The Importance of Puppy and Dog Training

Posted by: LaVonne Wilson | March 12, 2018 | Posted in Dog Behavior, Dog Socialization, Dog Training

When we bring a puppy or dog into our homes and lives, we are asking them to change a lot of which is natural about their existence. Certain training is absolutely necessary – like housebreaking – while some is just for fun – like teaching your dog to balance a biscuit on his nose! A well trained dog is a happier dog because a trained dog requires fewer restrictions and has more freedom.  Training is an important aspect of socializing your dog to safely interact with people and other animals. It helps increase your dog’s sociability, which is critical to their psychological health. We need to teach our dogs what rules we want them to follow to make everyone’s lives easier.

Master playing with his little golden retriever dog on the lawn


Training classes provide dog owners with the much needed skills and knowledge of dealing with common dog behaviors – starting with puppy behaviors like teething and housetraining. No matter what age your dog is, foundation training provides the basis for any activity.  Foundation training includes commands like sit, stay, come, down and heel. Once your dog is trained with basic good manners, they can join in on the fun when company comes over, when you go to the park for sports games, hikes, swims, or going to a friend’s house! If your dog is going out with you all the time, and being around new people and animals they will be a happier dog. The happier your dog is, the less likely they will have behavioral issues, which will lead to a positive, happy relationship for your life as a pet parent.


Training also equals safety! If your dog can stay and sit at the front door when it’s opened, then they won’t be dashing out every time the door is opened, potentially getting harmed along the way. Not only that, but if your dog runs out the door every time you open it, he could scare someone walking past your house and upset your neighbors. When you train your dog properly using positive training methods, you can help make life a lot safer for them. A trained dog will know to pay attention to you, as the owner, and look to you for guidance.


Training has been shown to be the single most important thing that keeps dogs in their forever home. Here at Central Bark, our dog trainers are really smart humans and use positive training methods to help your pooch learn basic manners! Contact us to set up your appointment for training lessons!

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 )

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
Sign up for the next CGC class at Central Bark

How Training Can Create a Better-Behaved Dog

Posted by: Pack Leader | November 20, 2016 | Posted in Ask the Trainer, Dog Behavior, Dog Training

They say that dogs are man’s best friend. But would you want a best friend who bit, barked, and misbehaved? A dog who isn’t trained isn’t going to make many friends, human or otherwise. For that reason, it’s extremely important to put forth the effort to teach your dog to behave correctly. Whether you choose to hire out for Seattle dog training or handle things yourself, here are a few tips and tricks to ensure that your dog cultivates some manners. (more…)

Why Take Your Puppy to a Dog Training Workshop

Posted by: Pack Leader | May 18, 2016 | Posted in Dog Training

Puppy Chewing on a Book

Puppies are a lot of fun. Cute, cuddly, and playful, they are the perfect companion—until they start biting, chewing, digging, and pooping on everything they can get their little paws on. We all love older well-behaved dogs, but why can’t your puppy be that way? If you are wondering why it’s important to take your puppy to a Seattle puppy training workshop, here are 3 reasons why. (more…)

New manager here to serve you!

Posted by: admin | October 7, 2013 | Posted in Dog Daycare, Dog Grooming, Dog Training


Greeting all Central Bark blog readers and followers!
I’d like to take a moment to introduce myself, my name is Farrah Branson. I am very pleased to be the part of the Central Bark family as your newest manager.
A little about me; I bring a wealth of experience working in and managing
local dog facilities similar to Central Bark. In addition I am a
professional groomer, apprentice dog trainer and
have lots of dog handling experience. I am also an avid dog lover and I
provide foster care for local rescue dogs.
I could not be more thrilled to be joining this wonderful team of pet
professionals! I have chosen Central Bark for it’s amazing track record and
it’s high dedication to customer service. As someone who has worked in many
local dog businesses I can honestly say Central Bark is the best of the
I have a very open door, hands on management style. Please feel free to stop
in and introduce yourself! I welcome questions, ideas and any concerns.
I look forward to meeting all of you and getting to know your beloved dogs!
I will be updating our blog and our Facebook page I will be
writing fun dog related stories, new health advancements and training tips.
‘A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves
-Josh Billings
Have a lovely day,

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




Ask the Trainer: Excessive Barking

Posted by: admin | June 5, 2012 | Posted in Ask the Trainer, Dog Behavior, Dog Health, Dog Training

QMy dog barks all the time.  I have tried spray bottles, vinegar, and collars but nothing seems to work in the long run.  What do I do?

