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 […]

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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 […]

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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, […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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:

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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.

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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 animals. CCI is a partner in two of Dog Star’s studies.

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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.

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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, and snide remarks from the neighbors, who will appreciate and admire the progress achieved by you and your dog.

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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 relevant to the performance of police narcotics detection dogs and military explosive detection dogs.

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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.

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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).

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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.

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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 destination. On the other hand, Temple Square had some amazing architecture and notable history. After visiting Temple Square, we viewed the city by walking several miles from the downtown to the University of Utah campus. The neighborhoods we passed were very nice for an urban area. However, the University campus was disappointing, as the architecture was consistently bland. On the walk back we visited the impressive City Creek Center, which is the downtown’s retail, restaurant, and nightlife centerpiece.

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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.

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CPT Considering Westward Expansion- Idaho

Westward expansion- CPT Visits 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.

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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!!

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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 from playtime and sustenance activities with the trainer.

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CPT Gives Back to the Community

Dr. Annemiek Kuik leads the CCI Atlanta Chapter meeting held at CPT's Sandy Springs Training Center.

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.

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

Canine Structural MRI

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 and Health Sciences. While at Berkeley the team obtains both structural and functional MRI images of CCI candidate dogs currently in training in their adult program.

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How to Improve Your Child’s Birthday Party!

CPT Birthday Party Performance

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.

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Tips for Relieving Your Dog’s Stress with Dog Training

Separation Anxiety- Anxious Dog Home Alone

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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CPT Assists Dog Star Technologies in Researching Apparel Products

Apparel- Ike wearing his weighted vest.

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.

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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 […]

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Elizabeth Resolves Her Dogs’ On-Leash Reactivity

Elizabeth- Cooper and Lilly-Resolving 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.

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Lili Learns Not to Bark at Dogs on the TV

Behavior Modification- Barking at the television

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.

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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.

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CPT Beginner Agility Graduates

CPT Beginner Agility Class

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, […]

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

Sid and Judi- 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 bit Sid when he asked Bristol to release a piece of pizza that Bristol took from the garbage and when he again bit Sid when Sid tried to remove him from the bed. Bristol also recently began growling at Judi when she tried prompting him to enter the car or when she approached his food bowl.

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Ilana and Jarro- Proud CGC Graduates

Ilana Katz 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.

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Katie and Jimmy Complete an In-Home Lesson on Housebreaking

Katie and Jimmy- In-Home- 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.

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

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.

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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.

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Success in Addressing Leash Walking Reactivity

Leash Walking Reactivity- Remi, Luckie, and Blue

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 amidst a volunteer dog.

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CPT Agility Video

CPT Agility

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.

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

In-Home Instruction- Larren, Charlie, and Shadow

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.

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

CPT, Dog Star Technologies, and Georgia Tech 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 […]

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Who Says America Isn’t Training Scientists?

Scientists- Celeste Mason, Piper Vornholt, Ceara Byrne, and Larry Freil of the Georgia Tech Human/Animal Computer Interaction Laboratory

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.

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Another CGC Graduate- With a Nice Story!

CGC Graduate- Shamu- Great Dane

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.

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

Certified Amerian Kennel Club Canine Good Citizen- Rio- Doberman Pinscher

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.

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