Who we are & our commitment to you
Joyful Dogs of Michigan is committed to providing the best training methods available to our clients and their dogs and do so at a competitive rate. Each dog is an individual as is each owner and we treat them that way! We acknowledge the individuality and intelligence of each dog.
We recognize that dogs are a unique species with amazing capabilities and value. Consistent and trustworthy leadership in training to both dog and owner is our policy. We promise to provide a clear plan, use the right tools, honest feedback and guidance to our clients.
Each dog is an individual and each owner is as well. Joyful Dogs of Michigan is committed to providing the best training method for each dog/owner pair.
Learn all about us and discover why Joyful Dogs of Michigan is the best choice for your dog's training!
Joyful Dogs of Michigan got its start in 1974 when Beth Licht went to work for an experienced trainer in Detroit, Michigan. He had extensive experience in training from puppy to Schutzhund (think police dogs). At the beginning cleaning kennels and answering phones was the closest she got to the dogs. Finally, after being mentored and having to train a German Shepherd through Schutzhund III and, under the watchful eye of her mentor, she was allowed to teach her first group class.
From the very first day she knew that dog training wasn’t going to be just a career. It was going to be her life’s calling. Her passion for helping dogs and owners to develop the best friend relationship that everyone wants has been her guide throughout the decades.
When Beth decided to strike out on her own she chose the name “Joyful Dogs of Michigan” because she felt that the relationship between dog and owner should always be full of joy. She wanted people to enjoy the kind of friendship with their dogs that she saw in those great 1960's movies.
Beth is currently training her new Great Dane puppy, Dexter for various AKC titles. Dexter passed the STAR Puppy program and is working on both the Canine Good Citizen and Novice Trick Dog titles!
Paul Shepard, our SW Michigan/NW Indiana trainer is Beth's oldest son. He began training by working with Beth as she trained family pets in basic obedience. When he had mastered training the family dogs and had trained dogs for family friends, he was allowed to teach small classes. The bug had bitten and Paul was as hooked on training as Beth! He's been training for over 20 years!
Paul trains all levels of obedience from puppy to advanced. His enthusiasm with the dogs is contagious and they absolutely love to be with him! One of the greatest things to witness is clients echoing Paul's signature "GOOD dog!"
In addition to his client dogs, he is also currently training his new German Shepard Dog puppy, Alaric. They will likely get into search and rescue as Alaric grows up
Pete is Beth's youngest son. Like his mom and older brother, Paul, Pete caught the training bug early. He's been training for nearly 20 years. He trains at the Lansing Training Center with Beth.
He is especially talented working with difficult dogs and has remarkable success where others have failed.
Pete is working with his German Shepherd Dog, Kota on scent work and plans to enter Kota in IPO/Schutzhund!
Both the dog and the owner must completely understand not only the commands but the reasons for doing things a certain way in dog training. Joyful Dogs of Michigan takes the time to ensure that dog and owner know exactly how to practice, improve, and master the various behaviors/commands in each course. The time we spend with our clients is one of the things they like most about us!
Our training practices
Joyful Dogs of Michigan uses balanced training methods and practices LIMA training
What Is LIMA?
“LIMA” is an acronym for the phrase “least intrusive, minimally aversive.” LIMA describes a trainer or behavior consultant who uses the least intrusive, minimally aversive strategy out of a set of humane and effective tactics likely to succeed in achieving a training or behavior change objective with minimal risk of producing aversive side effects.
LIMA adherence also requires consultants to be adequately educated and skilled in order to ensure that the least intrusive and aversive procedure is used.LIMA does not justify the use of punishment in lieu of other effective interventions and strategies. In the vast majority of cases, desired behavior change can be affected by focusing on the animal’s environment, physical well-being, and operant and classical interventions such as differential reinforcement of an alternative behavior, desensitization, and counter-conditioning.
Our training sessions
We don't set a one hour timer. Our private sessions last between 60 and 90 minutes. We take a bit longer at times to ensure the week’s lesson is fully understood. Our training sessions are not on a timer. Our concern is not with the dollars to minutes ratio but with how well our clients and dog students master the courses.
Who we are & our commitment to you
Joyful Dogs of Michigan really began in 1974 when Beth began to learn the skills needed from an experienced trainer at his dog training facility in Detroit, Michigan. From the very early days when cleaning kennels and answering phones was the closest she got to the dogs to her first opportunity to train a group class, Beth was under the watchful eye of her mentor.
Even before she was allowed to actually train a class she knew that dog training wasn’t going to be just a career. It was going to be her life’s calling. Her passion for helping dogs and owners to develop the best friend relationship that everyone wants has been her guide throughout the decades.
When Beth decided to strike out on her own she chose the name “Joyful Dogs of Michigan” because she felt that the relationship between dog and owner should always be full of joy. She wanted people to enjoy that happy movie kind of friendship with their dogs.
The Joyful Dog Difference
It’s critical that both the dog and the owner completely understand not only the commands but the reasons that certain rules apply in dog training. Joyful Dogs of Michigan takes the time to ensure that dog and owner know exactly how to practice, improve, and master the various behaviors/commands in each course.
And, when training is complete, we're always available to give advice and assistance. Once your dog is a Joyful Dog, he's one for life!
And our board and train program also differs from many others. Your dog lives with us in our home, not in a kennel. We conduct multiple training sessions each day and also have play and rest periods. This method allows the dog to learn in the most efficient, relaxed way possible.
Every course is designed to promote effective, joyful learning for your dog and for you. We want you to be able to take your dog with you everywhere he’s allowed. And we want you to be proud of his behavior!