Help! My Dog Is Hyperactive

It’s one of the most commonly reported behavioral concerns of CGC and AKC S.T.A.R. Puppy dog owners. The complaint is that the dog is “hyper” or “too active.”

In most cases, the problem is really that the dog owner needs some education and the dog may need a more suitable daily schedule and exercise plan.

Here are some tips for the owner of the energetic dog that is hard to calm down.

1. Know your breed

“My dog is too active and won’t settle down at night when we watch television,” said one dog owner who called the CGC department. After asking some questions, we learned that the dog was a Border Collie whose owners worked all day. When they came home, the dog was taken for a walk on a leash. We explained that Border Collies can run all day herding sheep and we helped the owner develop a more appropriate exercise plan for this active herding breed. For active breeds, a walk on a leash may not do the trick. Consider fetching and running games in a fenced yard or a dog park where the dog can run. If you are away from home in the daytime for long periods of time, doggie daycare may be a suitable option for your dog.

run with dog2. Provide adequate daily exercise

In AKC S.T.A.R. Puppy, STAR is an acronym that stands for Socialization, Training, Activity and a Responsible owner. Activity means exercise and in STAR classes, instructors talk to dog owners about their daily exercise plans for their puppies. CGC Evaluator Karen Vance described in the book,  AKC STAR Puppy: A Positive Behavioral Approach to Puppy Training, how she had her students bring an exercise plan for their dogs to class. When Karen looked at the plan for a German Shepherd Dog who was jittery and could not focus, she said a light bulb went off. She worked with the dog owners to modify the exercise plan and within two weeks, the puppy was a different dog.

3. Teach practical skills

Once you’ve met the exercise needs of an active dog, functional Canine Good Citizen skills such as sit, down and stay can be used to manage your dog. When company comes and the dog can’t “settle,” a down-stay is often just what is needed to help the dog become calm.

4. Give the dog a job

In the case of the Border Collie above, increased exercise helped a lot. But active, smart breeds can also benefit from something to do on a regular basis that involves both physical and mental activity. AKC Performance events such as field work, herding, lure coursing and most recently, dock diving are perfect for canine athletes. AKC activities such as obedience, agility, and rally also provide the perfect combo of the physical and mental stimulation needed for the active dog.

5. Don’t forget the veterinary check

If you’ve put an appropriate exercise plan in place for your dog’s age and breed, and the dog continues to appear overactive, a veterinary work-up is in order. While most of the time, exercise, training, and activities are the issue, there are medical conditions that can cause hyperactivity. Your dog’s veterinarian can do a comprehensive medical exam to rule out any problems.

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A Model CGC Training Program for Pitbulls

If there is a “type” of dog that has more than its fair share of problems, it would be the pitbull. Restrictive legislation, an inability for owners to get homeowner’s insurance and the policy of many shelters that these dogs can’t be adopted are some of the problems that plague the dogs described as the bully breeds.

keCGC Evaluator Krystal Ellingson is working hard to do something about that. She is the Founder and trainer at “Speak Dog” and she holds classes at Tri-Cities Animal Shelter in Pasco, Washington.

Here is a link to newsclips about this model program. There are several separate interviews on the tape, be sure to catch them all!


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City of Pasadena, TX Adopts CGC Training

Thanks to the hard work of CGC Evaluator Pamela Marie Nemec, the City of Pasadena, Texas, is now offering AKC S.T.A.R. Puppy, Canine Good Citizen, and AKC Community Canine classes.

PAWS UP to Pamela Marie Nemec for making a difference that will benefit dogs and their owners.



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25 Ideas for Marketing CGC Classes-Part 2

In honor of the 25th birthday of the Canine Good Citizen (CGC) program this year, we will be featuring articles with the “25” theme.

From some of our most active evaluators, here are the remaining great tips for marketing your CGC classes.

marketing-part2#14- Free lesson                                                                                                                      From time to time, for a limited time, I will offer a free introductory lesson for puppies, or older dogs, or seniors (humans). If the lessons are fun and if the dog learns new skills, I will get some new students from this offer.

