Do you speak dog? I didn't think so, but we can learn to communicate so that it feels like we do! One of the handiest communication systems in dog training is Marker Training. It's easy to do and assists so much. As mentioned in previous blogs, timing is so important when training your dog. And this is where marker training can assist. It can help with training errors when our timing is off. Marker Training is sometimes referred to as bridging because it allows you to bridge the gap between the action and the reward. In simple terms you don't have to have the treat in your dogs mouth the minute his/her butt hits the ground on a sit command.
When I train The Marker, I use the word YES, others use clickers or another word, it really doesn't matter what you do or say as long as you always use the same marker. Consistency is key. By doing this we are conditioning our dog to associate a word or a click or a whistle or what ever you choose to use otherwise know as "The Marker" with a reward making this word or whatever you use "The Marker" the positive. The aim is to get your dog conditioned to associate the reward with "The Marker" so that you don't have to be Quick Draw Magraw to deliver the reward.
Command (ie. sit) + Action (dog sits) = Reward (chicken)
Training equation + Marker Training
YES (The Marker/bridge) = Positive
Command (ie. sit) + Action (dog sits) = YES (Positive) = reward (chicken)
If you use a word then keep the word and tone of your voice consistent every time. When I say YES, I always have an excited infliction in the tone of my voice so that my dogs know that I am super happy they just did what I asked them to do, plus I can maintain the consistent tone because I know I use my happy voice. I also use a word because I don't always have a clicker handy but I always have my loud mouth.
Marker Training is a great tool, especially if you are doing any training at a distance where you can't immediately reach your dog to reward. It allows you to be able to be concise with your timing. You don't want to be giving your dog a piece of chicken when he/she has sat but you're handing over the chicken as your dog stands up. Your dog will associate standing with the sit command if your timing is off like this.
Marker training is also great for Muddy Pawz FIT-DOG TRAINING because sometimes it's hard to reward when our dog does something awesome, so we can shout out YES and then catch up and reward if we are out running off lead..
So on your mark, get set, GO! Get training and lets build the best communication system together and watch that bond grow.
Thanks for reading and please contact us if you would like anything covered in future blogs.
Emma and Ayla