New MRI Dog

New MRI Dog

Meet Emily Chapman and her Australian Shepherd, Will. Emily and Will are members of The Dog Project’s Foxtrot group. More importantly, Will is also our newest MRI Dog! Emily worked diligently for several months to condition Will to the MRI variables of the steps, enclosure, noise, and vibrations. Concurrently, Emily shaped Will to perform a motionless down-stay within a Dog Star Technologies chinrest inserted within a Siemens human neck coil. By the time Emily and […]

Mico Demonstrates His Intermediate Agility Skills

Mico Demonstrates His Intermediate Agility Skills

If you compare the Intermediate Agility video below to the Oct 18 Beginner Agility post, you will immediately see that Mico has made great progress in his agility skills.  Similarly, Bill has improved tremendously in his handling skills. Upon graduation from Beginner Agility we expect dogs to achieve proficiency in all obstacles, except the teeter and weave poles.  As you can see from this video, Mico has superb teeter.  He is highly controlled and confident […]

A Happy Trainer Leads to a Happy Well-Trained Dog

A Happy Trainer Leads to a Happy Well-Trained Dog

CPT Trainer Karen Smalley poses with Luci, owned by Randy and Tami Arrowood.  Luci is enrolled in a Beginner Obedience class taught by Karen at CPT’s spacious Sandy Springs Training Center.   (Sandy Springs, GA)   (Atlanta, GA)

Tiki Learning

Tiki Learning

Our upcoming canine fMRI study, nicknamed “Tiki Learning,” evaluates the canine cognitive process upon exposure to visual stimuli. In the Tiki Learning experiment, while in the scanner the dogs are randomly exposed to two objects that they have not previously observed. After one object the dog receives a treat, whereas nothing noteworthy occurs subsequent to observing the second object. To enhance visual discrimination, the two objects have salient differences in size, color, shape, and texture. […]

The Dog Project Prepares a New Class of MRI Dogs

The Dog Project Prepares a New Class of MRI Dogs

The Dog Project, the first research team to successfully train any non-human animal to take an MRI without sedation or restraints, is now preparing its Echo Team of MRI Dogs.  After graduating the Alpha, Bravo, Charlie, and Delta teams in Atlanta; scanning 50 dogs on the campus of the University of California, Berkeley; receiving funding from the Office of Naval Research (ONR); creating Dog Star Technologies, LLC, a company co-owned by CPT’s Mark Spivak and […]

CPT’s Mark Spivak Attends ICLE Seminar on Animal Law

CPT’s Mark Spivak Attends ICLE Seminar on Animal Law

On Thursday, November 3, CPT’s Mark Spivak attended the Institute for Continuing Legal Education (ICLE) seminar on Animal Law held at the State Bar of Georgia building in Atlanta.   The seminar featured multiple speakers and materials relevant to Mark’s respected work as an expert witness in civil and criminal cases containing issues related to animal training or behavior. The speakers included: Claudine Wilkins, JD, of Animal Law Source, who spoke about dog bite liability, the […]

Franchesca and Nissa Join the CPT Hands-On Service Dog Program

Franchesca and Nissa Join the CPT Hands-On Service Dog Program

Meet Franchesca and Nissa, two recent clients of CPT’s Hands-On Service Dog Program.  CPT’s Service Dog Program offers the benefits of flexible customization, where the dog learns behaviors and tasks optimally suited to each disabled client’s unique needs.  Moreover, CPT can locate and evaluate a puppy or adult dog optimal for the program or train an existing pet.  The flexibility and customization is furthered by enabling clients to choose from our Board Training Program, where […]

CPT’s Mark Spivak Appears on WSB News

CPT’s Mark Spivak Appears on WSB News

CPT’s Mark Spivak appeared on a 2-part WSB news feature broadcast on Thursday, October 27 during both the 5 pm and 6 pm newscasts. The feature discussed concerns about the increasing trend of “fake service animals.” Mark was interviewed by WSB for his expertise in service dog training and legislation. During the lengthy interview with WSB’s producer, Mark discussed federal and state laws regulating service and emotional support animals, service dog training, and his experiences […]

Beginner Agility Graduation

Beginner Agility Graduation

Beginner Agility teaches dogs to confidently and competently navigate the sanctioned agility obstacles, including: • single, double, and triple bar jumps, • panel jumps, • winged and wingless jumps, • broad jumps, • the tire jump, • the open tunnel, • the closed tunnel (chute), • the pause table, • the a-frame, • the dog walk, • the teeter, and • weave poles. Typically, we do not include multiple obstacle courses until midway into the […]

CPT Volunteers at DogFest

CPT Volunteers at DogFest

CPT Office Representative Brittny Nutt and CPT Trainer Patricia King volunteered at the Canine Companions for Independence (CCI) fundraising event DogFest. Brittny operated the “Paw Art” booth and Patricia and her CCI release dog, Kady, participated in the Pet Parade. CPT has operated the CCI Atlanta Chapter Puppy Raiser Classes for the last 14 years and CPT President Mark Spivak has worked on service dog research projects via his company Dog Star Technologies. DogFest, which […]

Teaching Holland to Walk on Leash

Teaching Holland to Walk on Leash

Holland’s owners communicated that while walked in the neighborhood Holland was regularly pulling on leash. In addition, when walked amidst trucks or congested car traffic on busier collector streets Holland exhibited fearful behavior, whereby she would retreat opposite the vehicular traffic or stiffen and stubbornly refuse to move. The clients wanted the problem solved quickly so that both the humans in the household and Holland would receive more joy from their walks. Since Holland is […]

It Takes Strong Legs to Train Strong Dogs

It Takes Strong Legs to Train Strong Dogs

CPT Trainer Mark Spivak Leg Pressing 1170 pounds for 8 reps. Strong dogs become cooperative dogs in Mark’s hands. Let’s see our competitors match that! (Alpharetta, GA) (Johns Creek, GA)