#13- Group classes- special topics                                                                           Throughout the year, I offer special group classes for dogs who have passed the CGC test. These can include hiking with your dog, Intro to Advanced CGC, Intro to Therapy Dogs, Canine Fitness, etc. Sometimes these are classes that last 6 weeks, but I’ve just discovered a day long workshop on a topic is successful and then people can sign up for ongoing classes.

#12- Volunteer at the shelter                                                                                                  This is a way to help shelter dogs, polish your skills as a trainer, and the shelter staff will get to know you and see what you can do with a dog. Shelter staff are more likely to refer dog owners to the classes of trainers they trust.

#11- Community demos                                                                                                                    If your community has parades, fairs, etc., you can volunteer to do demos with your own dog and the dogs of your advanced students. A canine drill team is always a hit.

#10- Welcome back old students                                                                                        Contact students who took a puppy class and give them a special invitation to come and earn their CGC title. A personalized message is better than, “Dear Former Student.”

#9- Make your competitors your colleagues                                                                     Even though dog trainers are often competitive when it comes to seeking business, there are more than enough dogs who need training to go around. If you will refer dogs to another trainer if you don’t have a class in session or your current class is full, the favor might be returned.

#8- Lifetime support for students                                                                                        When students take my class, I tell them that anytime they have a question about their dog, they can call me. Many stay in touch and take advantage of this offer, and some dog owners come back for additional classes after a training break. I know I’ve done a good job when a dog owner whose dog took my classes shows up with a new puppy.

#7- Blog                                                                                                                                               Writing a blog takes time and is hard to be consistent, but my training school’s blog is a way to stay in touch with existing students. When someone asks about classes, I send them a packet with all of my services listed and a link to my blog. I often link to the AKC CGC blog.

#6- Facebook                                                                                                                                  Some people think Facebook is a waste of time, but my Facebook page is set up for my training school. Students love to post pictures of their new STAR, CGC and AKC Community Canine dogs and tell about training successes.

#5- Car and Vans as ad space                                                                                                      My dog van is painted with my business name, phone number, and web address. I have the CGC Evaluator logo on my back window. I can not believe how many people see the van and ask about my services when they see me in a parking lot. I didn’t want to paint my car so I am getting some magnetic signs for my “good” car that can be easily removed.

#4- AKC web page-CGC Evaluator list                                                                                             I list my CGC classes and tests on the CGC web page. I also list my name on the evaluator/CGC instructor on the AKC web page.

#3- Business card                                                                                                                          Every professional should have a business card. Including the CGC, STAR and CGCA logos on these cards creates awareness and lets others know I provide these services. I got the logos for each program from AKC’s CGC department that say, “EVALUATOR” underneath.

#2- Brochures in veterinary offices                                                                                               The veterinarian is the first professional that most dog owners will visit with their dogs. I put my business card and AKC STAR Puppy and CGC brochures in veterinary offices. I stamp my contact information on the back of the brochures.

#1- Have a well-trained dog                                                                                                            Put your money where you mouth is. No excuses. Your own dog should be a shining example of your skills as a trainer. When people are impressed with your dog’s manners and skills, you can say, “In my CGC classes, I can teach you how to do this with your dog.”


Let us know if you’d like to share any marketing and PR methods that work for you.



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25 Ideas for Marketing CGC Classes-Part 1

In honor of the 25th birthday of the Canine Good Citizen (CGC) program this year, we’re going to be featuring some articles with the “25” theme.

25th birthday logo


From some of our most active evaluators, here are 25 great tips for marketing your CGC classes.

#25- Web page

Most legitimate businesses have them. Having a well-designed web page is the mark of a professional. Web pages provide a chance for you to list your credentials and tell why your classes are great.

#24- Local television    

If you have a local television station that covers pets, put together a media packet and go and meet the reporter. With some networking and follow-up you can become the go-to dog trainer for a local station (or the county channel, etc.).

