Georgia, Pit Bull goes from bait dog to playing off leash with another dog

Playing with dogs is fun now

Georgia, a Pit Bull was adopted and thus rescued by Nancy after having been used as a bait dog to teach other dogs to fight. Through Nancy, Georgia had a new beginning on life but she was fearful and therefore reactive toward other dogs.

Through private dog training sessions with Michael Burkey, a professional dog trainer and owner of Michigan Dog Trainer; Nancy learned how to train Georgia to be calmer around dogs using desensitization and habituation via food rewards and to respond to obedience commands via a remote collar training system.  The remote collar (some incorrectly refer to it as a shock collar) uses low level stimulation to interrupt a dog’s inappropriate behavior and to communicate to the dog what is the desired behavior.

Once Georgia learned to relax,  she started to show a willingness to play with other dogs. So she was introduced to Starbuck, a friendly German Shepherd.  At first she was a little nervous but quickly learned to relax and display behaviors meant to elicit play with another dog. Georgia and Starbuck had several successful online play sessions.

Then when Nancy went on a weekend trip, Georgia stayed with Michael and his dogs via the Home Away from Home program (HAH), a personalized home boarding program.

Georgia and Starbuck share a drink together

Over the weekend, she experienced several off leash play sessions with Starbuck as well as interaction with other dogs. In a message dated September 24, 2012, Nancy stated Georgia’s HAH weekend was the best weekend of her life as she developed her first friendship with another dog.

“That’s my GOOD GIRL!! She loves Starbuck, Kaboom and all the “kids” — best weekend of her life — thanks, Mike!”…….Nancy

Georgia’s progress is a result of owner commitment and love exhibited by Nancy.  We’re happy that we could be a part of her rehabilitation.  Great job Georgia and we welcome you back anytime!

Georgia does a run by of Starbuck eliciting a game of chase

Georgia elicits Starbuck to play with a “play bow”

About Michael Burkey

Michael Burkey is a professional dog trainer, behaviorist and owner of, a highly successful dog training company whose aim is to promote peaceful relationships between pets and families. Additionally, he is 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. Dog training is a complex science and art requiring knowledge of behavioral science and learning. You can rely on Michael's experience, teaching methods, and integrity. He can be contacted at or 734-634-4152.
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