Annabelle Feeding Her Puppies

Annabelle Feeding Her Puppies

Below is an excellent video of Annabelle feeding her litter of 12 puppies. What an incredible mother! The puppies are nearly 8 weeks old. However, Annabelle remains patient as all 12, plus one from another litter, strive to obtain access. The average litter size for all breeds of domestic dog is 5.5 puppies. However, the average size of a litter depends upon the breed. Smaller breeds tend to have smaller litters, usually 3 to 4 […]

Grace- Dog Reactive No Longer

Grace- Dog Reactive No Longer

Grace is a 4.5 year old, spayed, female German Shepherd Dog that Brenda has owned since Grace was a 7-week old puppy. When Brenda first contacted CPT, she stated that when on-leash Grace was reactively lunging at 75% of the neighborhood dogs she visually encountered while on a walk and when off-leash Grace bit her daughter’s Papillon.   Grace was behaving reactively despite completing both group and private training with an inferior training company. Due to […]

CPT and Emory University Want You!

CPT and Emory University Want You!

The CPT-Emory Dog Project is Getting Set for Another Round of Tryouts! The CPT-Emory Dog Project Team has appeared on 60 Minutes, Nova, ABC World News Tonight, and CBS This Morning, been covered by the LA Times, Washington Post, and Atlanta Journal Constitution, and been featured in the websites of Time Magazine, Psychology Today, and Rolling Stone.  Our troupe of highly trained “MRI dogs” has momentously improved scientific understanding of canine cognition, emotions, sensory perception, […]

CPT Trainer Patricia King Appears In National Interview for Sharecare.com

CPT Trainer Patricia King Appears In National Interview for Sharecare.com

Sharecare.com is a national health and wellness resource and information website that includes platforms for both personalized and general health programs and information.  The company was founded in 2010 by Jeff Arnold, the creator of WebMD and television’s Dr. Oz (Mehmet Oz) in collaboration with several large corporate investors:  Harpo Studios, Sony Pictures Television, and Discovery Communications. Sharecare is best known for its RealAge Test, but also offers several other products and programs for website […]

The Importance of Dog and Litter Evaluations

The Importance of Dog and Litter Evaluations

Evaluations for Service Dog Programs When CPT designs a client’s service dog program the first step is a Phase I- Introductory Meeting. During the Meeting, we: a) obtain medical details regarding the recipient’s disability, b) discuss the limitations and effects posed by the disability, c) outline the overall goals and objectives of the program, d) specify the behaviors requested of the dog, so that the dog provides the greatest benefit to the recipient, e) design […]

The Music of Quebec City

The Music of Quebec City

Quebec City is a great place to live or visit during the summer months.  Quebecois become festive while relishing the warm weather months.  Festivals abound that feature street entertainers, comedians, and/or live bands.  Moreover, as in Montreal, the entertainers are highly talented and the music covers multiple genres.  We saw jazz, reggae, rock, and African bands in settings that were more intimate that what we experienced in Montreal.   The smaller outdoor amphitheaters featured phenomenal […]

CPT Visits Quebec City, Canada

CPT Visits Quebec City, Canada

During late July CPT traveled to the province of Quebec, Canada. CPT Head Trainer Mark Spivak, in a quest to expand CPT and to find multiple locations to reside and work, scheduled a 10-day visit that included both Montreal and Quebec City. A previous CPT article described our business interest in Montreal and the sites we observed in Montreal. In this article we will focus on the history, geography, climate, demographics, and economy of Quebec […]

The Festivals and Music of Montreal

The Festivals and Music of Montreal

Montreal is a happening city during the summer months.  Festivals abound that feature street entertainers, comedians, hypnotists, and live bands every night of the week.  Moreover, the entertainers are highly talented and the music covers multiple genres.  We saw jazz, reggae, rock, African, and disco bands that excited packed outdoor crowds on outstanding stages that featured phenomenal sound, excellent views, and incredible lighting.  And the best part is that the majority of the shows are […]

CPT Visits Montreal

CPT Visits Montreal

During late July CPT traveled to Montreal, Canada. CPT Chief Executive and Head Trainer Mark Spivak, in a quest to expand CPT and to find multiple locations to reside and work so that he can experience optimal weather throughout the year, scheduled a 10-day jaunt that included both Montreal and Quebec City. Montreal quickly became one of Mark’s favorite cities, if not his most favorite city. In summary, Mark found Montreal to be much like […]

Clarice The Great Pyrenees Therapy Dog

Clarice The Great Pyrenees Therapy Dog

Dr. Ellis Dixon is benefiting from CPT’s private lesson program in preparing his rescue Great Pyrenees, Clarice, to become a full-time therapy dog at Egleston Children’s Hospital.  Dr. Dixon is a sedation physician.  Unfortunately, the application of sedatives, as well as the forthcoming medical procedure, often causes noticeable anxiety to Egleston’s pediatric patients.  Therefore, Dr. Dixon plans for Clarice to function as a canine pre-sedative that relaxes his juvenile patients. Clarice has learned all her […]

Sarah Ann Using Play Training to Teach Kona Heeling

Sarah Ann Using Play Training to Teach Kona Heeling

Sarah Ann requested an outdoor private lesson with CPT Head Trainer Mark Spivak. Sarah’s objectives were teaching her 12-month old, female Doberman, Kona, how to: 1) attention heel, 2) stay more reliably in either the sit or down position, 3) come more responsively from a distance amidst distractions, and 4) drop her toy on command. Since Kona exhibited very high play drive and comparatively low food drive, we emphasized play training. In addition, since Kona […]

