Manners Minder Use During Rehabilitation

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By Dr Sophia Yin, DVM

Back in 2004 when I first developed the Treat & Train for the Sharper Image (now the MannersMinder sold by Premier Pet), my official  designated use for the product was to solve unruly behavior that dogs exhibit when guests come to the house. But at the time, I had so many thoughts on how I wanted to use this device. Just imagine what you could do if you could finally reward your dog away from you, right as they were performing the desired behavior, and you could set the exact treat rate? And you could basically follow portions of the protocols that are already on the Treat & Train DVD. The uses were limitless with the most imaginative and experienced trainers recognizing the potential the best.

Here are some examples of how Canine Rehabilitation Specialist and Veterinary Technician, Sarah Johnson used the Treat&Train/ MannersMinder during rehabilitation for her Border Collie, Trooper, after he had TPO surgery on his hip. Sarah has top-performing agility Border Collies and participates in other canine sports too. So getting Trooper back to top athletic condition is foremost in her mind. She currently works at the Andrew Sams Clinic in Mill Valley, CA developing and implementing a canine rehabilitation program and has a video called Pilates for Dogs (


Trooper getting electric stimulation after his hip surgery. Every time the current goes on, his Treat & Train delivers his treats.
Current off.
Current On
Trooper getting his hip iced after TPO surgery with the help of Treat & Train.

Watch Trooper use the Treat & Train while his hip is being iced and to train him and reward him for walking on a treadmill post surgery.

Another great use is for training dogs to put up with cage rest. That is, before their surgery, use the Treat&Train/MannersMinder to train them to lie calmly for extended periods of time. Then once they have surgery you'll have a way to keep them calm!


Sarah's Border Collie, Cruiser, has titles in obedience, sheep herding and agility.  She has earned her MACH, ADCH, and lifetime Bronze titles. In 2002, Cruiser was Top Ten in both Standard and Jumpers.  In 2003 at 9 years old, she was top 10 in Standard, Jumpers and Snookers. In 2004, at ten years of age Cruiser won 1st place in Veteran's Grand Prix and 3rd place at the Incredible Dog Challenge Nationals.


How do you use the MannersMinder or Treat&Train? Please share!


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6 responses to “Manners Minder Use During Rehabilitation

  1. My rescue dog has severe travel anxiety and has to travel in a completely covered crate or else he runs in windows trying to get at passing cars. This made it impossible to actually train him! My behaviorist suggested the Manners Minder and I don’t know what I’d do without it.

    I first used it to teach him to lie calmly on a mat, then in on the mat in his travel crate in the house, then moved it out to the car. To give him something to do when I couldn’t see him, I taught him to push a button that made a noise to get a reward from the Manners Minder. Now I can do whole training sessions without being able to see my big guy! Its been three months and we have gone from hysterical screaming and lunging to lying calmly in his crate for up to 20 minutes of travel.

  2. I frequently look for information about dogs since I have never been without a dog all my life. Though I have never needed this kind of service, but this seems impressive. It’s nice to know it’s there if you ever need it. Thanks for this post

  3. My dog has separation anxiety and his behavioral specialist felt it might help him when we leave the house. He seems to enjoy getting his dinner with treats and holds focus until the food stops. However, the machine jams up every time we use it. The treats fit and the machine is cleaned after every use. We can’t leave him alone with a machine that jams. Any ideas? I We have tried many drug combinations and this is our last hope.

  4. Id’ try a food and test it out. Fill the MM only 1.5 cups and then continuing dispensing until you have about 1/4 cups. When you find a food that doesn’t jam for this amount, that’s the food to use. I use wellness in my MM.

    Also really tiny kibble can work well too. (such as the puppy-sized kibble where you get 5 kibble dispensing each time).


  5. Sophia, thank you for responding. Could you give me some brand names of really tiny kibbie that works with the machine? We are now working with small-size Adult Eukanuba and Little Jacs for small dogs.

    1. I use Hills Science Diet Active Longevity (Mature/Senior) and it works perfectly with the larger kibble tray. It kept getting jammed with his old food (which was in the shape of flat squares), but the kibble is little balls with this new brand and it no longer jams at all. The Treat & Train has been such a godsend in treating my pup’s separation anxiety. He now lies down calmly at the machine – good luck!

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