Behavior Changes

By Lisa-Anne Manolius | May 05, 2010 ~ Be the 1st to Comment

Behavior Changes

It took me a LONG time, much diligent training and careful management to teach my Kelpie mix Vinnie not to chase my cat Ted, and to get a tug toy instead when he gets the cat-chasing urge. We enjoyed a lengthy stretch of peace at home; dog and cat could both chill out in the same room in close proximity to one another without problems.

Vin Settled With Ted Nearby

Vin Settled With Ted Nearby

I was overjoyed. There’s almost nothing I like better than the company of both my critters at the same time. And the dog-cat harmony at home was no small achievement. Vinnie is a herding mix with high energy and an intense desire to herd moving critters.

But that was then. Continue Reading

There’s No Short Cutting Training

By Lisa-Anne Manolius | May 03, 2010 ~ Be the 1st to Comment

There’s No Short Cutting Training

I should have known better.

Yesterday was Vinnie’s and my first public freestyle performance. We danced in a group routine at a dog festival in a park, with a large audience of dogs and their people, including my husband a.k.a, Vinnie’s “Papa.” (Very corny, I know. But c’mon, I have a hunch you’ve dished up some corny talk to your dog.)

Back to the festival. As soon as we arrived, a little voice in my head said, Uh oh. Vinnie was very excited. He wanted to play off-leash with other dogs, to inhale the scent of grilling meat wafting about and hunt for dropped tidbits. He saw kids playing soccer and wanted to nab their ball. And he was hell-bent on keeping his group – me, him and his Papa – together. Rounding us up is something my dear Kelpie mix has always done, and more intently in new environments. Continue Reading

Veggies-Before-Dessert Approach to Dog Training

By Lisa-Anne Manolius | November 04, 2009 ~ Be the 1st to Comment

Veggies-Before-Dessert Approach to Dog Training

We recently returned to Willowside Ranch for Vinnie’s first herding lesson. He started panting and pacing in the car as soon as we turned off of Highway 1 to Pescadero. The closer we got to the ranch, the more excited he got. By the time we parked the car, he was emitting short quiet whines and scratching at the window. I was certain he knew exactly where we were – the glorious place where he gets to herd sheep.

My husband gamely agreed to be the handler – the human who goes into the pen with dog, sheep and herding trainer. I watched, curious about how you train a herding dog to do his thing under human direction.

Continue Reading

Herding Tales

By Lisa-Anne Manolius | September 21, 2009 ~ 2 Comments

Herding Tales

When people ask me what my dog Vinnie is, I say he’s a herding mutt, a term that up until this summer I’d been using loosely. When we adopted him from a shelter, all we knew of his past was he was found on a dairy farm and his mother was an Australian Kelpie. But as for the rest of his DNA, who knew?

Border Collie herding

As he grew, I became convinced that he was mixed with another herding breed because he acts like one. He’s got their intense energy, smarts, focus and drive; he LOVES to train; and well, he herds. He’s tried to herd our cat and sometimes rounds up other dogs. When he’s out for a hike with his humans and one strays, he runs back and loops around the person until he/she rejoins the group. If given the chance, he’ll also “herd” moving vacuums, mops, brooms or rakes. That’s funny stuff! Continue Reading