Jenna and Yoshi

Jenna and Yoshi

Jenna loves her 8-week old Labradoodle Yoshi. However, she would also love him to quickly become housebroken and to learn proper household manners. Therefore, she contacted CPT for an in-home private lesson on housebreaking, chewing, mouthing, jumping, socialization with the older household dogs, general socialization, and imprint obedience. We covered a lot in our 2-hour appointment. Jenna found the time highly worthwhile, which explains her smile. (Norcross, GA)

Puppies Galore- A Nighttime Litter Evaluation

Puppies Galore- A Nighttime Litter Evaluation

Litter evaluations are best when puppies are approximately 7.5 weeks of age. However, with a packed schedule we couldn’t visit during the day. No problem. We evaluated the puppies at night, which ended up much better, as they were much more active during the cool evening temperatures than during the daytime heat. We started at about 9:30 pm and had so much fun that we stayed until almost midnight.   We owe a big thanks […]

Intermediate Agility Is Great Fun for People and Dogs!

Intermediate Agility Is Great Fun for People and Dogs!

Beginner Agility teaches dogs confidence and precision with each of the agility obstacles- broad jumps, single bar jumps, double bar jumps, triple bar jumps, winged jumps, tire jump, open tunnel, closed tunnel (chute), pause table, a-frame, dog walk, teeter, and weave poles.  Beginner agility is more a class for the dog than the human. However, Intermediate Agility is a communication class for people and both a communication and obedience class for dogs.  The humans learn […]

Kristin and Dani Learn Heeling During Their Private Lesson

Kristin and Dani Learn Heeling During Their Private Lesson

Kristin came to CPT for a private lesson because her Vizsla, Dani, was reacting to neighborhood dogs when walked on leash.  During the history and evaluation stage of the appointment, CPT’s Mark Spivak observed that Dani did not understand heel position, often pulled Kristin, and remained more attentive to distractions than to Kristen.  However, with a change in equipment and CPT’s guidance and tutelage, watch how quickly Dani learned to heel attentively on a loose leash.  […]

Lulu- A Dog Reactivity Case Study

Lulu- A Dog Reactivity Case Study

Lulu, a 7-month old Pug/Jack Russell Terrier, was adopted 6 weeks before from the Atlanta Humane Society.  Since Lulu’s adoption she exhibited severe reactivity on-leash when meeting unfamiliar people or dogs.  Her hackles would conspicuously rise, she would bark incessantly, and she would pull tenaciously on the leash.  Therefore, while on walks the owners were hesitant to allow her to approach neighborhood dogs and they avoided any off-leash interaction.  Yet, Lulu immediately got along well […]

Argus and Angie

Argus and Angie

To complete a feature article, CPT needed some video of vigorous canine play.  After consulting with CPT Trainer Alex Collier, we agreed that video of her Boxer, Angie, playing with a client’s Doberman, Argus, should provide us plentiful quality video of chase, boxing, tug, and keep-away games. We hope you enjoy the video and the full-length article linked in the first sentence.  

Psychiatric Service Dog Hank

Psychiatric Service Dog Hank

Hank is a 2-year old, male Rottweiler mix.  After 4.5-months of intensive training he is now also a highly proficient psychiatric service dog. Hank services a teenage recipient in Tennessee, who suffers from severe schizophrenia that includes visual and auditory hallucinations.  Hank mitigates the limitations and effects of her psychiatric disability by performing specialized behaviors that reduce the frequency, severity, duration, and impact of her hallucinations.  When Hank perceives a forthcoming hallucination, he automatically performs […]

CPT Hosts CCI Regional Meeting

CPT Hosts CCI Regional Meeting

CPT Trainer Patricia King recently hosted the Canine Companions for Independence (CCI)- Atlanta Chapter’s meeting with CCI’s Southeast Regional Directors and Trainers.  The meeting, which featured speakers from CCI’s management and training staff, provided excellent information and new acquaintances. CPT is glad to provided assistance to CCI by providing discounted classes to CCI’s volunteers and providing complementary access to the CPT Training Center for CCI events.  Although both organizations train service dogs, CCI can better […]

CPT Visits San Diego

CPT Visits San Diego

CPT recently traveled to San Diego, CA for a business meeting. While visiting, CPT’s Mark Spivak took a 9-mile run that doubled as a city tour for photographing what is often labeled “America’s finest city.” During free time Mark also visited the Midway Museum, ate outstanding seafood and authentic Mexican food, and had a terrific pasta dish in San Diego’s Little Italy. San Diego is situated on the shores of the Pacific Ocean, about 2 […]

CPT Visits Phoenix, Arizona

CPT Visits Phoenix, Arizona

CPT recently visited Phoenix, Arizona for a business meeting. While visiting Phoenix, CPT’s Mark Spivak also photographed native cacti, climbed Camelback Mountain, ran through the campus of Arizona State University, and visited the incredible Museum of Musical Instruments. Phoenix is Arizona’s largest city and the state capital. Phoenix has a population of 1.56 million people, which makes Phoenix the most populated state capital in the country and the only state capital with more than a […]

CPT Visits the Grand Canyon

CPT Visits the Grand Canyon

While in Phoenix for a business meeting, CPT seized an opportunity to visit The Grand Canyon. When visiting the area, CPT flew to Phoenix, drove to Sedona, drove to The Grand Canyon, and then returned to Phoenix for the meeting. Sedona is a 2-hour drive north from Phoenix. The south rim of The Grand Canyon is a 2-hour drive north from Sedona.   Phoenix is a direct 3.5-hour drive south from The Grand Canyon and takes […]

CPT Visits Sedona, Arizona

CPT Visits Sedona, Arizona

While in Phoenix for a business meeting, CPT also made time to visit Sedona, Arizona. Sedona, which lies in the Verde Valley area of Arizona, is famous for the prevalence and beauty of its red sandstone formations. Yet, the history of Sedona and recent commercial development have added even more to the town’s allure. Before the arrival of industrialized civilization, the Verde Valley was home to the Yavapai and Apache tribes. However, in 1875, under […]

Carly and Checkers Win Gold!

Carly and Checkers Win Gold!

CPT client Carly Gill and her Rat Terrier, Checkers, recently achieved a first place finish in the New Rattitude Rat Terrier Jamboree Tricks Contest. In a very nice email, Carly credited her victory to the instruction she received in CPT’s group classes. Checkers acquired excellent basic obedience skills during the classes. In addition, Carly learned operant conditioning and behavior shaping principles that aided her in teaching Checkers the tricks Shake, High Five, Roll, Dance, and […]

Beginner Agility Graduation

Beginner Agility Graduation

A happy CPT Beginner Agility graduation! What an awesome group! The class consisted of sizes from a Pomeranian to a standard Goldendoodle and ages from 9 months to 10 years- and the old guy held his own. Beginner Agility introduces dogs to all the agility obstacles, including the broad jump, single-bar jump, double-bar jump, triple-bar jump, winged jump, tire jump, pause table, open tunnel, closed tunnel (chute), a-frame, dogwalk, teeter, and weave poles. Upon graduation, […]

Shadow- A Behavior Modification Story

Shadow- A Behavior Modification Story

Shadow’s owner contacted CPT due to concerns regarding aggressive posturing between Shadow and persons and dogs residing within the household. The behavior became prevalent after Shadow’s owner relocated from South Dakota to Hall County, GA. To ease the financial burden of her move, Shadow’s owner moved-in with her sister, her sister’s adult son, her sister’s adult daughter, her sister’s young grandson, and her sister’s 5 dogs. Shadow did not acclimate well to the relocation and […]

Molly the German Shepherd- A Future Service Dog

Molly the German Shepherd- A Future Service Dog

Molly is just 8 weeks of age. Yet, Molly is not just any German Shepherd puppy. Molly is a future service dog that has a long and fulfilling life ahead of her. CPT selected Molly from an outstanding litter of German Shepherds bred in North Georgia. She excelled in the Friendliness, Restraint, Dominance, Tolerance, Energy, and Trainability criteria inherent to the CPT Puppy Test. Now that she is 8 weeks of age she is about […]

Winston- the Story of a Service Dog in the Making

Winston- the Story of a Service Dog in the Making

Winston is an 8-week old, male Labradoodle that is starting his journey to become a service animal for a CPT client in Texas. The client is a teenage female who suffers from seizure disorder and complex regional pain syndrome. In October, we completed a Phase I Introductory Interview that designed customized specifications for the client’s program. The Phase Interview discusses: 1) medical details regarding the client’s disability, 2) the limitations and effects posed by the […]

Experiment 8- Jealousy

Experiment 8- Jealousy

Many dog owners insist that their dogs behave anxiously, cloyingly, or aggressively due to jealousy emanating from owner attention provided to something else (e.g., another person, the phone, the newspaper, et al.), but especially attention given to another dog. The Dog Project responded by designing Experiment 8- Jealousy, which examined the brain responses of subject MRI-trained dogs while their owners ignored them and instead gave treats to an inanimate dog. The experiment consisted of three […]

CCI Puppy Raiser Class

CCI Puppy Raiser Class

In addition to operating our own service dog program, CPT also operates the Puppy Raiser Classes for the Atlanta Chapter of Canine Companions for Independence (CCI).  CCI is the nation’s largest and most respected nonprofit service dog organization. CCI breeds puppies from specially selected sires and dams.  The breeding dogs are either Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers, or Lab/Golden mixes of outstanding temperament for service dog applications.  The resultant puppies are first or second generation Lab/Golden […]

Our Last Research Trip to California

Our Last Research Trip to California

CPT’s Mark Spivak is also co-owner of Dog Star Technologies, LLC.  DST conducts canine neuroscience research and develops canine performance and behavioral products. Recently, the DST research team completed its final data acquisition trip at the University of California, Berkeley.  During the past year, DST has visited UC Berkeley’s research scanner to collect fMRI data on 50 prospective Canine Companions for Independence (CCI) service dogs.  The data is the major part of a 2-year, $1 […]

Dog and Litter Evaluation Services

Dog and Litter Evaluation Services

Finding a dog that is an optimal match for your household and lifestyle is a key to maximizing the joy of your pet-owning experience. Fortunately, CPT has terrific dog and litter evaluation services that boost the probability that the dog or puppy you select will be the ideal dog for you and your family. For more information on CPT’s dog and puppy selection processes, please read the articles entitled “Selecting the Right Dog” contained within […]

Jaildogs Excelling at Their MRI Training

Jaildogs Excelling at Their MRI Training

As detailed in the November 19, 2015 CPT News post, entitled “CPT Participates in Gwinnett Jaildogs Program,” since early October 2015 CPT has been educating prisoners how to train rescue dogs to participate in the The Dog Project’s MRI program. The goal of CPT’s participation is threefold:

Experiment 9: Olfaction and Cross-Sensory Interactions

Experiment 9:  Olfaction and Cross-Sensory Interactions

The Dog Project is moving forward with some new and exciting experiments. Presently, our local dogs are learning scent discrimination for an upcoming study, titled Experiment 9- Olfaction and Cross-Sensory Interactions.

