About Central Bark Gurnee

After more than 25 years in the watch industry, focusing on product development and management, I decided to pivot my skills in a whole new direction.  While searching for ways to integrate my passion for dogs into a new career, I discovered Central Bark.  I was impressed by their experience, integrity and commitment to providing the highest-quality care to each and every dog that walks in their doors, and wanted to provide that same quality care for the dogs in my own community.  In June of 2013, Central Bark Gurnee proudly opened its doors.

I am happy to own Central Bark Gurnee with my wife of 32 years, Ellyn, a practicing occupational therapist.  We have 3 adult daughters and an adorable grandson.  We have parented 2 dogs together, first Rosco, a rescued Black Lab, and now Archer, an approximately 10-year-old Lab-Pit mix.  As dog parents ourselves, we know that dogs are an integral part of the family and that they deserve the absolute best, which is why we focus on creating and maintaining a safe, clean, fun environment where our highly-trained staff treat your dogs like their own.  Central Bark Gurnee is our extended family, and I look forward to welcoming you and your pup to our family!

“I have always loved dogs and am so excited to now have my own Central Bark!”
Layne, Central Bark Gurnee Franchise Owner

Our Team


Assistant Manager

Cynthia joined our Central Bark team in the fall of 2014. She was one of our youngest employees, having just graduated from high school, but Cynthia was a fast learner with a can-do attitude, and she quickly moved into her current role as assistant manager. Cynthia radiates friendliness and confidence and is able to communicate effectively with both human and canine clients. She also excels at training and instilling good play group behaviors in our dogs, such as gate manners, group sits, recall and more. As a foodie, when Cynthia isn’t working, her hobbies include looking for new restaurants and foods to try, as well as make-up, watching movies, visiting haunted houses, and dressing up for the Renaissance Faire. Cynthia also enjoys exploring new places to hike with Kiko, her 5-year-old miniature Schnauzer. Kiko loves to be the leader when hiking and he’s a pro at sniffing out rats during barn hunts. When he is at Central Bark, Kiko is a ladies’ man who loves to play with all the girls, but especially Gracie, Luna and Lucy. When asked what she likes about working at Central Bark Gurnee, Cynthia answers, “whether it’s learning about dog behaviors, nutrition, breeds, or just what makes each pup unique, I learn something new every day.” We’re certain our dogs learn something new from Cynthia every day, too.


Dog Handler

Earnest joined the Central Bark Gurnee team in November, 2018, in a rather unique fashion. We received a call from Earnest’s job coach. She told us she had a client who enjoys cleaning and loves dogs and wondered if we might have something for him. Likes to clean and loves dogs? Sounded like it could be a win/win so we had Earnest in for an interview. He and Layne immediately hit it off and Earnest nailed the interview. However, his job coach reminded him that he still had an interview with someone else the next day. Even though we had not officially offered him the job yet, Earnest told his coach that he didn’t want to go on another interview, he wanted to work here at Central Bark. The rest, as they say, is history. Earnest works several afternoons a week, first helping to let the dogs out to play group, then cleaning the nap room and then helping out in playgroup at the end his shift. Earnest is a valuable member of our team, doing excellent work maintaining the nap room as well as giving lots of love to the dogs. His work also frees up the other staff to provide more individual attention to all the dogs, since they know that the mundane but necessary task of cleaning crates is being expertly handled. When not working, Earnest loves playing his video games and watching all different types of movies on his DVD player. When asked what he likes best about working at Central Bark Gurnee, Earnest says it’s “working with all the different types of dogs, especially the bigger ones.” Earnest is looking forward to having his own dog soon (maybe a German Shepherd, Husky or Great Dane) and we know no matter what dog he ends up with, Earnest will be one amazing Dog Dad!


Dog Handler

Terra joined our Central Bark Team in 2017. Terra works mainly in the playgroups, ensuring that your pups receive appropriate amounts of stimulation and rest, as well as maintaining safety. Terra is gentle and compassionate. This is evident in the love and affection she showers on each of your dogs and also in her out of work activities. For example, in addition to Central Bark, Terra works for Meals on Wheels, delivering meals to those in need. Besides delivering the food, Terra spends time visiting with all the recipients, providing much needed socialization and comfort for these individuals (when not in the midst of a pandemic). When not working, Terra enjoys music, theatre and reading. Terra lives with her beautiful teenaged daughter, Paulina, and their cat, Delany. While she doesn’t have a dog of her own, Terra considers all of the dogs here at Central Bark to be “her dogs.” When asked what she enjoys most about working at Central Bark she replies, “I like that I get to spend time with the dogs up close and personal, getting to know and see their different personalities. I like that every day is different.” We know that “her dogs” benefit every day from Terra’s caring personality.


