Why Choose Central Bark®?

Our best friends deserve the best care

There’s no bond like the one we share with our furry best friends. We love our dogs and want to enrich their lives as much as they enrich ours. That’s why families trust Central Bark®, where dogs get the love and care to help them be healthy, happy, and well-rounded. When you bring your dog to Central Bark, you’ll have peace of mind knowing they’re having a great day with their friends in a safe and loving environment.

Central Bark welcomes all. We’re fully committed to providing an environment where all people and dogs feel safe, valued, respected, accepted, and loved. We will never waiver from this stance and always promote unconditional love and acceptance. We embrace every person and every dog that comes through our door, regardless of race, religion, country of origin, sexual orientation, gender, or breed. We will stand behind our promise to “Forever nurture, enrich, and inspire lives.”

The safety and well-being of our guests are our #1 priority. As dog parents ourselves, we take great pride in treating every dog as our own. And we are committed to providing a healthy and safe environment for everyone that enters our facility. Read more about our dog day care guidelines

Jackie Jordan and Chris Gaba, Principals and Co-founders of Barkley Ventures Franchising, LLC. and the Central Bark franchise system

Dog Day Care pioneer and over 20 years of dog care experience

Central Bark, founded by Jackie Jordan and Chris Gaba, pioneered the concept of doggy day care. After more than 20 years as a leader in doggy day care, we continue to evolve. Still, our mission remains the same: To nurture, enrich, and inspire whole health, happiness, and unconditional love for each dog, family, and community we serve. We strive to give every dog and family the Central Bark experience. An experience that mirrors dogs’ unconditional love within our families and communities to create a happier, healthier, and more loving and peaceful world.  

As dog parents ourselves, we know you want to give your dog the best life possible. Our whole dog care approach combines our decades of dog experience with the latest dog behavior science, so you can feel confident your dog is getting the very best care.

Whole Dog Care Mission & Philosophy

At Central Bark, we’re dog experts. Doggy day care is our specialty and nobody does it quite like us. Central Bark goes beyond a traditional doggy day care with our unique Whole Dog Care philosophy and enrichment focus. This personalized approach helps enrich your dog’s whole health and well-being throughout their entire life so you can enjoy a healthy, happy, and loving life together.

The heart of our whole dog care approach is our Enrichment Dog Day Care program. We combine Central Bark’s industry-leading doggy day care expertise with the latest dog behavior science and positive training principles. Our mission is to enrich the lives of dogs and families in our communities. We give dogs fun, balanced days of play, exercise, socialization, learning, rest, and love. To help your dog be a healthy, happy, and well-rounded member of your family.

Central Bark offers exclusive options like:

  • Flexible playgroups allow us to match your dog with the social atmosphere and play schedule they can enjoy and benefit from most. This helps give them a healthy balance of play, rest, and learning and creates a safer social environment with a better quality of play. And our lower dog-to-staff ratios offer more individual attention, education, and love. 
  • Group Play Skills help dogs practice important life skills like name recall, and behaviors like group sit and calmly going in and out of doors and gates. These activities are fun and rewarding for your dog and help improve behavior and impulse control, prevent overstimulation, and creates a safer social environment.
  • Rest Period Enrichments help dogs relax and recharge in their own private space with calming interactive toys and healthy food pairings tailored to their preferences and diet. It promotes physical and mental relaxation which can help them achieve a healthy balance of play, learning, and rest. It can also help them become more comfortable in crates by building positive associations.
  • One-on-One Enrichment Sessions give dogs the extra attention they love and the freedom to use their senses and safely explore their instincts through interactive toys, puzzles, and games. It’s fun and rewarding and exercise their bodies and minds and engage their senses. Add complexity with fitness and agility equipment.
  • Training Tutor gives dogs personalized one-on-one training during day care visits to help your dog develop important skills and behaviors like name recall, sit, stay, down, wait, leave-it, door and gate control, and loose-leash walking. Excellent for your dog and easy for you! Your dog will come home tired and well-socialized, with the training and skills they need to be a well-behaved member of your family.

