The Use of a Marker
Everywhere you read about Dog Training you’ll see
that TIMING & CONSISTANCY are mentioned.
TIMING is referring to the timing of your MARKER.
A MARKER is a sound that let’s your dog know they just did the right thing and a reward is coming.
CONSISTANCY means you use the same word/sound/command/hand signal and that your Rules are always the same.
Animal trainers for years have used a MARKER, be it a whistle or a word for Dolphins, Whales, Bears, Elephants or Lions.
I am sure most of you have heard of Clicker Training which is becoming more and more popular with dog owners and trainers, the Clicker still falls into the MARKER Category.
It is still a sound that let’s your dog know they just did the right thing and a reward is coming.
However, after 25+ years of teaching people how to train their dogs, I know that having that CLICKER to hand at all times, just does not happen. You said Sit, your dog did and now you are patting your pockets trying to find the Clicker, the moment for Marking has past and thus the opportunity to confirm your dog just did the right thing.
What you always have to hand is your VOICE, as a marker is a sound, you could just as easily use your voice over a Clicker or Whistle.
So what sound do you make……………………..
As it’s natural to say YES, when something is right, YES would be the obvious choice for us humans, but we want that sound to be just for our dogs, so they know each time they hear it, it was solely directed at them.
So I suggest we say “YESSSSSSS”, unless of course you go around saying YESSSSSS, to others, which in this day and age is unlikely, with all our slang of Yep’s, and OK’s.
YESSSS also falls into how dogs understand sounds, the Y is a little high squeaky in tone, therefore Praise/Play sound, the nice long SSSSSSS, makes it very different from YES.
Try it say “YES” now say “YESSSSSS”.
Timing of this MARKER is very important, you need to issue it the very second you get the correct behaviour.
The better you are at MARKING the faster your dog learns behaviours.
I must add here I do love clicker training, BUT, only for those handler’s/owner’s whom are proficient and confident and know to have that Clicker handy and are great at timing it’s use. A skill that comes with time and practise.