Big Service Dog Dreams and A Dog Named Ranga

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A Rescue Dog Named Ranga and Her Service Dog Dreams

Ranga's mom came to The Bark looking for training to help her rescue dog to become a service dog. Her dog is a beautiful Border Collie mix, named Ranga. Service dogs are specially trained to have good behavior and perform a minimum of two tasks that assist their owner with a disability. Ranga's mom struggles with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, or M.E. for short. This causes her to struggle with intense brain fog, seizures, random blood pressure spikes and drops, temperature dysregulation, and many more. We knew we wanted to help make her life easier and help Ranga to have a fulfilling purpose!

Ranga’s Dog Training Goals

  • learning to grab objects when asked or on a routine basis after certain events
  • Snuggle on cue
  • Learn subtle signs from his dog mom to know when to either give her pressure in necessary areas or to bring her meds

Ranga learns to pickup objects like other service dogs

We got right to work teaching Ranga how to pick up items on cue. As a border collie mix, he sure picked up on this service dog task very quickly. Within just a few sessions, Ranga was able to grab a medicine bag with a toy rope attached to it. He could do it when asked from anywhere in the home. We spent time increasing the weight of the bag so he is able to bring her everything she needs at once. The bag needed to eventually contain several medications, water bottle, blood pressure cuff, and a treat for Rangas good work. His cue to bring her the medicine bag is an alarm that says, “Ranga, get bag!” This simple task allows her to have her medicine quickly. This really helps assist her during difficult days when she struggles with her symtoms

Recall and attention can be as simple as saying "Touch"

We introduced Ranga to another cue called “touch”. This simple dog training cue allows his mom to recall Ranga from anywhere, around any distraction. The dog training cue looks like him approaching and booping her hand with his nose. We used this dog training task to help initiate snuggling and deep pressure therapy. It allowed us to get Ranga where we needed him to be. This also help guide him into the position necessary to help lower his mom’s heart rate. This task even helps regulate her body temperature. It made it simple that Ragna is the best snuggler in town and oh so sweet!

Now that's what we call a service dog!

As we worked with Ranga, he picked up on several early-warning signs of an impending episode naturally. Border collie's are so smart and in tune with their surroundings after all! We learned he started to express when her heart rate was either too high or too low. He started to ring his door-bells that he uses to signal to go outside and began obsessively ringing them until he got her attention. From there, she was able to piece together that something was wrong and signaled for Ranga to bring her bag. Next, she would take her blood pressure and then any necessary medications and initiate snuggling. Way to go, Ranga! Ranga has also reached the point where if he finds mom unconscious he will go get the medication bag and bring it to her. He will set it on her chest and work on waking her up with kisses and pressure on her body.

Ranga's mom doesn’t know what she would do without Ranga every day. We are so proud of how far he has come in such a short amount of time. If you'd like to set up a complimentary meet and greet with our dog trainers, they are always full of amazing and inventive ideas to make yours and your dog's life easier and bond closer.

Written by: Danelle Wood
Positive Reinforcement Dog Trainer

Junior Dog Trainers Summer Camp

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The Bark Knoxville is hosting a Junior Dog Training Summer Camp for kids ages 8-14 years old. The Summer Camp is a total of fives day in Knoxville, TN and kids will be learning from 9 am - 2 pm. The classes will be led by our positive reinforcement dog trainers. Kids will be learning valuable skills including dog behavior and psychology, basic dog training techniques, and how to communicate and teach Man's best friend. This is a great educational opportunity for kids who are interested in dogs and dog related careers. Parents will receive a "report card" through our customer portal, detailing how the day went with pictures and videos of the experience.