CPT and CCI

CPT and CCI

In addition, CPT has maintained a close to 15-year relationship with Canine Companions for Independence (CCI), the nation’s largest and most respected nonprofit service dog organization. CPT has operated CCI’s Atlanta Puppy Raiser Classes for more than 14 years. And via Dog Star Technologies, a company co-owned by CPT President Mark Spivak and Emory University neuroscience professor Gregory Berns, CPT participates in bi-coastal research that studies methodologies for improving the identification and training of service […]

CPT Participates in Gwinnett Jaildogs Program

CPT Participates in Gwinnett Jaildogs Program

On October 14, October 28, and November 19, CPT President and Head Trainer Mark Spivak visited the Gwinnett Jail to instruct prisoners on proper dog training techniques to better prepare rescue dogs for adoption into permanent homes and for participation in the Office of Naval Research (ONR) sponsored CPT/Emory fMRI projects.

Murphy Learns to be Calm Around Unfamiliar Dogs

Murphy Learns to be Calm Around Unfamiliar Dogs

If you have a dog that is reactive to people or dogs when on-leash, we encourage you to contact CPT. A properly designed and implemented behavior modification program can quickly work wonders in creating a dog that is a much more pleasant walking companion. As a result, you will become happier with your dog and your dog will have a happier quality of life, since you will likely walk him/her more frequently- without sneers, grimaces, […]

CPT and Emory Want You- And Your Dog- To Tryout for Our fMRI Research Team

CPT and Emory Want You- And Your Dog- To Tryout for Our fMRI Research Team

CPT and the Emory Canine Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory are enrolling a new team of dogs for our safe, noninvasive, fun, and exciting fMRI and behavioral research projects. The projects, which are funded by the Office of Naval Research (ONR) examine canine cognition, emotions, sensory perception, receptive communication, and inhibitory control. In addition, the team plans upcoming studies on reward systems and jealousy relevant to improving the training protocols for pet owners and studies on olfaction […]

Our Research Trip To California- The Fun Stuff

Our Research Trip To California- The Fun Stuff

Over the past 1.5 years, CPT Head Trainer and Dog Star Technologies co-founder Mark Spivak has traveled to California bi-monthly to complete a Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) contracted canine neuroimaging project that uses fMRI biomarkers to better identify high-potential service dog candidates.  The project incorporates leading-edge science to improve dog training technology. Mark and the team work hard during their business trips.  However, all work and no play makes Mark a dull dog […]

Our Research Trip To California- The Work Stuff

Our Research Trip To California- The Work Stuff

Over the past 1.5 years, CPT Head Trainer and Dog Star Technologies co-founder Mark Spivak has traveled to California bi-monthly to complete a Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) contracted canine neuroimaging project that uses fMRI biomarkers to better identify high-potential service dog candidates.  The project incorporates leading-edge science to improve dog training technology. Mark and the team work hard during their business trips.  The research team is comprised of multiple top caliber organizations and […]

Sylvie Completes Her Service Dog Training

Sylvie Completes Her Service Dog Training

Sylvie is a 3.5 year old, spayed, female Standard Poodle. Her owner, Charlotte, suffers from a condition called neurocardiogenic syncope (NCS). The condition occurs when an identifiable trigger, such as sudden standing, rapid movement, long period stationary positioning, dehydration, fatigue, stress, or sometimes no identifiable trigger (idiopathic), elicits an autonomic brain stem response that affects neurostimulation of the vagus nerve. One of the functions of the vagus nerve is controlling parasympathetic a-v node innervation of […]

Fezzik and Kody

Fezzik and Kody

Fezzik the Great Dane was banned from day care for “play biting too hard and aggressively for his age,” which the day care operator attributed to the breeder removing him from his mother and littermates a few days prior to 8 weeks of age. His owner was concerned by the day care operator’s actions and remarks. Therefore, she scheduled a behavioral observation at CPT when Fezzik was approximately 12 weeks of age.

CPT Considering Expansion- Washington, DC Metro Area

CPT Considering Expansion- Washington, DC Metro Area

The Washington, DC metro area consists of the nation’s capital city, along with neighboring land in northern Virginia (15 neighboring counties and independent cities), southern Maryland (5 counties) and the far eastern corner of West Virginia (1 county).

CPT Considering Westward Expansion- Park City, Utah

CPT Considering Westward Expansion- Park City, Utah

Due to the city’s proximity to Salt Lake and the income level and celebrity of many of its residents and guests, Park City poses an interesting location for expansion. While visiting Park City, CPT’s Mark Spivak engaged in a 16.2 mile combined trail run and hike that started at 7,300 feet elevation and climbed an additional 1,300 feet. Mark also visited a restaurant in Deer Valley and one in Park City during his brief stay.

CPT Considering Westward Expansion- Salt Lake City, Utah

CPT Considering Westward Expansion- Salt Lake City, Utah

During our trip, we first scouted the downtown, the city’s neighborhoods, and some industrial areas. Then, we took time to tour the Great Salt Lake, Temple Square, City Creek Center, and the University of Utah. We didn’t stay long at the Great Salt Lake. There really wasn’t much to see. Moreover, the ubiquitous disgusting odor that originates from the salt content and bacteria from plant and animal decay made the Lake a brief and unpleasant […]

CPT Considering Westward Expansion- Wyoming

CPT Considering Westward Expansion- Wyoming

While exploring Jackson and its business opportunities, Mark and Lizzy also took time to visit the town square, eat an outstanding locally grown meal, and go horseback riding. On the way back to Idaho, Mark and Lizzy visited the Soda Springs Geyser, the nation’s largest capped geyser.

CPT Considering Westward Expansion- Idaho

CPT Considering Westward Expansion- Idaho

Just as America expanded west, CPT is considering westward expansion. CPT Head Trainer Mark Spivak recently completed a 3-state trip to Idaho, Wyoming, and Utah. The genesis to explore the west was inspired by former CPT trainer extraordinaire Elizabeth “Lizzy” Zuccala, who relocated to southern Idaho to live amongst fresh air, wildlife, mountains, and traffic-free roads.

