Canines in action

Michigan Dog Training helps high-energy dogs become ideal companions

BY LAUREN LUKENS
EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

Michael Burkey, owner, and staff members stand with dogs in the training area of the MDT facility. PHOTOS BY MARGARET SHAW|STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

Michael Burkey, owner, and staff members stand with dogs in the training area of the MDT facility.
PHOTOS BY MARGARET
SHAW|STAFF
PHOTOGRAPHER

Officially “man’s best friend,” dogs can be trained to do much more than sit, stay and speak—they can be an essential part of one’s life if trained properly.

Michigan Dog Training (MDT), located in downtown Plymouth, was founded to cater to restricted people with dogs who show fearful and aggressive tendencies. The business also trains calm and happy family dogs.

Michael Burkey, who was given a service dog at the age of four due to allergies that prevented him from hearing sounds, started the business. Burkey is a highly recommended and experienced Professional dog trainer, Dog Behaviorist and Diabetic Alert Dog Trainer. He is also an Expert trial witness, Certified Canine Good Citizen (CGC) evaluator for the American Kennel Club (AKC), former Police K9 Handler, Search and Rescue (SAR) K9 Training Director and SAR K9 Handler, obedience and rally competitor and social worker, according to michigandogtraining.com.

“It was a natural desire to continue helping pet owners with their dogs,” said Burkey. ”Seeing the

Burkey introduces his dog Kaboom to a smell wheel, which is used in various types of training. PHOTOS BY MARGARET SHAW|STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

Burkey introduces his dog Kaboom to a smell wheel, which is used in various types of training.
PHOTOS BY MARGARET SHAW|STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

satisfaction on the clients’ faces when getting a new dog back [is the best part of my job].”

Dogs can assist the blind in walking, act as ears for the deaf, work with people who have psychiatric disabilities, be an exciting tool in the management of Type One Diabetes, sniff out its owner’s allergies before an allergic reaction can arise and more.

MDT offers two or four-week K9 camps, training day camps and private and group classes. Customers have the option of bringing in a dog they purchased on their own, or experts at MDT can help one select and buy the perfect dog for them.

“People just call in and say what they need. We write it all down, schedule a consult where they talk to Michael and lay out information like their household situation and movement. Then, the process of finding a dog, doing training and meeting each and every person’s individual need happens,” said Dog Trainer Erica Hensley. “People can get a dog that is specifically designed for them.”

Burkey holds Clutch, a rottweiler puppy trained at MDT. PHOTO BY NATHAN GARTNER|PHOTO EDITOR

Burkey holds Clutch, a rottweiler puppy trained at MDT.
PHOTO BY NATHAN
GARTNER|PHOTO EDITOR

The employees at MDT can train a dog to retrieve objects that are out of their owner’s reach, opening and closing doors, turning light switches off and on. Dogs can also be trained to do more advanced tasks, such as barking to indicate that help is needed, assisting ambulatory persons to walk by providing balance and counterbalance, providing deep pressure, finding another person and leading the person to the handler and many other individual tasks as needed by a disabled person.

“I think the passion that the trainers have for the dogs to make them good companions for their family, as well as the service they can provide through the service dogs is impressive,” said MDT Executive Assistant Deanna Hensley. “There is a lot of love for service dogs and making them great companions at Michigan Dog Training.”

Dogs of any age or size can enhance one’s life. Whether purchasing a service dog or a family pet, MDT can help create an ideal canine companion for any person or environment.

Find more information at WWW.MICHIGANDOGTRAINING.COM