27. Jun, 2015

Timing in Training and Marker Queues

When we train our dogs it's important that we consider our timing when using correction and reward. If you are a good team this should come naturally but sometimes when we do not pay attention to the timing it can hinder our progress as a team, as it's a really important component if your dog is to fully understand what you want from them. If you learn how to read your dog you can tell when a mistake will be made and use reward to avoid it but far to many of us don't pay attention to the signs and therefore correction must enter the equation at the time the mistake happens. I teach positive and negative marker queues which, when taught correctly, remove the need for physical correction.

The words must each be used in a uniform sound every time they are spoken. So, for me, when I don't want a behaviour or the dog makes a mistake I would to start with, use a physical correction, if the behaviour warrants it and at the same time use the marker queue NO in a low tone and when the exercise is corrected by the dog or both of us together I use the word YES in a happy high pitch sound which will be instantly followed by some kind of reward, food or ball for example.

I also teach the markers using another exercise, which is by holding a treat in my left hand and holding the hand out flat to the dog, when the dog moves towards the treat I shut my hand and say No. I continue this process until the dog moves back and ignores the treat of it's own accord. Then I will immediately offer them a treat from the other hand and let them take it whilst using the marker queue YES. This way the dog will learn that when you say NO it has a negative outcome and when you say YES it has a positive outcome. The exercises above must be practiced regularly if they are be fully understood by your dog and I have found them very useful in my training. We will be covering this topic in class on Wednesday Evening! Keep up the good work and very well done to all of your for your hard work.