What is the AKC’s Canine Good Citizen (CGC) and why should I get my dog tested?

Posted by: LaVonne Wilson | February 7, 2017 | Posted in Ask the Trainer, Dog Behavior, Dog Events, Dog Training

Going through a training class that focuses on (and tests for) a CGC certification is not only a great way to bond with your dog but will also give them a solid obedience education.

What is the CGC certification?
The Canine Good Citizen is a program started by the American Kennel Club (AKC) back in 1989 to reward dogs who possess good manners at home as well as in the community.
A class is taken focusing on specific criteria and then your dog is tested afterwards. Here’s what you’ll learn:
This test demonstrates that the dog will allow a friendly stranger to approach it and speak to the handler in a natural, everyday situation. The evaluator walks up to the dog and handler and greets the handler in a friendly manner, ignoring the dog. The evaluator and handler shake hands and exchange pleasantries. The dog must show no sign of resentment or shyness.

This test demonstrates that the dog will allow a friendly stranger to touch it while it is out with its handler. With the dog sitting at the handler’s side, to begin the exercise, the evaluator pets the dog on the head and body. The handler may talk to his or her dog throughout the exercise. The dog may stand in place as it is petted. The dog must not show shyness or resentment.

This practical test demonstrates that the dog will welcome being groomed and examined and will permit someone, such as a veterinarian, groomer or friend of the owner, to do so. It also demonstrates the owner’s care, concern and sense of responsibility. The evaluator inspects the dog to determine if it is clean and groomed. The dog must appear to be in healthy condition (i.e., proper weight, clean, healthy and alert). The handler should supply the comb or brush commonly used on the dog. The evaluator then softly combs or brushes the dog, and in a natural manner, lightly examines the ears and gently picks up each front foot. It is not necessary for the dog to hold a specific position during the examination, and the handler may talk to the dog, praise it and give encouragement throughout.

This test demonstrates that the handler is in control of the dog. The dog may be on either side of the handler. The dog’s position should leave no doubt that the dog is attentive to the handler and is responding to the handler’s movements and changes of direction. The dog need not be perfectly aligned with the handler and need not sit when the handler stops. The evaluator may use a pre-plotted course or may direct the handler/dog team by issuing instructions or commands. In either case, there should be a right turn, left turn, and an about turn with at least one stop in between and another at the end. The handler may talk to the dog along the way, praise the dog, or give commands in a normal tone of voice. The handler may sit the dog at the halts if desired.

This test demonstrates that the dog can move about politely in pedestrian traffic and is under control in public places. The dog and handler walk around and pass close to several people (at least three). The dog may show some interest in the strangers but should continue to walk with the handler, without evidence of over-exuberance, shyness or resentment. The handler may talk to the dog and encourage or praise the dog throughout the test. The dog should not jump on people in the crowd or strain on the leash.

This test demonstrates that the dog has training, will respond to the handler’s commands to sit and down and will remain in the place commanded by the handler (sit or down position, whichever the handler prefers). The dog must do sit AND down on command, then the owner chooses the position for leaving the dog in the stay. Prior to this test, the dog’s leash is replaced with a line 20 feet long. The handler may take a reasonable amount of time and use more than one command to get the dog to sit and then down. The evaluator must determine if the dog has responded to the handler’s commands. The handler may not force the dog into position but may touch the dog to offer gentle guidance. When instructed by the evaluator, the handler tells the dog to stay and walks forward the length of the line, turns and returns to the dog at a natural pace. The dog must remain in the place in which it was left (it may change position) until the evaluator instructs the handler to release the dog. The dog may be released from the front or the side.

This test demonstrates that the dog will come when called by the handler. The handler will walk 10 feet from the dog, turn to face the dog, and call the dog. The handler may use encouragement to get the dog to come. Handlers may choose to tell dogs to “stay” or “wait” or they may simply walk away, giving no instructions to the dog.

