A Dog’s Home Away From Home

Tracy Mullineaux and friends at WagMore University. Photocs courtesy Tracy Mullineaux

By Tracy Mullineaux
Owner, WagMore University

Please tell us about your business.

I officially opened WagMore University in Puhi in February. We’re doing day care and cagefree boarding, as well as training classes in the evenings for dogs.

I also do board-and-train. It’s all positive, motivational-based. We’re doing a little bit of grooming, bathing and nail trims, too.

So if you work all day and your dog is stuck at home alone, this is a really great option. If you’re going on vacation and your dog can’t go with you, this is a really great option.

It’s like a home away from home with 24-hour care. If they’re boarders, somebody sleeps here with them, they’re never left alone. It’s very homelike and clean.

What amenities do you have for dogs at your facility?

There is an outer yard that wraps around the building with synthetic grass made for dogs, and we wash it every single day. There’s playground equipment and also agility equipment from my classes. There are some kiddie pools and futons to hang out on, too. We have a little bit of everything.

Mullineaux believes in positive training

What would a dog’s typical day be like?

Drop-offs happen anywhere between 6 and 9 a.m. When they get here, they usually play and we take them out in the yard for a bit. Generally, they’ll play really hard, and then they’ll lie out by the fan. Then they’ll play really hard and then they’ll nap. It cycles throughout the day. I try to make sure they nap for at least one to two hours a day they’re like kids, they need down time. Someone’s always monitoring the group to make sure they’re not getting into trouble or getting out of control. I also have video cameras so people can peek in while their dogs are playing and watch them.

Please tell us about the type of training you offer.

We do group training classes in the evenings and weekends. I also do board-and-train. So if you go on a trip and you want me to train them while they’re here, that’s an option. They’ll learn to lie on a mat on queue and stay there until released. They’ll learn to sit and stay until released. They also can learn to pick up certain items and bring them to you. I’ll teach them some useful things. Also, if you have any specific issues that you want me to work on, I’d be more than happy to cater it to what you want. It’s very flexible. Also, classes are very personal and are maxed out at six people.

Why do you do what you do?

I’ve been training animals for about 15 years. I spent a long time working with horses and I decided to switch to dogs, so I went to the Karen Pryor Academy for dog trainers. When I moved to Kaua’i I discovered there was really nothing like this here.

What sets your business apart?

I’m the only one who does cage-free boarding and the only one with a facility that does classes.

What’s the most rewarding aspect of your business?

Watching the relationships with the people change in the training. Watching people really start to understand their dog and build that connection. I really love seeing the dogs’ behavior turn around and become better citizens. I love that.

What’s the most challenging aspect of your business?

The biggest challenge is the resistance to this style of training. It’s a different mindset. It’s a little bit more about a relationship, fun and about getting the dog to want to do what you want, and a lot less about dominance and being alpha and controlling them. It’s about parenting the dog, not dominating the dog. People tend to be resistant to it at first until they really understand the whole science behind it. It’s based on 80 years of scientific research.

Do you have any pets?

Yes, I have two dogs, Jasper, a German shepherd, and Sura, a Border collie and Australian shepherd mix.

1596 Haleukana Street Bay 245-2260 www.wagmoreu.com