Junior Dog Training Summer Camp Course Topics and Activities

  • Canine Body Language
  • Consensual Petting and Bite Prevention
  • Loose Leash Walking
  • Basic Obedience Cues
  • Dog Play Interpretation and Socialization
  • Dog Crafts
  • Training games like Red Light, Green Light and Musical Dogs

Bring Your Own Dog Package - $600

Five Day Junior Dog Training Summer Camp Package Includes:

  • Treat Pouch
  • Six Bags of Treats
  • Freedom No-Pull Harness
  • Dog Training Clicker
  • Camp T-shirt

All dogs that wish to participate must be friendly around all dogs and humans and must pass The Bark Behavior Pre-check, must provide a vaccine record, and be up to date on all required vaccines. Dogs cannot be struggling with leash reactivity or other behavioral concerns that could cause a distraction in class. Dogs should be able to settle in a kennel during lunch time. Child must be able to manage and hold onto dog's leash at all times while maintaining stable footing

Rent A Dog Package - $700

Five day Junior Dog Training Summer Camp Package Includes:

  • Treat Pouch
  • Six bags of Treats
  • Dog Training Clicker
  • Rental of Bark Dog to learn with, outfitted with proper harness
  • Camp T-shirt
  • 2024 Junior Dog Trainers Summer Camp Dates - Knoxville, TN

    Availability is limited. Click the dates below to purchase a package for that particular week of camp. Let us know if you have any questions at

    Chili’s Dog Training Story

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    Chili's owner was very familiar with his breed having raised Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs several different times in her life. We met Chili through our day training program. Chili wasn't the "big, bold, and affectionate personality" you come to expect from his breed. He was a shy, nervous puppy, certainly not a big and bold Swiss Mountain dog. While shyness may sound like a virtue, it can be a big danger if left unchecked. Nervous puppies very easily turn into big dogs with the same fears but with more willingness to fight rather than flight.

    Dog Training Starts With a Plan

    Chili's dog mom liked that our Day Training program would get Chili out of the house and allow him to learn while in an environment surrounded by many other dogs and people. He didn't end up being Mr. Anti Social for long. His first best friends were definitely his dog trainers, they do have pockets full of dog treats after all! It sure pays to know the right people! Little by little with their help he started to address some of the bigger concerns his dog mom was seeing, like barking and lunging on the leash. His training plan included things like..

    • Classical conditioning around his triggers (loud sounds, new people)
    • Tons of fields trips to places like public parks, hardware stores, and pet stores
    • Curated Playgroups to ease into socializing with other dogs
    • Basic Obedience Skills to help him and his mom navigate difficult situations as simply as saying "Go to Place"
    • giving him positive experiences to shape him into a more confident dog

    He's Grown in Size and In Confidence!

    Chili has practically grown up at The Bark over the last year, one weekly visit at a time. He even learned how to carry a dog backpack, a skill common for his particular breed to practice. It comes in super handy on the hikes and fields trips he takes. Chili's favorite part about day training has to be a tie between getting to play with all his best dog friends at doggy daycare and seeing how proud his mom is at night when she reads his report card.

    Chili just experienced his first holiday season, a typical nightmare on Elm st. for nervous dogs but his dog mom said he did amazing! He welcomed their guests and warmed up quickly! He is getting along better with his sibling Swiss mountains dogs. It sounds like everything is all finished up with Chili but if you were to ask him, he isn't done yet! His mom says coming to The Bark has become an important part of Chili's routine, so much so he fusses when he misses his usual day of the week! Even if he is behaving more confidently and predictably, she wants him to keep up with day training visits because he loves them so much! We can't wait to share more about Chili! Are you interested in detraining or unsure of where to start on your training journey? Schedule a free meet and greet with our positive dog trainers in Knoxville, TN by using our pet portal.

    Dog Park Christmas Party with Santa

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    Santa is coming to The Bark Dog Park and Beer Garden this holiday season! Bring your dogs in their best festive outfits for a photo with Santa December 8, 2023 from 6-8pm. Photos will be taken in our dog park areas and all entry requirements for dog park entry must be met for your dog to participate. Here's everything you need to know for your dog's first visit

    We will have other fun Christmas events going on like:

    • Christmas Karaoke in our foothills playspace
    • Dog Christmas Cookies available
    • We will have a special guest all the way from Santa's workshop, Susan Sullivan Author of Bob Tales will be telling the special tale of a stray cat named Bob and his search for a home, as well as doing a book signing.

    Bark Dog Prom 2024

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    You aren't dreaming, we really are having a prom for dogs! Come dressed to impress at our Dog Park and Beer Garden! We will be selecting a Prom King and Prom Queen!

    There will be a photo booth, drinks, and of course adorable dogs in dresses and suits. The Dog Prom event will be Saturday May 4, 2024 4-9pm, at the best dog park in Knoxville, The Bark! Don't have a dog, don't worry! Dog loving humans are always welcome free of charge.