This test demonstrates that the dog can behave politely around other dogs. Two handlers and their dogs approach each other from a distance of about 20 feet, stop, shake hands and exchange pleasantries, and continue on for about 10 feet. The dogs should show no more than casual interest in each other. Neither dog should go to the other dog or its handler.

This test demonstrates that the dog is confident at all times when faced with common distracting situations. The evaluator will select and present two distractions. Examples of distractions include dropping a chair, rolling a crate dolly past the dog, having a jogger run in front of the dog, or dropping a crutch or cane. The dog may express natural interest and curiosity and/or may appear slightly startled but should not panic, try to run away, show aggressiveness, or bark. The handler may talk to the dog and encourage or praise it throughout the exercise.

This test demonstrates that a dog can be left with a trusted person, if necessary, and will maintain training and good manners. Evaluators are encouraged to say something like, “Would you like me to watch your dog?” and then take hold of the dog’s leash. The owner will go out of sight for three minutes. The dog does not have to stay in position but should not continually bark, whine, or pace unnecessarily, or show anything stronger than mild agitation or nervousness. Evaluators may talk to the dog but should not engage in excessive talking, petting, or management attempts (e.g, “there, there, it’s alright”).
(taken directly from the AKC’s website http://www.akc.org/dog-owners/training/canine-good-citizen/training-testing/ )

What that all means?
Your dog will be a joy to live with! They’ll have better manners around people and other dogs and respond better around the house to your commands. Plus you’ll be providing training that stimulates your dog’s intelligence and makes their quality of life, as well as yours, much better!

What to do after the class and certification?
Many dog owners choose CGC training as the first step in training their dogs. Some go on to work as service dogs while others progress to activities such as agility.
For additional information check out PetMD http://www.petmd.com/dog/training/evr_dg_canine_citizen
Sign up for the next CGC class at Central Bark https://central-bark.com/site/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/CB-Spring-2017.pdf

BOO!! Some Howling Good Halloween Safety Tips

Posted by: Pack Leader | October 25, 2015 | Posted in Dog Behavior, Dog Events, Dog Health

CB PumpkinHappy Howl-O-Ween! This spooky time of year brings candy, costumes and a haunting good time but not always for our dogs. Below are some quick tips to ensure you and your dog have an enjoyable Halloween.


The best part of Halloween is dressing up in whatever costume you choose! We may enjoy dressing up but our four-legged friends may not. If you are dressing your dog up and they are not used to wearing outfits try and make it as an enjoyable experience as possible; make sure the costume doesn’t restrict movement, breathing or barking and remove the costume if they are showing sign of abnormal behavior or stress. Start trying on the costume days before Halloween, only having the costume on for 5-10 minutes at a time and praise them for cooperating with treats and lots of pets. Build the time up over a course of a week and your pet will be much more inclined to keep their costume on if they know it’s not a scary experience.


Jake-in-pumpkinTrick or treaters:

Some dogs are protective of their home and their family; making trick or treaters coming to the front door a stressful experience. If your pup isn’t comfortable with strangers regularly coming to the front door, have them rest in a crate or room away from the busy commotion. Add their favorite toy or treat (as long as they don’t need to be supervised while enjoying it) and put on some classical music or television to help them relax.

A great option for keeping their minds preoccupied would be a Kong filled with peanut butter or their favorite wet dog food.



Don’t forget chocolate is poisonous to dogs so Halloween candy needs to be put out of reach. Chocolate contains components that humans can quickly breakdown but dogs break these components down much slower which can result in a built up to a toxic level. Although non-chocolate candy may not be poisonous to dogs, the high sugar content isn’t good for them to digest. Best to get your dog their own dog-friendly Halloween treat like pumpkin dog treats.


With all the fun of Halloween comes the pranksters too; most of the pranks are harmless but keep an eye out for dangerous ones. Keep your dog (and all pets) inside the night of Halloween. For outdoor pets, bring them in a couple days prior to Halloween and a couple days following just to be safe. Check your yard the morning after Halloween for anything out of the ordinary that could be dangerous to your pet.

