8 Puppies earn AKC STAR Medals


On November 28, 2017 eight puppies earned their American Kennel Club Puppy S.T.A.R. Awards at Michigan Dog Training in Plymouth, Michigan.  Learn how your puppy can earn his or her Puppy S.T.A.R. Medal.

December Puppy 1 Training Classes start next week, Wednesday December 6, 2017 at 8:00pm. Sign up by visiting our website or by calling 734-634-4152. Hurry, don’t delay. The class is filling up quickly.


Congratulations to the following teams:

  1. Connie Giummo and Benelli a German Shorthair Pointer of Novi, Michigan
  2. Rebecca Runco and Zeke, an Australian Shepherd of Dearborn, Michigan
  3. Madelyn Green and Jiri Green-Heeren, a Siberian Husky of Berkley, Michigan
  4. Akshay Vasudevan and Buddy, a Chocolate Lab of Canton, Michigan
  5. Lisa Haselhuhn and Gracie, a Labrador Retriever
  6. Terri Mezigian and Maverick, a Yellow Lab of Livonia, Michigan
  7. Robert Bend and Maggie, a Staffordshire Terrier of Plymouth, Michigan
  8. Anna Blott and Colonel Brandon, a Border Collie of Northville, Michigan


Puppy S.T.A.R., Puppy STAR, Michigan Dog Training, Puppy Training Classes

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.

Puppies are Stars at MDT

otonColorsTMagAd9-06On June 23, 2015 five puppies who completed the Ultimate Puppy group class (Pup 1 followed by Pup 2 group classes) at Michigan Dog Training (MDT) in Plymouth, Michigan earned their American Kennel Club (AKC) STAR (Socialization, Training, Activity, Responsibility) Puppy certificate.  The STAR program measures the owner’s responsible behaviors in raising a puppy, the puppy’s temperament behaviors (free of aggression and fear) and the puppy’s Pre-Canine Good Citizen behaviors which includes:

  1. Allows petting by a person other than the owner
  2. Grooming – allows owner handling and brief exam by owner (ears, feet)
  3. Walks on a leash – follows owner for 15 feet or more in a straight line
  4. Walks by other people
  5. Sits on command
  6. Downs on command
  7. Comes to owner from five feet away
  8. Reaction to distractions without fear or aggression and
  9. Stays on leash with another person while owner walks ten feet away and returns

Congratulations to the owners and their STAR puppies!

  • Alexa Rickert and Reggie, Beagle of Canton, Michigan
  • Michael King and Olive, Labrador Retriever mix of Northville, Michigan
  • Satheesh Rajagopalan and Groot, Australian Shepherd mix of Canton, Michigan
  • Kathy Borden and Louie, Bolognese of Ann Arbor, Michigan and
  • Parul Luthra and Neo, Cockapoo of Westland, Michigan

MDT offers on-going Puppy 1 and Puppy 2 group socialization and training classes. Each class is four weeks in duration. Or, students can elect to sign up for the Ultimate Puppy program which includes Puppy 1 and Puppy 2 classes at a $60 discount. The next set of puppy classes begin July 7, 2015. For those who completed Puppy 2 or the Ultimate Puppy, they normally are ready to jump ahead to the Intermediate Manners class which also begins July 7, 2015.

January 2015 Dog Training Classes

basic dog training class, Michigan Dog Training

Basic Group Class

Michigan Dog Training in Plymouth, Michigan has posted its January and February 2015 dog training classes.  They include the popular: Puppy 1 and Puppy 2 Manners (socialization, raising a puppy and obedience), Basic Manners, Intermediate Manners/Canine Good Citizen, Advanced Obedience/Focused Heeling, Nosework, Training Your Own Service Dog, Circus Trick Dog and Feisty Fido (for dogs who don’t get along with other dogs). We’ve also added a new exciting class called Protection Sport Dog. Sign up now, don’t delay as classes fill up quickly.