Distraction Down-Stays During The CCI Puppy Raiser Class

Distraction Down-Stays During The CCI Puppy Raiser Class

During the Friday morning CCI Puppy Raiser Class we challenged the young dogs by placing them in a group down stay while Kady retrieved a Kong. Service dogs must remain calm, composed, confident, cooperative, and focused on task regardless of the environment and regardless of the distractions or conditions present within the environment. The distraction stay task is difficult, especially given the age of the dogs. However, every puppy remained in position. Awesome!!

CPT Training a Deaf Dog

CPT Training a Deaf Dog

To compound the difficulty in designing his lesson plan, T-Bone is deaf. Therefore, due to a busy work schedule and the complexity of his training, our client opted for CPT’s board training program. To compensate for T-Bone’s hearing impairment it is essential that we start the board training process with relationship building. Before we commence intense training, we need T-Bone to trust the trainer, to feel secure amidst the trainer, and to receive indisputable enjoyment […]

CPT Gives Back to the Community

CPT Gives Back to the Community

CPT strongly supports Canine Companions for Independence (CCI), the nation’s largest and most respected nonprofit service dog organization. For the past 13 years CPT Trainer Patricia King has operated CCI’s Atlanta puppy raiser classes. In addition, CPT provides its Sandy Springs Training Center at no charge to CCI so that CCI has ample space to hold quarterly meetings and special training events.

Watch a Structural MRI of a Service Dog- Very Cool!

Watch a Structural MRI of a Service Dog- Very Cool!

Dog Star Technologies travels to California every 2 – 3 months to collect data for a 2-year, $1 million study of service dogs. The data acquisition includes results from interactive ball and tug sensors. DST collects the sensor data at the Canine Companions for Independence (CCI) headquarters campus in Santa Rosa, CA. Then, the team travels to the University of California, Berkeley to use the research MRI at the Li Ka Shing Center for Biomedical […]

How to Improve Your Child’s Birthday Party!

How to Improve Your Child’s Birthday Party!

On June 20, 2015, CPT Trainer Karen Smalley and her Border Collie, Bodhi, performed at a Dunwoody 6-year old’s birthday party. The child told her mother that she wanted “to be a dog trainer,” which prompted the mom to contact CPT.

Tips for Relieving Your Dog’s Stress with Dog Training

Tips for Relieving Your Dog’s Stress with Dog Training

Choosing dog training is one way you can help your dog to cope with stress. Tackling this issue by yourself can actually just add on to the stress that both you and your dog are experiencing. Dog training can help you to better identify the cause of the stress. Then, you can not only work on treating it, but also tackle the problem that is causing the stress in the first place.

Does Music Calm the Savage Beast?

Does Music Calm the Savage Beast?

Cellist extraordinaire Mary Horst brought her cello to CPT’s Intermediate Agility class to test the maxim whether music calms the savage beast- or at least an energetic agility dog.

The Dog Project: Experiment 6B- Reward Preference

The Dog Project:  Experiment 6B- Reward Preference

CPT was busy this Sunday conducting Experiment 6B- Reward Preference for The Dog Project. The experiment examines whether dogs prefer social reward (tactile contact and praise from the owner) or appetitive reward (treats). The experiment also examines whether the reward preference may vary depending upon deprivation, satiation, visual salience, or lateralization preferences, whether the optimal reward may vary randomly amongst dogs, or whether the ideal reward is correlated to the temperament profile of the dog.

Sami Griffith and Gemini Complete Their First Scans

Sami Griffith and Gemini Complete Their First Scans

New additions to The Dog Project Sami Griffith and Gemini completed their first scans. To accomplish this feat, Sami and Gemini needed to first pass a rigorous tryout that evaluated Gemini’s obedience, Sami’s handling abilities, Gemini’s socialization traits, and Gemini’s composure amidst multiple environmental variables, including stairs, narrow elevated walkways, enclosures, and loud noise.

CPT Assists Dog Star Technologies in Researching Apparel Products

CPT Assists Dog Star Technologies in Researching Apparel Products

CPT is assisting Dog Star Technologies in researching the anxiety reduction properties of several existing canine apparel products and concepts. Concepts that Dog Star wishes to study include the benefits and/or detriments of loose garments versus compression garments and the benefits and/or detriments of thermally controlled garments and weighted garments.

The Dog Project: Experiment 6- Reward Preference

The Dog Project: Experiment 6- Reward Preference

The Dog Project uses fMRI and field behavioral experiments to study canine cognition, emotion, sensory reception, receptive communication, and inhibitory control.  The Emory-CPT team of Dr. Greg Berns and Mark Spivak co-founded the project and became the first research team worldwide to obtain quality fMRI images of any non-human animal obtained without the aid of sedation or restraints.  Their accomplishments received media acclaim and funding from the Office of Naval Research (ONR), which allowed for […]

Elizabeth Resolves Her Dogs’ On-Leash Reactivity

Elizabeth Resolves Her Dogs’ On-Leash Reactivity

Elizabeth came to CPT concerned about her Goldendoodles, Cooper and Lilly. She had difficulty walking them together on-leash because of their reactivity (barking and lunging) whenever they saw another dog. In addition, Cooper frequently began guarding access to Lilly when unfamiliar dogs approached Lilly at the dog park. Consequently, Elizabeth stopped taking her dogs to the dog park and became wary when walking them on-leash.

Lili Learns Not to Bark at Dogs on the TV

Lili Learns Not to Bark at Dogs on the TV

Science aside, Linda, a CPT client, had no doubts that her 5-year old Maltese, Lili, could precisely see the television. Almost every time an animal, especially a dog or horse, appeared on the screen Lili barked aggressively at the set. Lili’s barking was so tenacious and cacophonous that Linda could not comfortably watch television if a program included an animal. Therefore, Linda called in CPT behavior modification expert Mark Spivak to solve the problem.

