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


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Dogs learn good manners

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Luna, CGC

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Cyrus, CGC







On January 10, 2017 three dogs showed off their good manners by passing the American Kennel Club Puppy STAR and Canine Good Citizen evaluations after having taken puppy training and dog training classes at Michigan Dog Training in Plymouth, Michigan.

Congrats to the following dog teams:

  1. Sobi, Polish Lowland Sheepdog, Puppy STAR and her handler Ed Abramoski of Canton, Michigan
  2. Cyrus, Rottweiler, Canine Good Citizen and his handlers Bernie White and Jeanette Garcia of Lincoln Park, Michigan
  3. Luna, Doberman, Canine Good Citizen and his handler James Remenapp of Redford, Michigan


Contact Michigan Dog Training at 734-634-4152 to learn how your dog can also become a Puppy STAR or Canine Good Citizen with good manners.

First Puppy S.T.A.R. of 2017

puppy classes, puppy obedience, Michigan Dog Training, Plymouth, Michigan, Canton, Labradoodle, American Kennel Club, Puppy S.T.A.R.On January 3, 2017 Floyd a sixteen week old Australian Labradoodle became the first Puppy S.T.A.R. of 2017 at Michigan Dog Training (MDT) in Plymouth, Michigan. Floyd is trained and handled by Lindsay Shoemaker of Canton, Michigan.

She and Floyd participated in puppy classes (Puppy 1 and Puppy 2) at MDT and then successfully completed the American Kennel Club Puppy S.T.A.R. evaluation.

Congratulations to Lindsay and Floyd! He is growing up to be a well mannered puppy.

New Puppy S.T.A.R.S. – July 26, 2016


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On July 26, 2016 two new puppies became AKC Puppy S.T.A.R.S. at Michigan Dog Training in Plymouth, Michigan.  The Puppy S.T.A.R. program ensures the puppy is free of aggression, the owner is raising their puppy responsibly, they have attended a puppy training class, and measures the pup’s pre-Canine Good Citizen obedience skills. Both pups passed with flying colors.  Congratulations to both:

  1. Angela Kalkofen and her pup Max, a Golden Retriever of Canton, Michigan
  2. Starr Natale and her pup Luna, a Pit mix of Grosse Ile, Michigan.





Teach your puppy good manners for a lifetime. Join our next puppy training class, Pup 1 Manners, by clicking the blue icon, “Book Online” .  The class is only $95.00 and includes four weeks of instruction. The S.T.A.R. evaluation is given at the conclusion of the Pup 2 Manners class.

Train your dog and earn an AKC Title

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Michael Burkey, CGC Evaluator

Michigan Dog Training (MDT) in Plymouth, Michigan has developed a new banner promoting the American Kennel Club’s Puppy S.T.A.R., Canine Good Citizen (CGC), Community Canine Good Citizen (CGCA), and the Urban Canine Good Citizen (UCGC) titles. These titles are open to mix and purebred dogs and are a great way to motivate dog owners to train their dogs to the next level of obedience training and to instill responsible dog ownership.

MDT has structured its dog training group classes around the testing requirements for each of the below described titles.  Upon successfully completing the requirements for each, owners can showcase their dog’s accomplishment by having their photo taken in front of the banner which will be published on MDT’s Facebook page and submit their paperwork and accompanying nominal fee to the AKC for an impressive looking title.  Additionally, owners can then use the appropriate abbreviations behind their dog’s name to reflect the title they have earned. The AKC requirements for each title are listed below.

Puppy Manners Group Class / Puppy S.T.A.R.

After your pup has participated in six weeks of training (thus MDT evaluates dogs at the completion of the Puppy 2 class) he or she is eligible to test for the AKC S.T.A.R. (Socialization, Training, Activity, Responsibility) Puppy program.


The owner must:

1. maintain the puppy’s health and provide documentation

2. receive the CGC Responsible Dog Owner’s Pledge

3. describe their dog’s adequate daily play and exercise plan

4. attend at least six puppy classes (by an approved CGC Evaluator-which we have at MDT)

5. bring bags to classes for cleaning up after their puppy

6. obtained some form of ID for the puppy such as a collar tag, microchip or tattoo.

The puppy’s behaviors must be:

7. Free of aggression toward people during the puppy classes

8. Free of aggression toward other puppies in the class

9. Tolerate collar or body harness of owner’s choice (no electronic collars)

10. Willing to have their owner hug or hold them (depending on size)

11. Allow their owner to take away a treat or toy.

Additionally, the puppy must show pre-Caine Good Citizen behaviors such as:

12. Allow petting by a person other than their owner

13. Allow owner to handle and exam their ears and feet

14. Walk on a leash in a straight line for 15 steps

15. Walk by other people who are approximately 5 feet away

16. Sit on command (owner may use a food lure)

17. Down on command (owner may use a food lure)

18. Come to owner from five feet away when their name is called

19. Show a good response to distractions that are presented fifteen feet away from the puppy

20. Stay on leash with another person while the other walks ten steps away and returns.

Intermediate Manners / Canine Good Citizen (CGC)

The Intermediate Manners dog class prepares you and your dog for the Canine Good Citizen (CGC) evaluation at the conclusion of the class. The evaluation is open to mix and purebred dogs. To earn a title, your dog must be registered with the American Kennel Club so that your dog’s titles can be recorded in the AKC official records. If you purchased your dog from an AKC listed breeder, you should’ve been given paperwork to register your dog with the AKC. If you don’t know your dog’s pedigree, you can request a Purebred Alternative Listing. And, if your dog is a mix breed, you can register him/her as an AKC Canine Partner.

The evaluation has ten components:

1. Accept a friendly stranger who approaches and shakes hands with the handle but does not touch the dog

2. Sitting politely for petting

3. Appearance and acceptance to grooming such as brushing and having his/her ears and front feet touched

4. Out for a walk which includes right, left and about turns along with a stop

5. Walking through a crowd close to several people (the dog may show casual interest but may not jump up on people)

6. Sit and down on command and handler chooses to leave their dog in either a sitting position or laying down position and goes to the end of a 20 foot line and returns to their dog immediately

7. Coming when called out of the position from number six for a distance of ten feet

8. Reaction to another dog; two handlers and dogs approach each other, the handlers shake hands, exchange pleasantries and move on. The dogs can show casual interest but not leave their handler to greet the other dog

9. Reactions to distractions such as a loud closing door or a runner running past the team in which the dog may not panic or show aggression

10. Supervised separation whereas handler goes out of sight for three minutes. The dog is held on a six foot leash by an evaluator.

Advanced Manners / Canine Good Citizen Advanced (CGCA)

The Advanced manners dog class prepares a dog for the Canine Good Citizen Advanced (CGCA).

To pass the CGCA:

1. The dog must stand, sit or lie down and wait under control while the owner sits at the registration table and fills out paperwork or wait while the owner sits and has a snack or visits with another person

2. Dog walks on a loose leash in a natural situation and does not pull while making a left turn, right turn, stop, and walk at a fast and slow pace

3. Dog walks on a loose leash through a crowd

4. Dog walks past distractions and does not pull such as other dogs who are 2 feet apart or past other dogs in a hallway

5. Sit stay in small circle group (three other people with dogs) with dogs on leash on their handler’s left side and three feet apart from other dogs

6. Dog allows person who is carrying something such as a backpack or computer bag to approach and pet it

7. “Leave it” whereas the dog walks by food and follow handlers instruction to leave it

8. Down or sit-stay at a distance whereby the handler leaves the dog, walks out 20 feet, picks up an item and returns to their dog

9. Recall with distractions present

10. Dog will sit or stay stay (handler’s choice) while handler enters/exits a doorway or narrow passageway.  Handler calls dog through door when ready.  Handler may choose to send the dog through first and have the dog wait for the handler, or, the handler may choose to have the dog go through the doorway at the handler’s side.  Whichever method is used, the dog must not pull the owner and must be under good control. Think of the handler having the leash in one hand and a cup of coffee in the other.

Advanced Manners/ Urban Canine Good Citizen (CGCU)

A student may retake the Advanced Manners class to prepare their dog for the Urban CGC (CGCU) evaluation.

It also has ten components:

1. Exit/enter doorways with no pulling in dog friendly buildings,

2. Walk through a crowd on a busy urban sidewalk where people are walking fast and coming toward the dog (1 foot away) and be able to tolerate distractions such as people wearing hats, coats, men, women, etc.

3. Appropriate reaction to city distractions including movement, noises and walking on a variety of surfaces such as horns, sirens, construction noise, person yelling, skateboards, bikes, carts, person running, on various surfaces (concrete, grate, grass, plastic tarp, wet sidewalk, etc.

4. Crossing street; stopping at corner, stand or sit to wait and cross with no pulling, and crosses street under control

5. Ignores food on sidewalk

6. Person walks up and pets dog while carrying something (item is not set down such as in the CGCA)

7. Public Building, dog walks under control on slick surfaces or carpeted floor, does a down stay in lobby or outdoor area or waits while handler has a meal or snack

8. Goes up and down stairs, steps or elevator under control

9. House trained for apartment, condo, city living

10. Transportation savvy such as being able to enter/exit and ride in a car, subway or dog friendly cab under control.

The evaluations are held on the last night of each class.  There is no fee for students to take the evaluation.  Non-students may also take the fee for a nominal charge of $20.00. Don’t delay, sign up now for a puppy or dog group training class.


Puppy training at MDT gets personal

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Erica Hensley with Drogo & Matthew Lamarand with Falkor

Puppy training at Michigan Dog Training (MDT) in Plymouth, Michigan just got personal. And, by that we mean three MDT trainers (Erica Hensley, Matthew Lamarand, and Ashley Williams) have been smitten with puppy love as they have become the proud parents of two puppies; Drogo, a Belgian Malinois and Falkor, a Dutch Shepherd.

