Positive Reinforcement Training
Elaina trains using the principles of positive reinforcement, shaping behaviors using operant conditioning and/or changing behavior using counter-conditioning and desensitization. Science based research has proven that positive reinforcement training is the most effective technique as animals repeat behaviors when they have favorable consequences.
Elaina believes that the foundation of positive reinforcement training stems from developing a strong, positive relationship with your pet and being consistent with them so they know what is excepted of them. She has found the most effective way to do this is by helping the owner to develop an enrichment schedule that meets their dog's needs and provides them with the appropriate balance of mental and physical exercise that meets their individual needs.
As you may notice Elaina uses the term “behaviors” instead of “commands”. That is because when you train using positive reinforcement you and your pet are working together as a team using clear communication to modify/train behaviors not in a dictating relationship where the owner just orders commands. Would you rather do something for someone who is barking orders at you or forces you do to something or an amazing teacher who has taken the time to build a relationship with you and has taught you what is expected of you?
Elaina loves to work with rescue dogs who are aggressive, fearful, anxious, and/or nervous and helps give them second lease on life. She thinks the key to their success is to get to the root of the problem and determine the cause (triggers) of the dog's stress or anxiety. These triggers are not always obvious and can include, but are not limited, to anything such as punishment-based training, adapting to changes in a new household, pain, lack of opportunities to engage in certain behaviors, hostile relationships between pets and humans. From there she works with the owners to determine whether the trigger should be eliminated or whether it would be best to change the way the dog views the stimuli/event that is causing stress. Her goal is to then set the owners up for success by teaching them how to handle any new triggers, if they may encounter any, how to bring their pet's stress level back down, and how to refocus their animal's mind.
Elaina has trained a variety of animals such as dogs, cats, dolphins, river otters, nurse sharks, and even a guinea pig, so she knows that ALL animals can be trained using positive reinforcement!