Manners Middle School / Puppy Manners

Welcome to your Puppy Manners class! This course is designed for puppies between 4 and 6 months of age. During the next few weeks, you will learn how to properly communicate to your puppy as we focus on laying a solid foundation in creating a well-mannered, responsive dog. In addition to nurturing the bond between you and your dog, you will learn or get a refresher on the core cues and also learn new skills like “leave it”, “wait”, “go to place” and hand targeting. This class will also cover hot puppy topics like hyperactivity, jumping, play biting, mental stimulation and chewing. The following information is laid out in a week-by-week basis.

Our Training Philosophy

There are many training methods that reap successful results; however, we, at Elbe Academy, believe that positive, reward based methods are the way to go! For dogs and humans alike, behaviors that are rewarded will be repeated. In addition to training new skills, reward based training helps strengthen the bond between the dog and its owner. We believe this method creates a solid, positive association that creates a safe and lasting relationship. Reward based training is not only just as effective, but more efficient and holds significantly less negative side-effects. Our goal is to educate our pet owner to better understand their pets, that way there is clear commutation and progress in our everyday lives.

Class Focus

In our Puppy Manner class, we will be focusing on routine puppy behavior, beginner cues and over all setting up a good educational foundation.

In the next six weeks, your puppy will learn:

  • To “Come’ when called (recall)
  • To “Sit” on cue
  • To “Down” on cue
  • “Stand”
  • To “Stay” while in a “Sit” or a “Down”
  • “Wait” at doors or in the car
  • Loose leash walking
  • Hand targeting
  • “Place” on cue
  • “Off”
  • “Leave it”

In addition to these skills, we will also discuss the following topics in class:

  • Training Tool and Techniques
  • Dog Body Language
  • Hyperactivity / Frustration Behaviors
  • Lifestyle Training
  • Mental Stimulation

What to Bring to Class
For our puppy manners class, you will need to bring the following:

  • A hungry dog – We recommend not feeding your pup prior to their training session. This helps the dog stay focused, and makes your food based rewards much more worth it!
  • A flat collar or harness.
  • A 4 or 6ft. leash. Please no retractable leashes
  • A variety of high value, small training treats
  • A treat pouch


Tips for Training at Home

There are a few things to remember taking the skills learned in class and generalizing them to your home environment.

The first thing to remember when training at home is that your training sessions should be short and precise. You dog will learn and retain more information if you train a few times a day for a few minutes at a time.

Another good rule to transition your training at home is to remember, “nothing is free”. Before feeding, you can take a handful of your dog’s dinner and ask the dog to sit, down or any other you may be working on. You can ask your dog to sit and wait before exiting the house, or before putting on their leash to go outside. You may be surprised at how quickly your dog learns to respond to these cues!

The last thing to remember is to relax and have fun! Training is a process, and by becoming frustrated, irritated or impatient you will do more harm than good. If you keep a positive, happy demeanor, so will your dog, and you’ll both have a great time!

Using a Marker Word or Clicker

A verbal or audible marker is a sound that allows your dog to understand the exact behavior (what they’re doing at the time of the sound) that is being desired. Often times, verbal markers are used in a short, high pitched manor to be quick and precise. These markers can be anything from “Yes!” to a unique sound.

A clicker is used in the exact same manner. Prior to training with a clicker, you must allow your dog to associate the clicker with wonderful things. This is called “charging your clicker”. The most important rule to remember when beginning clicker training is that every time you click, you treat. Click, treat. Click, treat. This gives the clicker the association it need to be effective. To load the clicker, you are simply going to start associating the sound to food. You can do this is small sessions throughout the day. Simply click, and throw a treat. Repeat this over and over, and it will not take long until the sound of the click anticipates the treat for the dog!

Using the Push-Drop-Stick Method

The Push-Drop-Stick method is a good way to gauge your dog’s readiness to increase difficulty when learning new behaviors. This method consists of doing five repetitions of the behavior that is still being learned, and then deciding to increase, decrease or keep the difficulty they same depending on the outcome.

Push–go on to the next level of difficulty

Drop–drop back down to the previous level of difficulty

Stick–stay at the current level of difficulty and do more repetitions


  How Many Did He Get Right
Out of Five Repetitions?
Do What? Why?
Push Five out of five


Make it Harder. He’s proven himself to be proficient at the current level.
Drop Zero, one or two out of five Make it Easier. He’s about to quit—this level is too hard for him right now.
Stick Three or four out of five Do another set of five as this level of difficulty. He doesn’t need to drop but he’s not quite ready for a push.