The Dog Project: Greg Presents to Our ONR Program Manager

The Dog Project:  Greg Presents to Our ONR Program Manager

The Canine Sciences Division of ONR has been gracious in funding The Dog Project. The Dog Project’s mission for ONR is to conduct basic foundation research on canine cognition, emotions, sensory reception, receptive communication, and inhibitory control, with a long-term strategic objective of employing the findings to better identify and train explosive detection and service dogs for military and civilian applications.

CPT Beginner Agility Graduates

CPT Beginner Agility Graduates

The CPT Beginner Agility Class familiarizes dogs and handlers with each of the agility obstacles: bar jumps, tire jump, open tunnel, closed tunnel (chute), A-frame, dogwalk, teeter, pause table, and weave poles.  At the completion of Beginner Agility participating dogs should be competent in all the listed obstacles, except for the teeter and weave poles, which usually require more time. In the Intermediate Agility Class, we then perfect the teeter and weave poles and teach […]

Sid, Judy, and Bristol- Resolving Dog-Owner Aggression

Sid, Judy, and Bristol- Resolving Dog-Owner Aggression

Bristol is a 4.5-year old, neutered, male Chow Chow. Sid and Judi owned him since he was a puppy. Historically, he has been non-aggressive with Sid and Judi, although he was at times stubborn, and he has been highly affable with guests- much more convivial than the average Chow. Therefore, Sid and Judi were surprised when Bristol recently snapped at people who tried to pet him. Sid and Judi were even more shocked when Bristol […]

Ilana and Jarro- Proud CGC Graduates

Ilana and Jarro- Proud CGC Graduates

Ilana Katz and Jarro proudly display their AKC Canine Good Citizen Certificate. Ilana and Jarro were one of 12 human-canine teams that recently graduated from a recent CPT CGC Class.

Katie and Jimmy Complete an In-Home Lesson on Housebreaking

Katie and Jimmy Complete an In-Home Lesson on Housebreaking

Katie and Jimmy, her 5 year old, neutered, male Morkie (Maltese/Yorkie), completed an in-home lesson on housebreaking. Although Jimmy is mega-cute, he pees and poops in the house about 6 – 9x per week, which is not very cute, especially for a 5-year old dog.

Is There a Correlation Between Outstanding Parenting Skills and Excellent Dog Training Aptitude?

Is There a Correlation Between Outstanding Parenting Skills and Excellent Dog Training Aptitude?

Based on this photo it appears the answer is an emphatic “Yes!” These 4 kids spent the entire Beginner Class hour in the hallway adjoining the training area happily playing games, doing homework, and getting along, without once making a peep. What a pleasure! If only all kids were like these four.

Fairy, Andrew, and Bandit Visited CPT for a Private Behavior Modification Session on Dog Aggression

Fairy, Andrew, and Bandit Visited CPT for a Private Behavior Modification Session on Dog Aggression

Fairy and her husband Rusty first contacted CPT in July 2014 regarding their then 8-month old Norwegian Elkhound littermates Smokey and Bandit. They were concerned about the dogs’ unruly household behavior, which included jumping, digging, stealing food, and bolting, their lack of adherence to obedience commands, and their pulling and apparent aggression when encountering unfamiliar dogs while walking on-leash. Fairy and Rusty completed one private lesson at CPT, then elected to convert to board training.

Success in Addressing Leash Walking Reactivity

Success in Addressing Leash Walking Reactivity

Remi brought Ngoni and Luckie to the CPT Sandy Springs Training Center to address on-leash reactivity when they observed unfamiliar dogs. In one lesson, we conditioned the dogs to a reward marker, conditioned them to the Gentle Leader, taught them how to walk on a loose leash while wearing the Gentle Leader, taught them to become more attentive to Remi and less to the environment, and then separated them so that they could work individually […]

CPT Agility Video

CPT Agility Video

Becca and Inny demonstrating the Double Jump and the Tire Jump during a CPT Advanced Agility Class. Inny is a fast, agile dog and Becca, a former Sprayberry High School soccer star, still remains fleet of foot, which is helpful when handling a dog as quick as Inny.

Young Charlie Learns to Walk Shadow- CPT In-Home Instruction

Young Charlie Learns to Walk Shadow- CPT In-Home Instruction

Larren and Charlie, age 9, participated in an in-home lesson with their Black Lab Mix, Shadow. Shadow learned how to sit, come, greet people at the door without jumping, and walk properly on a loose leash. The highlight of the session was when young Charlie walked Shadow about the neighborhood with a big smile on his face- and a nice loose leash.

CPT, Dog Star Technologies, and Georgia Tech Collaborate for Research

CPT, Dog Star Technologies, and Georgia Tech Collaborate for Research

Kady Interacts with the Tug Sensor The video shows Kady, a CCI release dog owned by CPT Trainer Patricia King, interacting with the Georgia Tech FIDO Project Tug Sensor. The tug apparatus contains a pneumatic sensor and accompanying microelectronics encapsulated by a nontoxic soft silicone exterior shell and a pseudo-fur cover. The sensor determines the bite pressure and duration of each oral contact that Kady has with the apparatus. Then, through bluetooth technology, the data […]

Who Says America Isn’t Training Scientists?

Who Says America Isn’t Training Scientists?

Who Says America Isn’t Training Scientists? The accompanying photo shows (l-r) Celeste Mason, Piper Vornholt, Ceara Byrne, and Larry Freil of the Georgia Tech Human/Animal Computer Interaction Laboratory.

Another CGC Graduate- With a Nice Story!

Another CGC Graduate- With a Nice Story!

When Steve and Brittany first contacted CPT about Shamu, their 6.5-year old Great Dane, they were worried about Shamu’s reactivity and apparent object guarding when Brittany walked Shamu in the neighborhood. They also were concerned about destructive chewing that originated from Shamu’s separation distress.