    Will Dog Prom be your first time barking with us at the dog park? Make sure you have met our entry requirements and your dog is ready for their first visit to our dog park and beer garden in Knoxville, TN! Here's everything you need to know for your dog's first visit

    We are accepting vendors and sponsors for Dog Prom, if you are interested please email with information about your business.

    • Bark Friends: Vendor booth (10'x10') at Dog Prom. $50
    • Bark Buddies Vendor booth(10'x10') at Dog Prom, mentioned on our list of sponsors on our website with link to your website. Feature on newsletter about Dog Prom event sent out to over 4000 bark dogs on our mailing list. $100
    • Our Bark BestieVendor booth (10'x10") at Dog Prom. This lead sponsor is listed on all event materials and design materials to promote Dog Prom. Announcements of thanks throughout event and Prom King/Queen contest. Featured on event Banner hanging on our fencing for 14 days leading up to event. $2500

    King’s Dog Training Story

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    New dog parent's want the best for their new dog or puppy. We go on our first shopping trip to pick out the food our dog will eat, the cozy beds they will sleep on. Each little detail done with the best intentions. Every dog owner we come across, is trying to make the right decision for their dog. When our dog trainer's met with King's owners, it was obvious they had the biggest heart for their dogs and had made every decision for their dogs with the most care. King had been through dog training already, a high dollar one at that. They had spent a lot of time socializing him from a young puppy after adopting him at eight weeks. They did all the things you are supposed to do. So why were they calling dog trainers for help?

    We had a great discussion about King's behavior history at a complimentary meet and greet with his owners. At one year old he started to get more selective with his dog friends and by four years old he was trying to eat the new pet sitter. Our dog trainers were seeing his obvious and direct aggression towards all strangers dogs and humans alike. At 100 lbs, that was no small risk for his family to manage. For his family this meant, avoiding public outings, avoiding guests, no pet sitters for vacations. Seeing his breed a lot of people would mistakenly think this was "dominance," breed related guarding, or just a mean dog. Our trainers saw many signs of stress in King and noticed his lack of confidence. This wasn't a confident dog guarding his home, it was a scared dog feeling like he have no choice but to go into fight mode for his and his family's sake. So where is the fear response coming from? The fear couldn't be from a lack of exposure, after all King HAD been socialized. He had been trained. He had been to dog day camp. King had had the same owners from eight weeks old. Maybe it was breed or genetics, or maybe something else?

    Our trainers made a personalized training plan for King and put it into action over a six lesson dog training course.

    • Learn skills to redirect him when he is nervous or aggressive. Such as a "Leave it" cue.
    • Use classical conditioning to build a positive association towards current triggers (ie. Dogs, people).
    • Improving King's leash manners to make it easier to get in the all the public walks they'd be taking now.
    • Muzzle training King so that anytime he was practicing or working around strangers, they would always remain safe.
    • Setting King up with one of our dog walkers for weekly dog walks, to increase the number of visits to the home, and create opportunities for his family to work on his door greetings.

    The classical conditioning part of King's dog training plan made lightbulbs go off for his family. As we were giving him yummy snacks for each person and dog he saw in an attempt to build a positive association for King, he started to look forward to seeing them and he relaxed more and more. His family then knew exactly what caused King to grow aggressive towards strangers. His first trainers were using e-collars to apply stimulation when King was excited in his youth to see other dogs and people. His trainers were trying to punish away the excitement instead of encouraging the calm and all they really accomplished was making King see every person and dog as a representative of pain and stress. The grief they felt over that realization was so heartbreaking. They didn't know, the trainers had them test it on their arm, the trainers described it as feeling like a "tap" but with levels zero to a hundred or more around the neck, King was feeling more than a tap. He was feeling stressed. It's really not fair that there are so much different dog training techniques, dog training tools, and options for dog owners to have to weed through. Dog owners are doing the best they can with they info they have, they aren't behavioral scientists after all. Actual behavior scientists have spoken on the issue though. Adding negative stimuli has been found in countless studies to cause anxiety and aggression in the long term regardless of short term training gains.