Kristy M
Super friendly and professional. Highly recommended. Our pup had a fabulous first day!
Lynn. A
Ellie's recent stayover was the longest thus far, and I felt such a peace knowing that Ellie was in the best of hands!! I was comfortable mostly because I know how much she enjoys her daycare days. She loves it!! I'm so happy that Central Bark West Columbia is in [...]
Katie M.
Our sweet Leo absolutely loves his daycare days. The staff is always friendly and have been helpful with any questions I’ve had. We are so happy we found a place that’s safe for our pup when we can’t be with him.
Megan J.
Rosie had her first ever Spa Day! She smelled so good and she felt so soft after her bath! I can’t wait for her to go again. Elizabeth did a wonderful job!
Rachel I.
Central Bark is by far the best place to take your fur baby. The staff is friendly, knowledgeable, and love all the pets as their own. Thank you Central Bark!!!!
Alicia L
This is the only place we will leave our furbaby when traveling. It is very clean and our furbaby gets so excited when we pull up!
Sheila T.
The staff is amazing, and Otto has a good time...he's always smiling in the pictures!
Lynn R.
Central Bark staff work with your dog's personality to acclimate them to the environment. Our Maggie is very timid, and they worked with her so that now she plays with the other dogs. She is worn out for the evening and the next day. Thank you, Central Bark!
Jennifer F.
This is an amazing place to send your furry friends! Our pup Mahogany (Huggy) gets so excited every time we pull in to the parking lot. He always comes home happy & pooped out! The staff is friendly and just as excited to see Huggy as he is to see [...]

Frequently Asked Questions

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.

What should I bring to Doggy Day Care?

Once you have enrolled, we will need a copy of your dog’s vaccination records, which you can upload to your online account or bring with you on your scheduled first day. We also ask that your dog comes in on a regular 6-foot flat leash (no retractable or flexi-leads in the lobby) and a quick-release collar. Not sure what a quick-release collar is? No problem! We’ll be happy to show you on your first day. If your dog usually wears a harness while walking, you’re welcome to bring that as well.

If your dog typically eats a midday meal, you can bring it in an airtight container clearly labeled with your dog’s first and last names. 

Learn more about Enrichment Doggy Day Care.

What do dogs do at doggy day care?

Central Bark® Enrichment Doggy Day Care combines our industry-leading doggy day care expertise with the latest science-based activities and techniques. We personalize your dog’s day with fun, healthy, and well-balanced activities that appeal to their instincts and enrich their bodies, minds, and senses.  

Each day at Central Bark includes exclusive options like:

  • Flexible play groups allow us to match your dog each day with the social atmosphere and play schedule they can enjoy and benefit from most. This helps give them a healthy balance of play, rest, and learning and creates a safer social environment with a better quality of play. And our lower dog-to-staff ratios offer more individual attention, education, and love.
  • Group play skills help dogs practice important behaviors and life skills like name recall, group sit, and calmly going in and out of doors and gates. These activities are fun and rewarding for your dog and help improve behavior and impulse control, prevent overstimulation, and creates a safer social environment. 
  • Rest Period Enrichments help dogs relax and recharge in their own private space with calming interactive toys and healthy food pairings tailored to their preferences and diet. It promotes physical and mental relaxation and can help them become more comfortable in crates by building positive associations. 
  • One-on-One Enrichment add-on sessions give your dog the personal attention they love, supplemented with interactive toys, puzzles, and games. Sessions are fun and rewarding, exercise their body and mind, and engage their senses. Add complexity with fitness and agility equipment.
  • Training sessions during day care visits help your dog develop essential skills and behaviors like name recall, sit, stay, down, wait, leave-it, door and gate control, and loose-leash walking. Excellent for your dog and easy for you! Your dog will come home tired and well-socialized, with the training and skills they need to be a well-behaved member of your family.

Learn more about Enrichment Doggy Day Care.

How to choose the best day care for your dog

Selecting the right doggy day care is an important decision for you and your family. You want to make sure you find the right fit for your dog and your family’s needs. Follow these tips to find the perfect place for your pup! 

Tour the day care center before leaving your dog there. We recommend visiting several centers in your area before making a final decision.

