Chase me-PLEASE!- Erna & Edward
When I set out to train a dog I have several goals in mind. First and foremost I want a Happy Dog that I can trust. Next, I add in distractions. The sum of the parts is a dog that sees me as the source of Love, Food, Shelter, Work, Animation, and Consistency. To maintain these goals and continue growing my Dog’s skill set, it is very important that my dog be motivated to work. For a dog to be amped up about working, we need to have a rewards system in place. However, if every time my dog completes a task I reward him, he may learn to put himself on break after each executed skill. For this reason, I put in place a set of Postitive and Negative Markers.
When teaching a new skill, I will indeed reward immediately! But as we progress through the skill and start adding new ones, we want to begin linking them together. This is where I want to let my dog know that he is doing well, but that we are not done with the skill SET. A Postitive marker is simply a verabl or non-verbal cue that lets my dog know that he is performing the command properly. I like to use the word “Good”. So as I may want my dog to Heel for a spell and then begin weaving between my legs, I will stroke my dogs head while he is heeling and give the “Good” