Service Dogs in Michigan Registration FAQ

On Tuesday October 20th 2015 Governor Snyder signed into law Public Act 145. We have received a lot of questions regarding how this impacts people with existing service dogs. We wanted to create a post to answer some of the questions we receive. Public Act 145 is an act to help product disabled people who utilize a service dog to make everyday tasks easier. This law has required the Michigan Department of Civil Rights to enact a voluntary identification card for service animals. It also requires that the department receive reports of problems encountered by a person with a disability while using a service animal. To clear up any confusion between the new law and how it relates to the Americans with Disabilities Act let me explain. This new law does not impact you in anyway other than if you have a negative experience with ab business while utilizing your service dog. It's no secret that in the past few years the number of "fake" service dogs has sky rocketed which has caused problems for those that utilize a "real" service dog. Under the new law, there is a system which will help prevent any negative experiences, as it allows the government to sign-off on the validity of your animal.

If you decide to register your SA with the State of Michigan you will be required to submit an application, an affidavit (notorized), and your doctors will be required to sign an authorization acknowledging you should have a SD. Once you have all of those documents you will submit this to the State of Michigan. In return you will receive an ID card with your picture and dogs information and a patch from the State of Michigan to be attached to your dogs working vest.  (See picture)

In addition to these benefits of the law there are also some additions that increase the consequences for using a fake service dog.

You can read more about the bill by clicking here.

We hope this clears up any confusion.

Training Tour

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We have received several requests for trainings outside of our immediate market.  We have also received many clients who have found our website and utilize us for informational purposes only via phone or email.  Our goal in 2016 was to impact more areas than West Michigan.  So, today we are announcing a plan to help reach that goal. In the next few weeks we will be opening up a "schedule" for trainings.  We will be picking 5 key cities in different regions spending 2 days in each city.  We will have online booking available much like you see for concerts -- these slots will be limited to 10 per city.

We will begin traveling to these cities on July 5th with the goal of helping folks create and restore relationships with their pets.  Whether you have a new puppy or an older dog we will help set you up for success with a training plan to help accomplish your goals.

Please stay tuned here and our Facebook for updates.

Government Purchasing Statement

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Effective 3/7/2016 we became an authorized vendor for the Government.  We have met all of their requirements and criteria and are now effectively in all of the various purchasing systems they use.  We are an available vendor for all government entities including Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security, and any other entity that utilizes working canines and utilize the GSA / SAM.gov purchasing guidelines.

This is a big deal for us and we could not be more thrilled.  There are strict training requirements and performance standards that need to be met prior to becoming a vendor.  We are pleased and humbled that we met those requirements.

We believe that the impact on our day-to-day business will see minimal impact.  Our goal is as it's always been and that is to continue going out on a daily basis to help restore relationships between dogs and their families.  We believe that is our mission and what we are great at doing.  It's what has allowed us to grow and continue growing and a high rate and we will never abandon this idea because at the core it's who we are as a company.

So what does all of this mean?

We believe it means that we will continue growing at even a higher rate.  We will share some big announcements when we are able.  We have a lot of exciting things happening coming up and we can not wait to share them with our amazing clients!

Thank you all for your continued support.

Click here for more information on our Government Purchasing Process.

The Movie MAX PSA - Should I own a Belgian Malinois?

Warner Brothers is releasing a new movie titled "Max".  The movie is about a MWD (Military Working Dog) who is adopted by the handler's family after he passes away.  

Belgian Malinois is not what this movie depicts.

Unfortunately, after OBL was killed by Seal Team 6, news broke that a Malinois was involved in the operation.  This caused a lot of interest in the breed, which led to many families purchasing a dog.  Since then, the number of "Malinois Rescues" has skyrocketed, as families were not prepared for the type of dog they purchased.

The Malinois Breed is one of the most difficult breeds to raise in a home.