    Over six dog training classes with our positive dog trainers, King learned everything with enthusiasm. He was a smart and eager learner, under fair working conditions, of course. Turns out people and others dogs are pretty cool actually. By lesson 2 he was trusting his trainers and by the end of it all he had a committed pet sitter who he loved and his parents took their first vacation in three years without the dogs in tow! The most important lesson was learned by King's parents. They now knew how to manage fearful behavior, how to encourage and form positive behaviors, and how to understand their dog on his level.

    Would you like to talk about a training plan with one of our trainers? They can help you decide on the right dog training program for your dog from private lessons, to day training, group classes and our luxury board and train program! Schedule a complimentary Meet & Greet using the pet portal!

    Boarding: The Bark Experience

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    Kennel environments can be loud, stressful, and smelly! While you are off enjoying your next vacation, your dog deserves a similar relaxing experience while they are at dog boarding. The dog boarding suites at The Bark are set up like bedrooms with cozy beds, furniture, toys, and everything your dog needs to be comfortable.

    No Kennels, It Feels Like Home

    Our boarding suites feature a solid door on the front of each room to ensure they aren't being disturbed by dogs and people passing by. In the rooms you will smell a hint of lavender and the sound of classical music, all designed to keep your dog calm and feeling relaxed.

    Basic Care is Never an Add On

    You don't have to worry about picking your dog up from dog boarding and ending up with a much higher bill than anticipated. Basic care is never an up-charge at The Bark. All of our boarding dogs have their bathroom breaks on four hour intervals (two hours for puppies) and staff is tracking if there are having accidents in their dog boarding room.

    If your dog is unable to hold it for four hours, their bathroom breaks are adjusted to encourage outdoor bathroom usage. All dogs boarding at the bark get the opportunity to join play groups throughout the day if they can pass our Behavior Pre-Check. All potty breaks, play time, snuggles, meal times, and medication administrations are included in the cost of boarding.

    Pet Parents Get Nightly Updates

    Knowing how your dog is doing at dog boarding is no question at The Bark. Pet Parents receive a nightly report card about their dog's day including pictures and videos. We will keep you up to date about how your dog is feeling, what activities they got up to, and any concerns we might have.

    Dog Proofed, Dog Safe

    All of our boarding rooms and play spaces are designed with your dog in mind. Our doors have safety locks on them. We have a system of gates and doorways to make sure they stay secure in our facility. The play spaces have play equipment that your dogs can enjoy safely! Even the cleaner we use in our building is up to veterinary standards and totally safe for your dog!Interested in boarding your dog at The Bark? Private rooms are $100 per night for one dog, holiday rates and additional dog fees may apply. Your dog will need...

    • Dog food and Treats: maintaining your dog's current diet will help avoid any tummy upset. Please bring your dog's normal food and dog treats for them
    • Body Harness: If you intend for your dog to be involved in dog park
    • Comfort Items: If there is anything you want to bring your for your dog to make their experience better please feel free. We are always willing to add their personal dog beds and toys to their room.
    Put In A Boarding Request

    Earning Trust With A Nervous Dog

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    Those sad puppy dog eyes captivate your attention but is there more going on? From the rescue who suffered trauma, to the under socialized dog struggling with stranger danger, anxious dogs are certainly not uncommon. These nervous dogs may struggle with fast movements and loud sounds and their response to fear can be sad and even scary at times. Moments can quickly go from fun and fine to fight or flight. Building trust with an anxious dog take patience, understanding, and a positive dog training plan


    It takes time to calm and reshape anxious thoughts so have patience with the nervous dog in your life. Pushing anxious dogs out of their comfort zone too much or too quickly can have disastrous and even dangerous results. Positive dog trainers always let their students set the pace and work to manage and minimize any negative experiences. You should start working in a low stress and low distraction environment. Give the dog as much space as they require, toss lots of treats, and let the dog approach you when they are ready.


    Dogs use so many body language signals to communicate. It not just barks, growls, and wagging tails, there is a lot more you should be watching for. When trying to build trust with an anxious dog, you should be watching for signs of stress and managing the situation to promote a learning environment that feels safe and secure. If an anxious dog is showing signs of stress, back off and find a way to change up the situation. Anxious dogs will often display stress by...

    • Pacing or being unsettled
    • Licking their lips
    • Sneezing
    • Yawning
    • Turning head away or avoiding a situation
    • Dilating pupils
    • Stiffening body posture
    • Tucking Their Tail
    • Pulling their ears down
    • Submissive peeing
    • Holding up one paw
    • and more...