While you’re there, ask yourself:

  • Is the play space clean, odor-free, comfortable, and safe for the center’s stated capacity? 
  • Pay attention to how the management and staff treat you, your dog, and the dogs in their care. Are they mature, knowledgeable, courteous, professional, and patient at all times? 
  • Note how the dogs respond to the staff – do they seem happy, relaxed, and excited? How do staff members greet and treat each dog?
  • How do other dogs act during your visit – relaxed, happy, stressed, scared, or out of control?
  • Is there a great deal of noise? 
  • Does the facility seem well organized and equipped with essential tools and supplies? Look for access to fresh, clean water, sanitation tools, ready access to treats to reinforce good behavior in playgroups, toys, secure fencing, rubber flooring in the inside play spaces, and access to outdoor play spaces.
  • Are there enough crates for every dog on-site in case of an emergency?
  • Are the dogs ever left alone together without a staff member present?
  • Are the handlers engaged with the dogs in their care and actively working with them? Or are they sitting on the sidelines? 

Questions to ask the doggy day care provider:

  1. Will my dog get individual attention time with staff?
    Ask if staff will have time to work individually with your dog on behaviors, play with them, and give them support and love while at day care.
  2. Are there small group play options?
    Small playgroup options help ensure your dog will have a social environment that allows them the freedom and comfort to thrive based on their unique needs, preferences, and play styles. 
  3. What’s the daily schedule? Is this tailored to my dog’s unique needs and preferences?
    Dogs thrive on routine, so the center should have a clear schedule for how things run every day. A consistent program tailored to your dog’s individual needs and style will promote a healthy and happy dog. 
  4. Are there regularly scheduled playtimes and nap times throughout the day?
    Day care should offer your dog a safe and balanced day of play, learning, rest, and love so you can look forward to a happy, well-balanced dog at the end of every day. 
  5. How and where are the dogs’ given downtime to wind down from the day’s activities to help prevent exhaustion and overstimulation?
    Maintaining a healthy balance of rest and play is important for the physical, mental, and social health of dogs. Just like human athletes, rest helps dogs avoid bodily injury and provides a space for them to unwind, so they do not become over-stimulated or over-aroused during play. This creates a much safer social environment for dogs. 
  6. Are there fenced and secure outdoor play areas? 
    Safe outdoor areas are important for a healthy, fun playtime. Whether it is romping in the snow or playing in swimming pools, everyone loves recess outside!
  7. How are new dog introductions handled?
    The center should clearly outline their procedures around new dog introductions, with effective policies that encourage happy, healthy, and lasting relationships and experiences.   
  8. What training does the staff receive?
    Doggy day care staff should be professionally trained and educated in animal behavior, socialization, and obedience training to ensure every dog’s well-being.  
  9. Are the dogs supervised at all times?
    A trained staff member should ALWAYS supervise dogs.
  10. Ask about behavior management tools used at the facility while caring for the dogs. What happens if your dog does something right? What happens if your dog does something wrong?
    Staff should use positive reinforcement and reward-based techniques to develop and reinforce behaviors that will enrich dogs’ lives at home and day care. Avoid centers that use punishment or correction to manage dog’s behavior as those techniques can create negative associations and fear. Utilizing reward-based techniques and positive reinforcement, on the other hand, can help build healthy relationships and happy experiences.
  11. What provisions are there for avoiding dog scuffles?
    Ask staff how they manage the dogs in their care. What do they look for in dog-dog interactions? How do they deal with emergencies and scuffles? How do they interrupt and redirect dogs? How do they build useful playgroup skills to keep the dogs safe proactively? Pay attention to how staff redirects dogs who need additional support to stay safe and whether they respond promptly and use effective strategies in these situations.
  12. Is there an in-depth interview to determine relevant background, behavioral, and health information including confirmation of spay/neuter, proof of vaccinations, flea and tick prevention, etc.? How is this information kept up to date?
    Find out what kind of assessments and evaluations the center uses before they accept a new dog. Also, every dog’s information should be regularly updated and kept on file to prevent illness and injuries.
  13. Do they have safety, cleaning, and disinfecting policies and procedures? What are they?

Learn more about Enrichment Doggy Day Care.

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