These dogs require more attention than infants.  If they are not stimulated or have a job they can perform daily (multiple times) they will become destructive and

PHOTO PROVIDED BY METROPOLITIAN CRIME COMMISSION NOPD K-9 vehicle where police dog Primo tore up inside of vehicle while trying to escape before dying of heat exhaustion.
PHOTO PROVIDED BY METROPOLITIAN CRIME COMMISSION NOPD K-9 vehicle where police dog Primo tore up inside of vehicle while trying to escape before dying of heat exhaustion.
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develop behavior issues.  They naturally have an incredible high "prey drive" which is their desire to subdue anything moving quickly without much thought.  (think kids..)

Any responsible breeder will not sell a Malinois as a family dog.  If the breeder attempts to sell you a dog as a "great family dog" -- We can guarantee you that you're not speaking to a credible breeder.

It's all about how you raise them....

False.  Partially.  However, the genetics are so pronounced in this breed that you will find that your cute new 8 week old Malinois will show it's teeth and engage you if you were to do something such as discipline them for something.  They are strong dogs with strong personalities, requiring a strong handler / owner.

Due to the public interest in the breed in the past few years - there are more Malinois in rescue facilities now than every before.  Please do not add to this list, we ask that you really do your research and make the right decision for the dog.

This PSA sums it up best:

E-Collar / No E-Collar?

Welcome to our blog.

We now have a place that we can publish our thoughts, views, training tips, and things that we find extraordinary.

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There is a debate in the "dog world" on e-collars.  Some trainers are against it, some trainers are for it, some trainers use it exclusively.  The arguments are so deep rooted, that when reading these sites with peoples opinions, it feels like politics.

We believe E-Collars serve a purpose and are useful for some dogs in some situations.  There is no black and white answer on this subject.  It's a tool that is available for specific dogs that we are looking to accomplish specific tasks.  Let me explain...

We believe in positive reinforcement.

Our personal dogs and the majority of our clients, have been taught foundational and advanced obedience using this type of learning.  We have trained with so much repetition and consistency that when a command is given, the dog responds immediately.  For instance, if one of our dogs was to see a squirrel, respond by chasing it, my response would be "NO!, COME!".  Before I finish the end of the command, my dogs will already be turned around on their way back.  The same is true with all of their commands including their focus heel.  They understand that listening to me, results in something positive for them. They constantly seek the "Yes!" as I have taught many of you...

Every dog that we visit and evaluate for every one of our clients is treated as a blank slate.  We make no decision regarding the learning plan of a clients dog until we meet the dog.  In some cases we run into dogs that have had no foundation work, or been held accountable.  Sometimes it's as simple as they are great dogs that are now older, set in their ways, and the owner is looking to accomplish new goals for them. (Example: Pulling on a leash, Barking at cars, etc)  In those situations we make a decision whether or not the dog would be responsive to positive reinforcement or e-collar training.  Then we proceed and execute with the dogs plan.  E-Collars have helped a lot of our clients achieve the results they were looking for when they contacted us.  (that's why we have them available for sale)

We approach every dog, especially puppies, with the idea they do not need the e-collar.

If we are able to get to a puppy before it matures there is a very high probability that puppy will never need an e-collar as it grows old.  There are trainers that will utilize an e-collar for every dog they train, some trainers requiring you to purchase an e-collar for their classes.  We feel very strongly this is not the right approach.  Personally, I would never utilize an E-Collar on a dog less than a year old.  The reason why I wouldn't can only be answered by I can't think of a reason I would.  As a puppy grows, you can create a strong foundation of trust and bond by working on obedience utilizing our "marker-training" and our learning plan.  It creates a puppy that as he matures learns to not just respond to your commands, but to focus on how quickly he responds.  When this is achieved, an e-collar is rarely needed.

In summary, there is no right or wrong answer to the ever asked, "Should I use an E-Collar?".  It should be treated as an individual question for each dog.  The most important part to take away from this post -- if you have a puppy or young dog and you're thinking of using an e-collar or taking them to a training facility that requires the use of an e-collar, please give us a chance to evaluate and see if we agree.