made the concrete choices in accomplishing their goal.  They set out action steps to accomplish the goal with timelines and accountability, eliminated opportunities to not strive toward the goal, and relished in the moments of their success.

Many people decide they want to lose weight as a New Year’s Resolution. Tony Robbins an internationally known best-selling author and Life and Business Strategist, asks an important question, have they really made that “should” be a “must” goal? If it’s a “should”, it won’t happen. If it’s a “must”, it will.

If it’s a “must”, they will be committed to it’s end goal, accomplish action steps to the goal, be able to avoid temptations because they now identify themselves with being a slimmer and healthier person, and they will associate pleasant experiences with their accomplishments.  If instead, they decide to go on a “diet”, it’s an event and not a lifestyle change.

The same is true with dog training. If we want to have a more rewarding life with our dogs and be able to take our dogs to more fun places, we have to identify the goal as a lifestyle change. We have to change it from a “should” to a “must”. To do that one needs to personalize the passion behind their goal and eliminate things that may defer the goal. For example, time with family may prevent people from following their goal of training the dog to a certain level of dog obedience or sport accomplishment. But if they are able to involve their family (even in little ways), it would accomplish both; quality time with family and training the dog.

Bart Bellon an internationally acclaimed dog trainer and coach who created the NePoPo® modern system of dog training, introduced me to the book, “The Talent Code” by Daniel Coyle. In it, Coyle investigates why there are certain geographical areas of hot bed talent. He explains that people aren’t just born with talent but more so it arises from an internalized passion which he describes as the “ignition”. The needed skills for high performance are deliberately practiced, which he calls “deep practice”. This ignition and deep practice not only hones a person’s skill but also develops Myelin connections resulting in increased muscle memory where one is able to perform better without thought.  For deep practice to occur, one looks at the overall skill to be learned, breaks it down into chunks of learning to be memorized separately and later put back together while practicing the skill slowly so that errors can be detected and corrected. In the end, the skill is fluid and looks flawless.

The benefits of attaining the end goal can be elusive if people don’t enjoy the journey toward the goal. Robbins states, consider Astronauts who have been to the moon. What is left for them after returning home and the ticket fanfare dies down if they haven’t considered their next great accomplishment? And, what about former U.S. Presidents including President Barack Obama who will complete his eight year term this month? Whether you support his politics or not, what is next for him now that he has completed the ultimate goal in politics? I’m sure he has future goals for himself but those who don’t, face depression if they didn’t enjoy the journey and continually create future possibilities for themselves.


To have a rewarding 2017 with your dog:

  1. Decide what is a “must” for you and your dog. This provides the necessary ignition.
  2. Internalize the “must” as a lifestyle change rather than a temporary event.
  3. Set action steps to accomplish the goal followed by “deep practice”
  4. Associate pleasant experiences and rewards for your continual accomplishments
  5. Enjoy the journey with your dog rather than basing your happiness on the end goal

Those who relish the moments during their journeys live a rich life with their dogs, relationships and for themselves.  What are your “musts” with your dog? Comment below, I’d love to hear what they are.

If you would like help in accomplishing your dog training “musts”, please contact Michigan Dog Training in Plymouth, Michigan at 734-634-4152.  We will be happy to help you and your dog.

Teach your dog to Stand

Teaching a dog to “Stand” is a helpful command when placing a vest on your dog, trimming your dog’s nails or when your dog needs to visit the dog groomer or examined by a veterinarian. To start, train your dog to go to “place”.  When the dog understands to sit on a place board, it makes teaching the “Stand” easier as the dog will learn to pop it’s hips up into a stand position instead of stepping forward. Being on “place” prevents the dog from stepping forward. In short, it is a fancier way to teach the dog to stand as well as more clear understanding to the dog.

Once the dog understands “place”, there are two ways to teach the stand.  One way is to shape the new behavior by waiting for your  dog to stand and then click and treat or using a verbal marker word such as “good” and treat.  Then cue the sit and wait for the dog again to stand and click and treat as before.  After enough repetition, your dog will learn that standing results in rewards and will repeat the stand more frequently. Just as your dog starts to stand, name it by saying “stand” and then click and treat as before. Later, cue the stand before the dog starts to stand and mark/reward as before.