Despite being two separate breeds and thus different litters, they are only a few days apart in age. So, the friendly competition between the trainers have already begun as to which puppy will earn it’s Puppy S.T.A.R. certificate, Canine Good Citizen (CGC) Title, Canine Good Citizen Advanced (CGCA) Title, Obedience and Rally titles and IPO Titles (formerly known as Schutzhund, a German Protection sport that involves Protection training, Obedience, and Tracking) first. In truth, the trainers are not only co-workers but also friends. They are very supportive of each other but a little friendly competition and riving is always fun. Plus, it helps motivate one to get out there and train their dog.

When trainers get new puppies they are reminded first hand of what our clients experience raising their own puppies. It makes it personal as they re-experience the trials and tribulations of potty training, crate training, properly socializing puppies to new environments and teaching puppies good manners the right way, the first time. If you have a puppy, contact us so your pup can have fun learning alongside Drogo and Falkor in our puppy classes. And because no one can never get tired of seeing puppy pictures please see the rest of the pics on the Michigan Dog Training Facebook page.

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Lamarand and Williams with Falkor

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Hensley with Drogo


How to decide if you need dog training

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Michael Burkey teaching three Malinois to sit and stay

Do you need dog training from a professional for you and your dog? Michael Burkey, President and Dog Behaviorist of Michigan Dog Training in Plymouth, Michigan provides these helpful tips to help you decide if you are in need of dog training.



a) Are you limited on the number and/or age of visitors (young or old) that can visit your home because of the dog?

b) Are you having trouble taking your dog for walks without him/her pulling you down the street or toward another dog or person?

c) Are you concerned about the liability your dog may pose if he/she got loose and was to approach other dogs or people?

d) Is your dog causing damage to your house or yard?

e) Is your life stressful because of your dog?





 a)  Your life being less stressful,

 b) Entertaining more people at your home without having to put the dog away,

 c) Taking beautiful day walks with your dog who has become an ideal companion, 

d) Taking your dog to more family outings, and more?


Michigan Dog Training (MDT) specializes in reducing family stress by training dogs and their families so that peace can be restored.  To discuss MDT’s services (Puppy training classes, private dog training lessons, in-home dog training, board and train, dog day school, doggie daycare, and other group classes such as Basic Obedience, Intermediate Obedience/CGCAdvanced Obedience/Focused Heeling, Nosework, Circus Dog, Service Dog, etc), please call 734-634-4152 or check out the Michigan Dog Training website for more information.

Bernese Mountain Dog and Malese/Yorkie mix puppies become AKC Star Puppies

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AKC Star Puppies Rudy and Lucy!

On June 8, 2013 two cuddly and adorable puppies successfully completed the American Michigan Dog TrainingKennel Club (AKC) STAR Puppy evaluation and program at Michigan Dog Training LLC (MDT) in Plymouth, Michigan.  Wendy Bemis, Michigan Dog Training’s Dog Trainer, taught the Puppy Socialization class and Michael Burkey, Dog Behaviorist and President of MDT conducted the evaluation.

The STAR Puppies and parents are:

1. Beth Stefani and Rudy, Maltese/Yorkie mix from Saline, Michigan

2. Mark Chadwick and Lucy, Bernese Mountain Dog from Gregory, Michigan

The AKC describes the program as such: “The AKC STAR Puppy (socialization, training, activity, and responsibility) is an exciting program designed to get dog owners and their puppies off to a good start.  The AKC STAR Puppy Program is an incentive program for loving dog owners who have taken the time to take their puppies through a basic training class.”

MDT offers puppy socialization and training classes to help puppies and owners get off on the right paw and a new class will start on Saturday June 15, 2013 at 9:00 a.m.  To take part, bring your hungry 10-16 week old puppy to MDT at 1031 Cherry Street, Plymouth, Michigan 48170 along with verification of vaccinations and negative fecal check for parasites. The class is only $57.00. Email MDT at info@MichiganDogTrainer.com for more information.

Lucy checking out the wobbleboard for strength and balance

Lucy checking out the wobbleboard for strength and balance

Lucy learning to use her core muscles on the peanut to develop strength and balance.

Lucy learning to use her core muscles on the peanut to develop strength and balance.

Rudy checking out a moving surface, the doggie treadmill for socialization purposes.

Rudy checking out a moving surface, the doggie treadmill for socialization purposes.

Rudy learning to change positions from a sit to a down on the peanut to develop core muscle strength and balance.

Rudy learning to change positions from a sit to a down on the peanut to develop core muscle strength and balance.

Rudy come!

Rudy come!

Rudy learning to go through a tunnel.

Rudy learning to go through a tunnel.

Rudy learning to go to "place" on a dog scale.

Rudy learning to go to “place” on a dog scale.

Rudy learning to walk with his mom on a loose leash.

Rudy learning to walk with his mom on a loose leash.

Rudy learning to balance on a wobbleboard.

Rudy learning to balance on a wobbleboard.

Lucy learning to stretch her core muscles on the peanut

Lucy learning to stretch her core muscles on the peanut

Rudy and Lucy having fun chasing each other through a tunnel.

Rudy and Lucy having fun chasing each other through a tunnel.

Lucy come!

Lucy come!