‘All dogs can learn new tricks’
Published 8:28 am Thursday, March 7, 2019
Local offers dog training without use of force, pain
By Brittany Fuller
Mandy Eakins started her business six years ago with the intention to offer the community a full-service dog training and daycare facility that gets results without the use of force or pain.
This spring, Manners Matter will move to a new facility. A commercial building Eakins said she purchased this year on the drag strip in Nicholasville on Industrial Parkway. Eakins husband has worked on the building’s renovations, and the certified trainer said she is eager to move and expand her space and services sometime this May.
“Our goal is to continue to offer the best care for dogs possible with the area’s most highly trained canine caregivers and trainers,” Eakins said. “Sadly, most of our clientele comes from Lexington. We have very few Jessamine County residents as clients. I would love to see that change.”
The number of customers varies between daycare clients, private lesson clients and group class clients, with about 125 currently signed up for services. Currently located at 113 MacArthur Court in Nicholasville, daycare hours are from 7 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Soon, the company is hopeful to offer a board and train option for its clients.
After struggling to find a place to take her own dog for training, Eakins was inspired to open her own business after attending a training conference where a nationally known trainer, Denise Fenzi, told her to “be the trainer you are looking for.”
“Manners Matter is the training facility I wanted for my dogs,” Eakins said. “Our area is lacking in science-based veterinary recommended training. Far too many ‘trainers’ are still using outdated methods like shock collars and prong collars to suppress unwanted behavior in their dogs.”
Starting her training career as a hobby with her first dog, a Jack Russel Mix named Scooter, Eakins went on to work with him for a human remains detection team for local search and rescue. Her career expanded to include a showing at Westminster, agility, obedience, hunt tests and rally obedience. In 2015, Eakins became a certified training partner with the Karen Pryor Academy. In 2016, she earned the FitPaws Master Trainer designation, and in September of 2018, she became a Knowledge Assessed Certified Professional Dog Trainer. She is currently the only trainer in Central Kentucky to hold both the KPA-CTP and CPDT-KA titles.
“Having a well-trained pet means owners are going to enjoy their pet more and have less behavioral issues with their pet,” Eakins said. “Dogs are turned into animal shelters and rescues due to lack of training more than any other reason. Training for a dog should be seen as necessary as vet care. It’s our job as owners to help our dogs live happily and successfully in our homes. Our dogs do the best they can with the information we give them. Training is what gives them the information they need to be a loved and appreciated part of the family.”
Eakins said it is best to start puppies training between eight to 12 weeks old, as soon as the puppy is brought home with at least one set of vaccinations.
“We still have a lot of people that think they can’t start formal training until the puppy has had all their vaccines and that’s just not true,” Eakins said. “For the last 20 years, we have had the information that shows the safety of early training within an environment like Manners Matter Dog Training.”
Dogs range in age from eight weeks to 12-years-old who come to Manners Matter. Group classes start at $185 and are taught most weekday evenings. Soon, the facility will be releasing its April schedule of classes by March 11. In the Basic Manners Class, Eakins teaches the owners how to work with their dogs on the basics of sit, down, stay, coming when called, leash manners and helps them understand how their dog learns. The company’s Puppy Head Start Class focuses on getting puppies off on the right “paw” for being a well-behaved pup and how to safely explore their new world. The facility also offers classes to teach tricks and agility.
“It’s never too late to start training. Old dogs can absolutely learn new tricks,” Eakins said.