Our Training Philosophy
There are many training methods that reap successful results; however, we, at Elbe Academy, believe that reward based training should be the primary method when introducing or maintaining behavior. We believe that the why in animal behavior is just as, or more, important than the what. We can better understand the appropriate way to alter behaviors when we address them under the assumption that they are an product of a physiological or emotional need. We strive to help you better understand your canine companion, that way we can move towards clearer communication and a stronger relationship. Because this is our goal, we choose to follow the LIMA (Least Intrusive, Minimally Aversive) approach.
We offer group classes, individual lessons and private in-home sessions. Not sure if we’re a good fit? All students are welcome to sign up for an orientation or private consultation prior to training with no commitment required.
Canine Performer / Trick Class
Rowdy Rovers / Reactivity
Specific Skills or Behavior Guidance
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?
|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.|
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!