Puppies behave at Michigan Dog Training

Michigan Dog Training, puppy obedience, puppy manners, good puppy, pup, puppy class


On October 28, 2014 several puppies earned their American Kennel Club Puppy S.T.A.R. Certificates at Michigan Dog Training in Plymouth, Michigan. To successfully pass the evaluation, puppies have to show good temperament and personality as well as beginning puppy obedience. And, the dog owners demonstrated what it takes to be a responsible dog owner.

A new round of Puppy 1 and Puppy 2 classes start on Tuesday November 11, 2014. Don’t miss the fun, sign up now. You could have a well behaved puppy before the holidays.  Wouldn’t that make your holidays more relaxing?!

Congratulations to the following puppies and their owners:

  1. Susan Kuhn and Bryleigh, Airedale of Farmington, Michigan
  2. Susan Kuhn and Suri, Airedale of Farmington, Michigan
  3. Susan Kuhn and Journey, Airedale of Farmington, Michigan
  4. Samatha Beard and Finn, All American mix of Allen Park, Michigan
  5. Brandon Gonzales and Diesel, Pit Mix of Livonia, Michigan

New Puppy STARS 09/30/14

On September 30, 2014 at Michigan Dog Training in Plymouth, Michigan; six puppies passed the American Kennel Club (AKC) S.T.A.R. Puppy Program evaluation. The AKC “designed the program to get puppies and their owners off to a great start.” Puppy STAR requires owners to attend a basic training course with their puppies of at least 6 weeks in duration that focuses on Socialization, Training, Activity and Responsible ownership. MDT offers Puppy 1 and  Puppy 2 classes that can be purchased together for a cost savings and is called Ultimate Puppy.  By completing both classes, owners receive eight weeks of training and thus are qualified to take the STAR evaluation.

Puppy class, puppy obedience

Your pup can be a STAR too.

The AKC states, “their are obvious benefits to participating in the AKC STAR Puppy Program.  Puppies that attend classes are well-socialized, and they learn the skills that are the foundation for all other learning.  But AKC STAR Puppy is really about puppy owners.  Knowing that a large percentage of dogs who are relinquished to shelters are dogs that have never received formal training, we want to do our part to encourage owners to take their puppies to a puppy class.”

The evaluation has three components:  Owner Behaviors (responsible ownership), Puppy Behaviors (free of aggression), and Pre-Canine Good Citizen Test Behaviors (allows petting by someone other than the owner, owner can handle the pups ears and feet, walk on a leash, walk by other people, sit on command, down on command, comes to owner, reaction to distractions, and stay on leash with another person).

Congratulations to the following puppy teams!

1. Vanessa Guastella and Donny Smolenski, 24 weeks old Boston Terrier/Jack Russell mix of Plymouth, Michigan

2. Carrie Roosevelt and Oreo, 18 weeks old German Shepherd/Husky mix of Brownstown, Michigan

3. Diane Tochman and Java, 18 weeks old Chocolate Lab of Canton, Michigan

4. Stacy Downer and Makith 21 weeks old Rottweiler/German Shepherd mix of Ann Arbor, Michigan

5. Julie Basa and Lorn Stanley, 20 weeks old American Stratfordshire Terrier of Ypsilanti, Michigan

6. Courtney Ceci and Lucille, 7 month old Austrailian Cattle Dog of Canton, Michigan

If you have a ten week or older puppy, contact Michigan Dog Training now or call 734-634-4152 to enroll in the next Puppy 1 class which starts Tuesday October 7, 2014 at 7:00pm.


New Dog Classes in Walled Lake, 6/12/11

The next series of dog classes, taught by Professional Dog Trainer Michael Burkey at Lil Nells Pet Salon in Walled Lake, Michigan will commence on June 12, 2011.  The four week class series is only $100.00 and is held on Sunday afternoons at the following times:

  • Remote Adventures, 2:00-3:00pm
  • Basic Manners, 3:00-4:00pm
To register, fill out the registration form on the Michigan Dog Trainer website or call Michael Burkey at 734-634-4152.