A second way to train the stand is by luring.  With your dog in a sit position, lure your dog to reach forward for a treat.  Since he understands not to step off the place board, he will stand by popping his hips upward to reach further for the treat.  Click and reward as mentioned above and later cue it with the word “stand”.

Once your dog understands the word “stand” proof the behavior away from the place board with your dog sitting on the floor. The finished skill can then be proofed in the environments that you want your dog to perform the stand command.  In the below video, Kelsey uses the lure method to teach Winnie, a Service Dog in Training, to stand during a dog training class at Michigan Dog Training in Plymouth, Michigan.

May 2016 Advanced CGC Dogs


Michigan Dog Training, Plymouth, Michigan, Advanced Canine Good Citizen, CGCA

Advanced Canine Good Citizen

On May 26, 2016 three dogs and their owners passed the American Kennel Club’s Community Canine Good Citizen evaluation also known as the Canine Good Citizen Advanced (CGCA) at Michigan Dog Training in Plymouth, Michigan.  To prepare for the CGCA, the dog teams practiced their new skills in MDT’s Advanced Manners/Therapy Dog Prep. class.  Congratulations to the following:

  • Kris Wolfe and Rosie Gella, a Golden Retriever of Livonia, Michigan
  • Marcy Rodwick and Philo a Weimaraner of Plymouth, Michigan
  • Sara Cosgrove and John (Bubba) Scripps with Merry Scripps, a Pit mix of Ann Arbor, Michigan

Michigan Dog Training, CGCA, Advanced Canine Good Citizen, Plymouth, MichiganMichigan Dog Training, Plymouth, Michigan, Advanced Canine Good Citizen, CGCAMichigan Dog Training, Advanced Canine Good Citizen, Plymouth, MichiganMichigan Dog Training, Plymouth, Michigan, Advanced Canine Good Citizen


S.T.A.R. Puppies and More

Michigan Dog Training, Plymouth, Michigan, Canine Good Citizen, CGC, Puppy STAR, Puppy S.T.A.R., puppy obedience, puppy training, dog trainingOn April 26, 2016 numerous puppies and dogs earned their American Kennel Club S.T.A.R. Puppy Certificates and Canine Good Citizen titles at Michigan Dog Training in Plymouth, Michigan. Congratulations to the following dog teams on their accomplishments:

Puppy S.T.A.R.

  1. Rochelle Kirzhner and Kir Kirzhner, a Sheltie/American Eskimo mix of Northville, Michigan
  2. Erin Moulton and Bowie, a Labradoodle of Ypsilanti, Michigan
  3. Sandra Enoch and Lucy, a Labradoodle of Livonia, Michigan
  4. Angela Olandese and Luna, a Standard Poodle of Okemos, Michigan

Canine Good Citizen (CGC)

  1. Sara Cosgrove and Merry Scripps a Pit Bull mix of Ann Arbor, Michigan
  2. Kris Wolfe and Rosie Bella, a Golden Retriever of Livonia, Michigan
  3. Kriss Layne and Luna, a Golden Retriever of Riverview, Michigan














A new set of group dog training classes start next week.  Go to Michigan Dog Training and click on the blue icon entitled, “Book Online” to register.  Classes include:  Puppy Manners, Basic Manners, Intermediate Manners, Tricks and Fun Agility, NoseWork and Protection Sport Dog Class.



Cozmo, Golden Retriever available for adoption



GREAT NEWS:  On December 1, 2015, I was advised that Cozmo found his new home. So he’s no longer available for adoption.

Cozmo is a beautiful 2 1/2 year old Golden Retriever looking for the perfect forever home! He is your typical golden with lots of love and energy and would be so happy in a home with no kids under high school age and with a mom or dad who is home during the day so he can be loved or just sit by your feet. He is a very healthy, playful, loyal and devoted dog who just wants to find the right home.

MDT will extend “Perfect Practice” group dog training classes to the new owners.


Golden Retriever, adoption, Michigan Dog Training

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.


October 2015 Dog Titles

Michigan Dog Training, American Kennel Club, AKC, Canine Good Citizen, CGC

Michigan Dog Training, American Kennel Club, AKC, STAR Puppy, Star Puppy, S.T.A.R. Puppy






On October 28, 2015 several dogs and puppies earned American Kennel Club (AKC) titles at Michigan Dog Training in Plymouth, Michigan.  Puppies who graduated from Puppy 2 class earned their S.T.A.R. Puppy Certificate and dogs who graduated from the Intermediate Manners class earned their Canine Good Citizen (CGC) titles.  Congrats to all!