Decorations:bumblebee dog

Pumpkins and corn stalks are fun Halloween decorations but can be harmful for pets if ingested in large quantities leading to blockages. When decorating keep in mind of the height of your pet; tails can easily knock things over and paws can trip over electrical cords. Always keep open flames away from being knocked over, hide exposed electrical cords and monitor your pet closely when they are around decorations. <>/body>

Posted by: admin | November 13, 2013 | Posted in Dog Daycare, Dog Events

Here at Central Bark we know how much you love your furry friends! This, of course, drives everything we do every day. With the days getting shorter and the weather getting colder it’s obvious that the holiday season is upon us. The holidays are a busy time at Central Bark! Boarding become full of cute dogs enjoying a stay with us while their humans are out of town. To this end, I remind you all make your holiday boarding reservation ASAP! We know why dogs love to board at Central Bark; they sleep in  large kennels, playing in daycare all day, go to the park Monday through Friday and love our professional dog loving staff.

Grooming is another area that gets super busy during the holidays. Who doesn’t love a clean, beautifully groomed dog? Be sure to book at least a week before you need grooming services now through Christmas! Remember we do squeaky clean baths and fancy hair cuts. I bet there will be pretty bows and shiny coats.

Lastly we have scheduled for Sarah Rugh to do all our holiday photos this year. Sarah is a dog lover and a very talented photographer. We are booking photo sessions for Saturday, November 16th. It’s coming up soon! Sessions can be booked between 11am and 3pm. To book your session call (206) 325-3525.

Central Bark is going to be at Dog-O-Ween!

Posted by: admin | October 25, 2013 | Posted in Dog Daycare, Dog Events, Uncategorized

Central Bark is excited to be participating in COLA’s Dog-O-Ween yet again this year.

Come on down for a fun day of dogs in costume, pet related booths, prizes and drawings! Genesee dog park is located at 4316 S. Genesee St. http://www.seattle.gov/parks/offleash_detail.asp?id=409

Central Bark will be handing out fun items for dogs and their friends.

I will be snapping photo’s and posting them on our facebook page so be sure to look their in the days to come! https://www.facebook.com/CentralBarkWA

Hope to see you all there!

Sample a Sport – A Dog Sport

Posted by: admin | April 30, 2013 | Posted in Dog Behavior, Dog Events, Dog Training

The first 3 Mondays in May, Central Bark is offering great opportunities to try out new activities with your dog.  Each hour long workshop lets both explore a popular dog sport, no strings attached.  Dog sports are a fantastic way to focus, train, bond with, stimulate, and exercise your canine companion and they have something to offer for every unique breed, age, and physical ability.  Here are the upcoming workshops and some darn good reasons why you should try them…

Rally Obedience on May 6th – Rally-O is the new wave of basic obedience trainining: fun reward-based pratical obedience using instructive signs.  If your dog can sit, down, follow you, or turn right (any or all of the above) you are already on your way to aceing this dog sport.  All of the exercises in Rally can easily go from competition ring to sidewalk.  Rally broke the mold in that it allows you to praise and encourage your dog during competition and that the course is never the same twice, removing the predictablility and rigidness of old-school obedience.

Canine Freestyle on May 13th – This rapidly growing sport is an absolute blast to train and perform.  You simply create a routine of chosen tricks to music.  It lets your dog’s (and your) personality bloom, having no required moves to compete.  You can do whatever your dog and you feel comfortable with.  If your dog stinks at stay, then don’t stay.  If your dog loves to jump, put that on cue and tada!  If your dog wants to improvise, great, go with it.  You will never be docked for too much personality.

Nosework on May 20th – Harnessing the power of a dog’s nose is part of our ancient and magical relationship with canines.  Nosework does just that, by asking your dog to navigate a course of objects and indicate which objects are marked by a small amount of predetermined scent.  It engages your dog’s brain, provides a ton of enrichment, does wonders for focusing and calming hyperactive dogs, and is a natural to train.  Plus it welcomes dogs of all abilities (deaf, blind, handicapped dogs welcome).