Congrats Rio on Becoming A Certified American Kennel Club Canine Good Citizen!

Congrats Rio on Becoming A Certified American Kennel Club Canine Good Citizen!

Although Rio was always a good dog, now she is a certified American Kennel Club (AKC) Canine Good Citizen. Sandra and Rio were one of 12 human-canine teams that graduated from a recent CPT CGC Class. And even with all of Sandra’s accolades as a track star for Darlington High School and Auburn University, she considers receiving Rio’s CGC certificate as one of her greatest honors.

Novel Canine Neuroscience at CPT- GA Tech Visits CPT to Test Sensor Products

Novel Canine Neuroscience at CPT- GA Tech Visits CPT to Test Sensor Products

The Georgia Tech Brain Lab’s FIDO Project team visited CPT on SU Feb 8 to work with The Dog Project dogs. The FIDO Project is participating in a 2-year canine neuroscience study coordinated by Dog Star Technologies (www.dogstartechnologies.com). As part of the study, the FIDO team is developing sensors that will aid in determining the temperament of a dog by how the dog interacts with each sensor product. Presently, there are two sensor products in […]

In-Home Training Helped Maya to Relate Better to Her Human and Canine Pack Members

In-Home Training Helped Maya to Relate Better to Her Human and Canine Pack Members

Maya is a 6-year old Australian Shepherd Mix that Carolyn has owned since Dec 2014. We worked on helping Maya to better enjoy time with Betty in the backyard, extinguishing pawing as an attention seeking behavior, Come, Sit, and Leash Walking. Carolyn and Maya both learned a lot and built a better relationship in the process.

Board Training with CPT: The Down-Stay Exercise

Board Training with CPT: The Down-Stay Exercise

Shelby the Golden and Bubba the Boxer completing down-stays while board training with CPT Trainer Megan Sinteff Jefferson. Megan provides a wonderful, bucolic multi-acre experience for the dogs to learn and play. Next time you go on vacation, don’t let your dog veg at a kennel. Board train your dog with CPT!

Dog Star Technologies Visits Berkeley, CA

Dog Star Technologies Visits Berkeley, CA

This past week Mark Spivak, Greg Berns, and Andrew Brooks of Dog Star Technologies visited the University of California, Berkeley to conduct fMRI scans of 7 dogs that recently entered the Canine Companions for Independence (CCI) adult training program. The 7 scans that occurred over the weekend of Jan 31- Feb 1 were the first of 50 total scans the group will analyze over a 2-year period.

Reducing Gracie’s Territorial Aggression

Reducing Gracie’s Territorial Aggression

Gracie, a 10-month Cane Corso, is very friendly. But, she can be an excitable territorial handful when she is behind a gate or fence or when she is on-leash in the neighborhood and sees unfamiliar people or dogs. Therefore, we worked on leadership communication, impulse control training, acclimation to the Gentle Leader, leash walking mechanics, and establishing a calm greeting protocol. There is still work to do. However, we made tangible impact after just one […]

CPT Beginner Obedience Graduates

CPT Beginner Obedience Graduates

CPT Beginner Obedience graduates: Caleb and Chip, BJ and Sophie, Catherine and Henry, Glenn and Jessie, and Debbie and Aries. They all learned a lot- and they had a lot of fun! Now, on to an Intermediate Class, where they will transition on-leash skills to off-leash proficiency.

Whatever You Can Do I Can Do Better!

Whatever You Can Do I Can Do Better!

Whatever you can do I can do better!” Emory University neuroscience professor Danny Dilks poses with Stella the Bouvier before she enters the MRI for the “Danny-Faces” experiment. Stella wears ear plugs covered by vet wrap to provide hearing protection once within the MRI. Danny wears vet wrap simply because he is well coiffed.

CPT- A Leader in Canine Neuroscience Research: The Danny Faces Experiment

CPT- A Leader in Canine Neuroscience Research:  The Danny Faces Experiment

The Danny Faces experiment is designed to identify the canine FFA (fusiform face area) and to better understand the operation of the canine FFA. The FFA is responsible for facial identification and processing. The first photo shows Kady observing non-facial stimuli. The second photo shows Kady observing facial stimuli. By analyzing brain activity that occurs exclusively upon exposure to the still photos and video of faces, as compared to the non-facial images, we can locate […]

A Successful Private Behavior Modification Lesson with CPT Training

A Successful Private Behavior Modification Lesson with CPT Training

Why is Amy smiling? Because she just completed a successful private lesson with Comprehensive Pet Therapy! Prior to the appointment, her German Shepherd Bailey pulled constantly on-leash and became reactive whenever she saw an unfamiliar dog. The behavior became worse after a friend’s dog started a fight with Bailey. One time during a walk Bailey literally pulled Amy over and dragged her on the ground.

Storm Learns Impulse Control and Reduces His Compulsive Behavior

Storm Learns Impulse Control and Reduces His Compulsive Behavior

Storm is a 2.25 year old Australian Cattle Dog. Prior to our in-home appointment, Storm would obstreperously and compulsively pace, circle, jump, bark, and nip whenever his owners poured juice, took plates/bowls/pots from the cabinet, or talked on the phone.

A Successful Service Dog Turnover

A Successful Service Dog Turnover

Kali the Rottweiler posing with her smiling owner during her turnover lesson in Charleston, SC. CPT trains serivce dogs for clients throughout the United States. Moreover, CPT has a very flexible program. Although most service dogs that we train are either Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers, Labradoodles, or Goldendoodles, we have trained dogs from a diverse array of breeds, including a Great Pyrenees, a Weimeraner, a Dachshund Mix, and of course, a Rottweiler. For more information […]

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