S.T.A.R. Puppies

  • Andrew Ciesielski and his pup Roxy, a German Shepherd Dog from Canton, Michigan
  • Loretta Waldeck and her pup Charlie, an Australian Labradoodle from Brighton, Michigan
  • Stephanie Pritula and her pup Ripley, an English Bulldog from Plymouth, Michigan
  • Terry Harvill and his pup Gracie Harvill, a Golden Retriever from Novi, Michigan
  • Andrea Milhizer and her pup Maize, a Golden Retriever from Milford, Michigan
  • Stacy Grzelak and her pup Baxter, a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel from Plymouth, Michigan

Canine Good Citizens

  • Robert Wilcox and his dog James P. Sullivan, a Bullmastiff from Canton, Michigan
  • Caitlin and Colin McCarthy and her dog Luna McCarthy, an All American from Brighton, Michigan
  • Michael Rutkowski and his dog Gus, a Labradoodle from South Lyon, Michigan
  • Craig Robinson and his dog Rembrandt, a Korthal Wire-Haired Griffon from Plymouth, Michigan


The next set of Puppy classes and adult dog basic manners classes start the first week of November.  There are still a few spots remaining in the classes.  Your dog too can be a STAR Puppy or Canine Good Citizen!

Dogs who graduated from Puppy 2 Manners or Basic Manners are ready to join the Intermediate Manners  class. And, dogs who earned their Canine Good Citizen will love the Do More With Your Dog class.


How to teach your puppy not to jump

Dogs love to jump! They’re excited to see you and want to explode upward toward your face. In doing so, they can get closer to be able to lick your face. So its a natural thing for a dog to do. Instead of correcting the Michigan Dog Training, Golden Retriever, dog jumping on ownerdog for “wanting to be close to you,” which is your dog’s intent; teach your puppy or dog not to jump by reinforcing the behavior you do want. You can teach your puppy to be calm and self composed by keeping four paws on the ground and later to offer a sit in order to get attention from you.

In the video below, Michael Burkey CEO and Dog Behaviorist and Eric Allport, Program Coordinator at Michigan Dog Training in Plymouth, Michigan demonstrate how to teach your puppy or dog not to jump. Here are the key ingredients:

  1. Tether your puppy to something they can’t move so you can stand just out of their reach preventing their ability to jump on you.
  2. Walk up to your dog. If your dog tries to jump on you step back out of reach.
  3. When your puppy is calmer, walk back to them and offer a tasty treat or petting. If they try to jump, step back again. Soon your pup will learn that jumping on you makes you move away and keeping four paws on the floor makes you come back to them.
  4. If your puppy starts to bark due to frustration, wait them out and when they are quiet mark it with the sound of a clicker or a verbal marker such as “yes” and return to them.
  5. If your puppy won’t stop barking, try walking up half way to them but stop before going rest of the way until they stop barking for a second.
  6. Once your dog is good at keeping four paws on the floor, raise the bar by giving a “sit” command (assuming they already know the sit command) prior to you walking up to them. If they break the sit, step away as before.
  7. In no time, your puppy will replace jumping on you with sitting for the attention they desire. For more puppy and dog training assistance, contact Michigan Dog Training at 734-634-4152.

How to teach your puppy to pay attention to you

The foundation of all puppy and dog obedience is “Eye Attention” or in other words teaching your puppy to pay attention to you. That is the most important skill to teach your puppy.

Right now, you are your puppy’s everything so it’s simple to teach the eye game. However, later in his/her life, which is only a few weeks away as your pup’s confidence increases; it will become increasingly hard to gain and keep your pup’s attention when he/she learns there is a world outside of you. So teach the eye attention game now upon first getting your puppy or adult dog.  And, I mean right now….stop reading and go do it.  Oh my bad, it might help to have a guideline as to how its taught. So here you go, 7 steps to teaching your puppy or dog to pay attention to you.

Eye Attention

PURPOSE: To teach your dog to pay more attention to you. A dog that pays attention to you is less likely to miss obedience cues and is less likely to be distracted or afraid of it’s environment.