    Building trust with a nervous dog will require some positive dog training skills not only for the sake of safety but dog training is also a great team building activity! Just like pavlov trained his dog to love the sound of a bell, anxious dogs can also be trained to have a positive response to things that may be causing stress right now. Using positive dog training will help assign positive thoughts and reshape the anxious dog's mindset. Anxious dogs also need a good handle on some basic commands so when things aren't going well, they have a way to receive and understand direction. Dog owners with an anxious dog need to be able to tell their dog when to "focus" on them and "leave it" away from situations that could have a poor outcome. Those dog owners will also need to be able to tell their anxious dog when to "stay" and when to "come." Basic obedience skills aren't just about achieving tricks for treats, it's about being able to tell your dog exactly what they need to do in any situation. Do you have an anxious dog who needs a positive dog trainer? Book a complimentary Meet and Greet to get an evaluation and personalized training plan from one of our Knoxville dog trainers.

    Doggy Daycare Picture Day

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    All Bark dogs were invited for doggy daycare picture day in August at our Dog Park in Knoxville, TN. We are pleased to present our doggy daycare Class of 2022. All of the dogs are so special to us and we love getting to know all their unique personalities and watching them play together everyday.

    Doggy Daycare Class of 2022

    Click on a thumbnail for full resolution photo.

    The turn out for doggy daycare picture day was HUGE! We had such a fun day taking their doggy daycare pictures. The Barkrangers tried their best to photograph each and every dog. If your dog was present for doggy daycare during picture day but is not pictured, send an email to we will check their past reservations to confirm they were missed and get their photo during their next visit to The Bark doggy daycare. Thank you for being a part of our picture day and choosing the Bark Dog life!

    Did your dog miss picture day? Don't worry next year is right around the corner! We can't wait to plan next picture day and 2023 Dog Prom! Our Doggy Daycare class of 2023 is already filling up. Is your dog ready to call themselves a Bark Dog? Check out our Doggy Daycare and you aren't going to want to miss the Dog Park and Beer Garden Signing up is really easy using our pet portal!

    What is a Barkranger?

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    The Bark is an 18,000 square foot dog park, beer garden, and doggy daycare located in Knoxville, TN. At our dog park safety comes first, so we have rangers, or as we like to call them Barkrangers! They have several important roles that help maintain a safe and clean environment for the dogs playing at The Bark.

    Behavior Pre Checks

    One of our safety measures at The Bark is performing a Behavior Pre Checks on every dog before they are allowed to play at The Bark. Our Barkrangers help guide dog owners and their dogs who visit us for the first time through this process. It only takes about 15 minutes. The Barkrangers will ask several questions about your dog's behavior history, check your dog's friendliness with people, then they will supervise a sniff test with one dog and then a sniff test with a group of dogs. If your dog does does well they pass and they can enjoy the dog park or doggy daycare services right away.

    Playgroup Monitoring

    Our Barkrangers are pet professionals. They are watching for body language and inappropriate play. They liaison between dog owners to make sure everyone is maintaining their dog's behavior and that every dog at the dog park is having fun. Barkrangers are trying to keep the peace between dogs and prevent problems before they happen. Our Barkrangers also engage in play with the dogs in our playgroups which can help maintain balance in the group, and is also just fun!

    Playspace Sanitation

    There is nothing worse than the public dog park being covered in feces while your dog is trying to run around. So many nasty parasites and diseases are spread through dog excrement. Our rangers making sure all visitors to the dog park are cleaning up after their dogs and if they see something laying around they know to pick it up right away. We use a veterinary standard cleaner and sanitizer that is safe for pets and kills Canine Adenovirus Canine Coronavirus, Canine Distemper virus, Canine Influenza A virus, Canine Parainfluenza virus, Canine Parvovirus. The Barkrangers use this cleaner to sanitize our play spaces throughout the day.

    Bring you dog to play with our Barkrangers and meet their new furry best friend. First time Barker? Create your pet profile using the pet portal!

    Are you interested in becoming a Barkranger at The Bark in Knoxville, TN? < a href="">Complete an application and you will hear a Bark from us about an interview!