Among Puppy Culture protocols “manding” is one of the most genius ones. It is a phenomenal foundation for effective communication between a puppy and humans. “Manding” is an automatic sit in front of a person the puppy is interacting with. It is not a required behavior, or a rule, but rather an acceptable behavior taught to replace jumping on a person. It is not the same as a “sit” command. Think of manding as sitting when the puppy would be otherwise jumping up.
A puppy is naturally predisposed, programmed if you will, to jump on a dog or person they are soliciting interaction from. Excitable jumping is charming in a teeny puppy but gets old fast in an adult dog. As the author of Puppy Culture Jane Killion puts it, manding is a voice given to a puppy. Now, he can tell you he wants to interact and do it in a welcome way, without jumping on you or an x-pen as you’re approaching, for the rest of his life. He is no longer in danger of being pushed off or shut down while either asking for attention or responding to your call for it.
The gallery of photos below is an honest, spontaneous illustration of what it looks like when puppies use manding as automatically as they would use running up to a person to paw and jump, an illustration that came about totally by accident. Our friend Donna Stein, who is a talented amateur photographer, was visiting us and brought her camera to take some portraits of puppies. While I was readying dinner for us in the kitchen Donna went downstairs to the puppy room to take some photos. I was busy with food prep, so I only peripherally registered that Donna was making lots of sounds to apparently elicit puppies’ attention.
Next day Donna sent me several gorgeous photos of the puppies and as I flipped through them in a sequence I realized that the puppies were manding every time Donna asked for their attention. Donna was making high pitched noises and puppies were manding immediately. Every action shot, catching puppies in the middle of play, is only a couple of seconds away from them manding, and you can see the process unfolding right before your eyes. Thank you Donna for these terrific pictures!