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.


Rottweiler earns Urban Canine Good Citizen

Bernie White, Rottie, Michigan Dog Training, Plymouth, Michigan, CGCU, Canine Good Citizen Urban

Bernie White & Cyrus CGCU


On May 3, 2017, Bernie White and his dog Cyrus, a Rottweiler of Lincoln Park, Michigan earned the American Kennel Club’s (AKC) Canine Good Citizen Urban (CGCU) title. The testing was done by Michael Burkey, CGC Evaluator in down town Plymouth, Michigan amongst city traffic, pedestrians (adults and young children), the dog friendly Sun and Snow Sports store and on an open back metal stairway leading to a parking deck.

Congratulations to Bernie and Cyrus! They prepared themselves well by participating in Michigan Dog Training’s group dog training classes. Cyrus has an excellent temperament and was bred by Stephanie Lubbers and Brian K. Beard of Quarterwoods Rottweilers.

To learn the testing requirements for the CGCU, visit: What is the Urban Canine Good Citizen Title?

For more information, contact Michigan Dog Training or call us at 734-634-4152. We have a variety of group dog training classes and other training programs to help dog owners prepare for the CGCU.


Michigan Dog Training, Rottweiler, Plymouth, Michigan, CGCU, Canine Good Citizen Urban

Walking at Kellogg Park, Plymouth, MI

Michigan Dog Training, Rottweiler, Plymouth, Michigan, CGCU, Canine Good Citizen Urban

Cyrus heels easily past children and adults

Rottweiler, Canine Good Citizen Urban, CGCU, Michigan Dog Training

Transversing open back metal stairs like a pro.

Canine Good Citizens – August 2016

Canine Good Citizen, CGC, Michigan Dog Training

On August 2, 2016 three students and their dogs passed the American Kennel Club (AKC) Canine Good Citizen (CGC) evaluation with flying colors at Michigan Dog Training in Plymouth, Michigan. They completed the Intermediate Manners dog class which prepared them for the evaluation.  Congratulations to:

  1. Starr Natale and her dog Luna a Pit mix of Grosse Ile, Michigan
  2. Tim Porter and his dog Ziggy Stardust, a Cane Corso of Westland, Michigan
  3. Ellen Currin and her dog Winifred, a Pit mix of Detroit, Michigan






Your dog too can learn new manners and even titles. A new set of group dog training classes start next week. Hurry, don’t delay as classes fill quickly.


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

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.

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!

Two Plymouth dogs become Canine Good Citizens!

Canine Good Citizen Michigan Dog Training

On April 9, 2014 two Michigan Dog Training (MDT) students and their dogs earned the American Kennel Club’s (AKC) Canine Good Citizen (CGC) title.  The CGC evlaluation consists of ten components such as walking on a loose leash, sitting, laying down and staying on command, coming when called, approaching but not bothering another dog team in close enough proximity for the handlers to shake hands and exchange pleasantries,  etc. To prepare for the evaluation, the dog teams completed MDT’s Intermediate Manners/CGC group class.  Congratulations to:

1. Alexandra Sitarik and her dog Samson, a Vizsla of Plymouth, Michigan

2. Margene Coulter and her dog Abby, a Golden Retriever of Plymouth, Michigan

If you want your dog to learn new manners and also become a good citizen, contact Michigan Dog Training at 734-634-4152.  A new set of group dog training classes start next week and private dog training is also available.

Eddie, Pitt mix saves the day! Dog training tips before/after your dog goes missing

Pitt Bull, Pitt mix, Michigan Dog Training

Eddie, Hero Dog

Today, while working at my computer, I noticed a grey truck come in and out of our parking lot and go up and down the street.  It was quite odd since I didn’t have any appointments scheduled for that time.  Shortly later, I saw a Boxer run down the street past my business.

Now it all made sense. The person was trying to locate their missing dog. As I stepped outside my business, the dog came running to me but it wouldn’t come up the last 20 feet to me before darting off behind a house across the street.  Upon the owner’s next trip around the block, I pointed her in his last known direction.  She parked her car and went behind the house looking for him while I went back inside to retrieve treats and a leash as she had neither.

While I was retrieving those items, Eddie a Pitt mix (who has received training at Michigan Dog Training LLC and is now a frequent boarder when his parents go on vacation) went to the front glass door and sat there peering out.  When I came back to the door, Eddie had seemingly called the Boxer over to play with him. The Boxer was at the front door trying to sniff Eddie through the glass  They were both enjoying their interaction and this allowed the owner to grab a hold of her dog’s collar. So Eddie was the hero of the day!

Afterwards, I gave Eddie a finder’s reward of tasty treats.  And, then he did want any tired hero would do, take a much needed nap.

Here are some before and after tips in case your dog gets loose and goes missing:

1. Have your dog micro-chipped at your local veterinarian office

2. Have your name and phone number on your dog’s collar tag

3. Store an extra leash and food treats in a zip lock bag to keep in your vehicle.  This way if you head out the door and jump in your vehicle to retrieve your dog, you won’t have to think about what to take with you

4. If possible and safe to do, elicit the help of a friendly dog to entice the roaming dog to come closer to play

5. Don’t chase after your dog, instead get your dog’s attention and run away from him/her to entice your dog to chase you

6. As your dog begins to chase you fall down to the ground and act as silly as you can so your dog will know you want to play

7. And, obviously take your dog to Michigan Dog Training LLC in Plymouth, Michigan for private dog training lessons or group dog training classes.  Classes start soon, call 734-634-4152 to register.


Pitt mix, Pitt Bull, Michigan Dog Training

Taking a Hero nap

Pitt mix, Pitt Bull, Michigan Dog Training

Rewarded with Hero Treats

Riggs, German Shepherd becomes CGC Star

Riggs CGC and Teresa

Riggs CGC and Teresa

On January 28, 2013, Teresa of Hazel Park, Michigan and Riggs, a German Shepherd, earned their Canine Good Citizen (CGC) title. They were evaluated by Michael Burkey, a professional dog trainer and behaviorist of Michigan Dog Training LLC. The CGC is an American Kennel Club (AKC) title in which the dog and handler have to successfully complete ten components of an evaluation. The purpose of the evaluation is to recognize those dogs who have been trained to be good citizens in the community. Congrats Teresa and Riggs!

If you’re interested in training your dog to be a good citizen, contact the Michigan Dog Trainer for group dog training classes in Livonia and Ann Arbor, Michigan.

New class graduates – Circus class to start 1/7/13

Michigan Dog Trainer’s November 2012 Basic Manners Graduates

Here are the graduates of the recent “Basic Manners” group dog training class at Michigan Dog Trainer‘s Livonia training facility. The dogs made great improvements in their confidence levels in meeting other dogs and people, learned new household and walking manners and the owners learned how to better modify their dog’s behavior.  The students, dogs and the trainer Michael Burkey had a blast together.

The next set of group classes at the Livonia facility will start January 7, 2013.  The Basic Manners class will run again as it’s a big hit in the Livonia area and fills up quickly.  Additionally, the  popular “Circus Class” that is normally held at Michigan Dog Trainer’s Ann Arbor training facility will be added to the Livonia location.  It’s purpose is to continue the dog’s learning after Basic Manners and includes teaching dog tricks and the exercises needed to pass the American Kennel Club‘s Canine Good Citizen evaluation which is held on the last night of the class series.  Both classes are held for four weeks and is only $120.00 for each series of classes. Hurry don’t delay, guarantee your dog’s space in the class.