Dogs Just Want to Have Fun

By Lisa-Anne Manolius | January 07, 2015 ~ 2 Comments

Dogs Just Want to Have Fun

Ever since he was a pup, Vinnie has loved the beach. His routine is the same at every beach we visit. He races to the water as fast as he can until he’s knee deep in the Pacific. Again and again he leaps over the waves dolphin-style, arcing his body up and down in a U-shape. Then he runs back to his humans to get us to chase him back into the ocean so he can do it all over again.

Vin ocean

Day of Fun at the Beach

At the beach, he is jubilant. You can see it in every jump, in his springy gait, in the huge doggy smile on his face, in every giant play bow he presents to dogs he meets. A beach day is a super day of fun for him so I try to make it happen as often as I can.  When I can’t get to the beach, I make sure his days include other fun stuff, like playtime with other dogs, Vin’s version of soccer, tug matches and scenting games.

I know. You probably came to this blog for serious science-based information on doggy behavior and training. So why the emphasis on fun? Continue Reading

Happy 2012 & Train Your Dog Month!

By Lisa-Anne Manolius | January 05, 2012 ~ 1 Comment

Happy 2012 & Train Your Dog Month!

January is National Train Your Dog month – a grand kick-off to another year with your best furry friend. If you haven’t heard, positive reinforcement training is one of the best ways to enhance your relationship with Rover.

Relationship: the way in which two or more concepts, objects or people are connected, or the state of being connected.

Some may think true relationships exist only between humans, but we do indeed have relationships with our dogs. Continue Reading

The Trouble With Leash Pops

By Lisa-Anne Manolius | May 12, 2011 ~ 4 Comments

The Trouble With Leash Pops

I see it every day, far more often than I care to remember. Someone walks down the street with a dog on leash, yanking and jerking the leash as they go. The dog pulls ahead of the human, the human responds with a swift sharp jerk on the leash. The dog doesn’t sit when asked to, the human pops the leash. The dog stops to sniff a hydrant, the human yanks the leash.

What’s wrong with this picture? Plenty. Leash popping hurts the dog by tightening collar pressure on the dog’s neck. Over time, leash popping can injure the dog’s trachea. Add a choke chain or prong collar into the mix, and the short term pain is worse, and risk of tracheal damage even higher.

There’s more. Leash pops and other painful/forceful tactics don’t teach your dog want you want him to do. Continue Reading

Extinction & Dog Behavior

By Lisa-Anne Manolius | April 26, 2011 ~ 1 Comment

Extinction & Dog Behavior

There’s a pet store in my neighborhood where the kind staff gives all doggy visitors free treats. Naturally it’s one of Vin’s favorite destinations. If he’s within a half-block of the store in any direction he tries to pull towards it. If we walk by the storefront he always wants to go in. I usually give in.

For a long time Vinnie would pull furiously towards the pet store on night time walks especially when his papa stopped at the convenience store a few doors down from the pet place. I worked on training stays with Vin while we waited outside the convenience store but he always had pet store fever and wouldn’t give up on pulling in that direction.

A few months ago I decided to give up that battle. If Vin wanted to go the pet store at night, I let him. I’d stand there silently as he pawed and nosed the door, waiting for him to turn away and leave.

Last week we had a first. Continue Reading

Book Review: A Guide to Living With & Training a Fearful Dog

By Lisa-Anne Manolius | April 08, 2011 ~ 1 Comment

The more I train dogs, the more fearful dogs I encounter. Dogs that are afraid of mailmen, being alone, kids, strangers, other dogs, being handled, traffic noises, novel things they haven’t seen before, things appearing suddenly in the environment . . . the list goes on. One little dog I worked with a few years ago was afraid of so many different things that her guardian was overwhelmed after just a few weeks of life together. She’d asked me for recommendations on books about fearful dogs. How I wish Debbie Jacobs’ A Guide to Living With & Training a Fearful Dog (“Guide”) had been available then! Continue Reading