#23- Ad in the phone book  

I know- a lot of people don’t have phone books anymore. But some do, and many phone books (with business listings included) also appear online.

marketing plan#22- Radio  

My local station sometimes does interviews. I gave them a media packet and they will call me for interviews about Christmas puppies (ugh!), dog events in our community, what to do when dogs are afraid of fireworks, etc. It is only every now and then, but it gets my name out there.

#21- Business organizations  

I joined the Chamber of Commerce, the Junior League, and a local Women’s Business Network. Once a month, these groups have socials and I have become known as “the dog trainer.”

#20- Community Business Fair  

My town has a weekend at the civic center where businesses get a booth or table. The public comes through and can learn about your business. I have giveaways (pens, calendars) with my business name, web address, and phone number.

#19- Newspaper ad/Column in Community paper  

I maintain a small, inexpensive classified ad in the newspaper-some people still look for services via the Classifieds. There is also a small community newspaper in my city and I volunteered to write articles for that. One article grew into a monthly column.

#18- Feed store signs  

Signs at the local feed stores (on the community bulletin board) reach dog owners who buy dog food there.

#17- Sign at local pet stores, pet supply  

I had some professionally designed small (8 x 11”) signs made. I put them on the Announcements/Services boards at all the local pet supply stores that allow signs.

#16- Logo shirt  

Logo shirts help you sell your business. My daily uniform shirt alternates between a CGC evaluator shirt (a lot of people ask about it) and my business logo shirt.

#15- Newspaper- Press Releases

Newspapers have ads and they also have news. You can do a press release (samples on the CGC page at to announce recent graduates, a child who passed the CGC test with a dog, a senior, or a whole class. For one CGC test a year, we donate the fees to the local K9 unit. The newspaper covers the ceremony.


In the next blog, we’ll cover the remaining 10 tips for marketing your CGC classes. Meanwhile, let us know if you have any favorite marketing and PR techniques that you’d like to share.

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CGC and Homeowner’s Insurance

insuranceHere’s a link to an article on that talks about how CGC can help with homeowner’s insurance.


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From CGC to Therapy Dogs: Meet Malo & Dani, New THDNs

It was hard when writing this blog to decide if the story is about two dogs or if the story is about their owners. It’s both.

dani maday


Linda and Joe Maday retired three years ago in Richland, Washington. They were looking for a meaningful activity and a good way to spend their retirement time. They love their dogs and decided to sign up for a Canine Good Citizen class. Their two Shih-Tzus, “Dani” (Pien Ji’s Beautiful Dangerous) and “Malo” (Pien Ji’s Bad to the Bone) did extremely well in the CGC class.

Linda and Joe had fun training together and the dogs loved it. The Madays wanted to continue working with their dogs beyond Canine Good Citizen. They decided their next goal would be to have the dogs trained, tested, and registered as therapy dogs. Dani and Malo were registered with Love on a Leash, and since then, both have also earned the AKC Community Canine title (advanced CGC or CGCA).

And, when new AKC Therapy Dog titles were announced on July 1, 2014, Linda and Joe sent in the applications for AKC’s new Therapy Dog Novice (THDN) title.  Since the applications arrived in the same envelope, Dani and Malo shared the distinction of being the first dogs to earn the THDN title. The THDN requires that the dog and owner complete at least 10 therapy visits.

malo maday


Malo and Dani work in assisted living facilities, Alzheimer’s units, at the local library, and at the local Veterans’ Clinic. One of their therapy assignments that is a little more unique is being a part of an inaugural program on the campus of Washington State University. During final exam weeks, WSU arranges for therapy dogs to visit the college students to help reduce anxiety and stress.

Joe and Linda report that Dani and Malo always look forward to going to work. What better job is there than putting smiles on peoples’ faces?!


For more information on Love on a Leash, see:

For more information on AKC Therapy Dog titles, see:


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