A: Dogs bark for many reasons: boredom, stress relief, attention, to scare away bad things, and many more.  I think the one thing all these barky dogs can agree on is that they bark because they’re dogs.  Barking is a totally natural behavior in dogs.  It only becomes a problem when it doesn’t fit into the requirements for human living.  Here are some questions to ask if you are having trouble with barking.

1)  Are all of Fido’s needs being met?  Is your dog getting adequate exercise, attention, mental stimulation, and are their housing and feeding requirements being met?  Remember, your dogs needs are determined by your dog and your dog alone.  An active 2 year old Lab needs more exercise and mental stimulation than a 7 year old Cavalier.  If those needs are not being met, then there’s your barking problem.

2)  Is your dog getting “Doggy Time”?  Dogs have to have an outlet for their doggy behaviors.  They have to dig, bark, chew, play and do zoomies somewhere.  If you don’t give them appropriate outlets for their doggy behaviors, they will find inappropriate ones.

So what do we do now?  15 minutes of hard exercise and 2 minutes of training a day goes a really long way towards making most companion dogs happy.  Putting naughty dog behaviors on cue goes even further.  You can put barking, crazy running, digging, and much more on cue.

  1. Simply say “Bark”
  2. Prompt your dog to bark by ringing the doorbell or doing some other bark-inducing behavior
  3. Tell them what a great ferocious watch dog they are
  4. Get them to “Shush” by prompting them into a sit with a food treat
  5. Praise them for being a wonderful quiet dog

Now you have a happy fulfilled dog that only barks on cue!


Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Posted by: admin | March 17, 2012 | Posted in Dog Training

Here is the winner of our Leprechaun Photo Contest – Cooper!

When Cooper is not spreading his Irish charm as a Leprechaun, he is a Yellow Labrador Retriever.

Cooper’s favorite things are: food (of course), car rides, going anyplace where he can meet people, Maymoor dog park, street fairs, dressing up, sniffing new smells, and he loves his over-sized comfy crate – with removed door.

His dislikes are: cats, getting shots in his nose, and the blow dryer.

What his people have to say about him: Cooper if a wonderful sweet dog who has a great smile. He is very laid-back and very tolerant of almost everything. Cooper will be your best friend for the smallest piece of food. We also love his goofy personality, he still has a puppy brain in an adult body (he turns 7 tomorrow). He loves all people and other dogs, and they all love him back. We are always amazed when we meet someone who met him a year ago and still remembers him.

Congratulations to Cooper and have a Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Ask the Trainer: Recalls

Posted by: admin | March 15, 2012 | Posted in Ask the Trainer, Dog Training

Our little terrier mix Sophie is a great dog but she doesn’t always come when called.  We have been though basic training but she still ignores us.  What can we do to make her recall more reliable?

This is a great question and one I love to answer!  Emergency recalls are easy and fun to train and very effective if you follow a few simple rules.

What is an emergency recall?  I use the term “emergency” because I train a recall specifically in case I need to call my dogs out of some dangerous situation.  I need them to turn and fly back to me immediately.  I also need to be able to catch and leash them when they return.

Are there non-emergency recalls?  Absolutely!  I train a formal obedience “Front” for my competition dogs and I use a casual leg pat to let my dogs know that I am changing directions or pace and they need to pay attention.

Here’s how you train it…

Step 1.  Call your dog loudly once “Fido COME!”

Step 2. Reward your dog for atleast 5 seconds.

Step 3.  Repeat once every few days in different places.

The rules to keep your dog coming…

Always reward.  I like to continue rewarding for my emergency recalls to keep the behavior strong.  Use different toys, treats, and games.  Switch it up to keep it interesting.

Never punish.  Always calling your dog for a nail trim, to leave the dog park, or go in the dreaded crate are all great ways to make your dog run away from you when it hears the word “come”.

Rewards should be engaging.  Playing tug, tossing treats up for your dog to catch, or pulling out a spoonful or wet dog food are all ways to get your dog to stay with you, not just check-in and then disappear off again.

Now you’re on your way to an amazing emergency recall.  Good luck and happy training!

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 or by phone at 206.325.3525  See you there!