Workshops are from 7:30-8:30pm.  To enroll call at 206.325.3525 or e-mail at info@central-bark.com




Bath & Brush Blowout!

Posted by: admin | January 18, 2013 | Posted in Dog Events, Dog Grooming

We are offering an exclusive bathing special for Martin Luther King Jr. Day.  Be one of the first 20 dogs in the door on Sunday January 20th and get a bath with our environmentally-friendly hypo-allergenic shampoo, a full brush-out, ear cleaning, anal gland expression, and nail trim for only $20!  Get all this for the price of a u-wash.

Doors open at 8am.  Bath & Brushes are on a first-come first-served basis.  Only the first 20 dogs will be accepted.*

*The Bath & Brush Blowout does not include any specialty shampoos, products, hair trimming or shaving.  Daycare charges apply for doggie daycare visitors.

Capture the Cute Contest

Posted by: admin | September 4, 2012 | Posted in Dog Events, Uncategorized

We asked you to send in pictures or your dog doing something cute.  We got a fantastic response and so many adorable photos that we had to form a panel of cuteness judges to evaluate the submissions.

Well the judeges have made their decision.  We have a winner!  Stella Luna the Miniature Schnauzer has been awarded the cutest photo.  Here she is playing “Where’s Stella” in a sea of shredded toilet paper.

You can check out the other cute contestants on our facebook page here.

Furry 5K Is on It’s Way

Posted by: admin | May 21, 2012 | Posted in Dog Events, Dog Health, Uncategorized

The Furry 5K is just a few weeks away.  Join Central Bark and thousands of other dogs and their walkers to benefit the Seattle Animal Shelter.  It all happens Sunday June 10th at Seward Park in Seattle.

The race starts at 10am.  You can register online, by mail, or in person at a participating athletic stores, just make sure you sign up by June 5th.  Pledge $20 to help homeless animals or $25 to add a t-shirt.

After the race check out local pet businesses at the Pet Expo and watch silly pet tricks and awards on the main stage.

For more information visit http://www.furry5k.com  We look forward to seeing you all there!

National Pet Month Food & Toy Drive

Posted by: admin | April 4, 2012 | Posted in Dog Events

April 7th to May 7th is National Pet Month.  We honor these dates to promote responsible pet ownership, make people aware of the benefits of having companion animals, increase awareness of proffesional services for pets, and recognize the contribution working companion animals bring to our society.

To celebrate we are accepting donations to help the homeless pets at the Seattle Animal Shelter while they wait for their new homes.  They are in need of…

– Canned dog food
– Dry dog food
– Small dog treats
– Kongs – red or black
– Crates – any size

Please bring all donations to Central Bark – 838 Poplar Place South.  We will be accepting items until May 7th.  Thank you!

The Results are in for Dog Training!

Posted by: admin | February 28, 2012 | Posted in Ask the Trainer, Dog Behavior, Dog Events, Dog Training, Uncategorized

We asked what you wanted from our training program and you told us.  You wanted to brush-up on your basic manners and wished for more attention and focus from your dogs in general.  You were also interested in taking your sidekick to the next level with fun & games classes that encorporate tricks, agility, and aspects from other dog sports.

Well here it is…

Polite Greetings & No Jump – Teach your dog to sit or stand politely when greeting people.  Learn and practice techniques for greeting on walks, at home, and for visitors

– Sunday March 4th: 1 – 2pm  $10

Leash Walking & No Pull– Learn skills to walk anywhere even under distraction

– Sunday March 25th: 2 – 3pm  $10

Basic Manners – Build a strong training foundation or an obedience
refresher.  This class covers polite greetings and leash walking, attention, and basic obedience cues sit, down, stay, come, leave-it, and more.

– 4 Sundays April 15th, 22nd, 29th, & May 6th: 4 – 5pm   $80

We will have an intro to sports & games class on the agenda as well.  More details to come.  You can enroll via e-mail at info@central-bark.com or by phone at 206.325.3525  See you there!