  1. Stand straight up smiling at your dog with a tasty dog treat held in front of your face. When your dog looks up at your face, mark the desired behavior by saying “yes”, “good”, or push the button of a clicker. Then reward your dog with the tasty treat.
  2. Do not put this exercise on cue by saying, “look at me”, “focus”, “watch”, etc. as you want your dog to eventually initiate this attention behavior. You shouldn’t have to remind your dog to pay attention to you. Instead, your dog should learn that offering this behavior results in positive things, whether that be treats, a ball, or praise.
  3. After you have practiced the above step for one or two days, hold the treat slightly out to your side and wait for your dog to look back at you. He or she will look at the treat but eventually he/she will look back at you. When your dog looks back at your face, mark the behavior and reward him/her with the tasty treat.
  4. If 60 seconds or more has gone by, say “nope” (saying nope instead of “no” makes it difficult for you to put negative intonation to the word as the dog is just confused and not being disobedient) and walk away from your dog. Your dog is likely to look at you and follow you due to your movement. When he/she does, mark the attentive behavior and reward.
  5. At first, a simple quick glance at your face results in a verbal mark and reward. As your dog becomes more experienced at eye attention, expect a longer stare at your face before marking and rewarding the behavior.
  6. As your dog becomes more proficient with longer stares trying changing the hand position of the distracting treat: A) held in the opposite hand out to the side, B) treats held in both hands that are held alongside your body in neutral positions so now your dog has to look past the hands instead of just away from your hands, C) treat is placed on a counter top so the food is off your person, etc.
  7. As a last challenge, position yourself in front of a mirror or looking out a window at night time so you can see your dog’s reflection. Mark and reward your dog’s attentive behavior even though you are not looking directly at your dog.

Teach eye attention to your puppy before joining our puppy classes and you’ll be way ahead of the mark. The first video showed you how to start it with a puppy. Below is a video of Michael and his dog Simone demonstrating what it looks like once it is taught. For more information check out our website at Michigan Dog Training located in Plymouth, Michigan or call us at 734-634-4152.

Its an old video as Michigan Dog Training used to be called Michael Burkey’s Canine Behavioral Training (but that was too long of a name). So it’s an older video and a great teaching video as well as good memories of my dog Simone, a Belgian Malinois who crossed over five years ago at the wise old age of 16.

August 2015 dog title earners at MDT


On August 25, 2015 six students and their dogs earned American Kennel Club (AKC) titles at Michigan Dog Training in Plymouth, Michigan. The evaluations are given free of charge for students at the conclusion of their dog classes and is open to mixed and pure breed dogs.

The AKC S.T.A.R. Puppy program evaluates the owner’s responsible puppy raising behaviors, the puppy’s temperament, and the puppy’s pre-Canine Good Citizen behaviors. The Canine Good Citizen (CGC) test evaluates the dog’s obedience and temperament: 1. Accepting a friendly stranger, 2. Sitting politely for petting, 3. Appearance and grooming, 4. Out for a walk – heeling, 5. Walking through a crowd, 6. Sit and down on command/Staying in place, 7. Coming when called, 8. Reaction to another dog, 9. Reaction to distractions, and 10. Supervised separation.

Congratulations to the following students and their dogs!

S.T.A.R. Puppy Program

  1. Kristin Kinasz and her dog Murphy, Saint Bernard of Westland, MichiganotonColorsTMagAd9-06
  2. Matthew Shaffer and his dog Hemi Gage Shaffer, German Shepherd of Roseville, Michigan
  3. Patricia Nowling and her dog Oscar, Chocolate Lab of Belleville, Michigan

CGC Titles

  1. Tom Laco and his dog Guinness, German Short-Haired Pointer of Livonia, Michigan
  2.  Holly Tebelman and her dog Cider, Yellow Lab of Dearborn, Michigan
  3. Jason Horne and his dog Lucy, Saint Bernard of Canton, Michigan

You and your dog can also earn titles by joining puppy and adult dog classes at Michigan Dog Training.  A new round of classes start the week of September 8, 2015.  Call now and get your puppy or dog started “on the right paw” to better manners. Classes offered include:

  • Puppy Manners (Puppy S.T.A.R. Certificate)
  • Basic Manners
  • Intermediate Manners (CGC Title)
  • Advanced Manners (Advanced CGC and Urban CGC)
  • Feisty Fido (dog to dog reactivity)
  • Do More With Your Dog (tricks and fun agility)
  • Protection Sport Dog