About Urban Dawgs

Urban Dawgs is committed to providing the resources and support necessary to build lifelong relationships between people and their canine companions. Offering a broad range of educational programs and services, our goal is to help dog guardians better understand how their dogs learn and communicate, and how to effectively bridge that communication using proven positive reinforcement training methods.

Why Choose Urban Dawgs

Training dogs is not a second job or a hobby for us. It is our full-time profession, our life and our love. More than 90% of our customers are referred to us by professionals in the veterinary/pet care field or come to us by word-of-mouth referrals from satisfied customers. Our trainers are Certified in Dog Training and Behavior Counseling by Jean Donaldson’s Academy for Dog Trainers (known as the “Harvard for Dog Trainers”). When you hire Urban Dawgs, you can rest assured that you are working with competent, experienced professionals. More than just dog training, together with our clients, we are paving the way toward a better life for all dogs and their families.

Our Methods

Urban Dawgs uses modern, reward-based training methods based on the scientific principles of animal learning theory. Our highly effective techniques are 100% dog-friendly and taught with an emphasis on trust and cooperation, so you can truly be your dog’s best friend. We do NOT use pain, force, shock, choke, startle, fear or intimidation. Positive reinforcement really works and you avoid the negative side effects (such as fear, anxiety and aggression) that can come with using corrections and other aversive techniques. We use the presentation and removal of rewards as motivation to get our dogs to work – just like employers use salary, benefits and bonuses to motivate employees or as parents use privileges to motivate their children. Rewards can be many things, depending on the individual dog. The most obvious is food treats but there are many more possibilities (access to play, walks, door opening services, etc). Almost anything our dogs need and/or want on a daily basis can be used as rewards. Training is incorporated into your everyday life and is enjoyable on both ends of the leash!

Founder – Drayton Michaels

Drayton is an award-winning dog behavior expert specializing in positive, reward-based training, driven by science and research. His education, multiple industry and public recognitions as well as experience level places Drayton in the Top 5 percent of all dog trainers in the country.

Drayton has been working with dogs for 18 years. In May 2007, Drayton earned his Certification in Dog Training and Behavior Counseling from the original intensive San Francisco SPCA Academy for Dog Trainers (known as the “Harvard of dog training”). The SFSPCA Academy was a full-time, hands-on, comprehensive program where ten selected students trained esteemed canine behavior expert Jean Donaldson.

After graduating from the SFSPCA Academy, Drayton founded URBAN DAWGS (UrbanDawgs.com) in Red Bank, New Jersey, offering group classes and private training for dog guardians and their pets, as well as seminars, workshops and consulting services. Soon after, he expanded his practice with a specialty subsidiary of URBAN DAWGS, to include Pit Bull Guru, offering contemporary training and behavior consulting focused on Pit Bulls and other large breed dogs of all ages. Drayton also released The Pit Bull Hoax, a short film about breed specific legislation and Pit Bull dogs in 2009. This film went on to help end BSL at the state level in OH.

Dedicated to continued education, with the ultimate goal of implementing and sharing the latest research with his clients, Drayton completed Dr. Susan Friedman’s “Living & Learning with Animals: The Science and Technology of Behavior Change” in 2013.

  • Trained over 4,000 dogs and their guardians since 2007. Averages 400 dogs a year.
  • Jon Stewart, former host of the Daily Show and animal advocate called Drayton “the bomb… Drayton is the 21st Century of dog training; he’s next level.”
  • Credited / acknowledged in Stewart’s wife Tracey’s book “Do Unto Others: A Friendly Guide to How Dogs Live” (Artisan, 2015) Tracy said “Drayton is an invaluable teacher, I have yet to hear anyone speak as eloquently, intelligently and reasonably about pit bull dogs”
  • Featured expert in documentary short “Pit Bull Hoax” (2010) and the film Beyond The Myth (2012) (Netflix)
  • Speaker, commentator and advocate regarding breed specific legislation and proper dog training in print and television media. (Today show, WPIX CH 11 NY, UPN 9NY, CH 12 NJ).
  • Contributor to Dog Fancy magazine. Numerous articles and main contributor to their Pit Bull issue.
  • Voted or named “Best Dog Trainer” by New Jersey Monthly, Asbury Park Press, Monmouth Health & Life and Coaster Newspapers for years.