Store Manager

Lizzy is our manager and has been working with us since Day 1, continuously learning, growing and expanding her role here, impressing us with her leadership skills and dependability. She easily transitions from working with all of our dogs out in playgroup to running the front of the store and providing outstanding customer service to our human clients. Lizzy works hard teaching our dogs a variety of important playgroup skills such as gate manners, recall and more. There’s almost nothing she can’t do. When Lizzy isn’t working, she likes to garden at home and she enjoys going out to the Renaissance Faire, concerts and the forest preserves. Lizzy is a dog mom to Scout, a 6-year-old Australian Shepherd, and has done extensive training with her. Scout is a Canine Good Citizen and has earned titles in agility. Lizzy also has a 7-year-old chocolate lab mix named Koby at home. Lizzy loves to share her knowledge with all of our dogs. When asked why she likes working at Central Bark Gurnee, Lizzy replies, “I love watching the daycare dogs learn and grow.” We know the dogs love Lizzy as well!


Dog Handler

Sarah joined the Central Bark Team in February of 2018. She spends most of her time working directly with your dogs, facilitating safe and appropriate playtimes and rest times, and nurturing their development and social skills. However, she has begun working up front as well, bringing dogs out to their parents and sharing news of their day at daycare. Sara is a past cheerleader and her enthusiastic and energetic attitude shines through in everything she does, with dogs and people alike. When not working, Sara is busy learning. She is learning to cook, and she is also attending college in pursuit of her animal behavior degree. Additionally, Sara enjoys taking her 2-year-old Golden Retriever, Nala, to a field and throwing the ball to her. Sara’s favorite thing about working at Central Bark Gurnee is learning new things about each dog and their different personalities. She also likes that fact that “no matter what type of day you are having the dogs always find a way to cheer you up.” The dogs love Sara and we think having a valuable team member like Sara is something to cheer about!


Dog Handler

Gabi joined our Central Bark team in May of 2020. While new to our store, Gabi has experience working in other doggy day care centers. School took her out of state, but when she returned back to the area, she found us, and we’re glad she did. An experienced dog handler and motivated learner, Gabi fits right in, easily adapting to the Central Bark philosophies and providing excellent care to all of our dogs. When not working, Gabi enjoys cooking, watching The Office, and spending time with her dog, Albert, by the lake or hiking along a trail. Gabi’s favorite thing about working at Central Bark Gurnee is “being able to create and build new relationships with all the dogs who attend day care. I believe each dog has their own individual, unique personality, which makes getting to bond with them so much more lovely.” We look forward to many more bonding opportunities for Gabi and the dogs of Central Bark Gurnee.

Awards & Achievements

Our Family Photo Album

Nancy M.
Best place ever.. Fireball loves going there..everyone is amazing there!! We highly recommend Central Bark Gurnee!!

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need to bring bedding, toys, or treats for my dog?

Nope! We got you covered! Most dogs will not need any bedding for a single day of day care. If your dog is boarding with us, see our Sleepover Guidelines. As far as treats and toys, we have plenty! Please ask about which toy and treat products are available.

How can I be sure that the play space is clean, odor & disease-free, comfortable and safe for the stated capacity of the center?

Central Bark® is licensed and inspected by local government or regulatory authorities. We also clean and disinfect nightly, regardless of how many dogs have visited.

Learn more about our commitment to safety

How long does dog training take?

The timeline for learning new behaviors and skills is as unique as every dog! Because each dog is an individual, with different learning histories, breed genetics, and preferences in reinforcers like treats and toys, there is no way to say for sure how long training will take. It’s also important to consider how much time each family has for daily training practice.

Whether you’re crate training, leash walking, or potty training your pup, consistency is key. It’s crucial to establish a routine, practice positive reinforcement, supervise your puppy (especially when potty training), and avoid punishing your puppy when mistakes happen. 

Central Bark® offers everything you need to help you train your dog, with expert training and classes so you and your pup can learn and bond together. 

Learn more about our training classes

Visit our Dog Blog for more helpful tips

Can I stay with my dog at the groomers?

You do not need to stay with your dog during their grooming appointment. Our expert groomers always aim to help your dog feel as calm and relaxed as possible during their bathing and grooming experience. If your pup is feeling a little unsure, ask our training team about ways to enrich their experience and help create positive associations by using positive reward-based training methods.

Make a reservation for your grooming session today.

Read all FAQs

Central Bark® Whole Dog Care

Our whole dog care approach offers a full range of fun and personalized products and services. To promote your dog’s physical, mental, and emotional health and happiness throughout their entire life.

Let’s get started

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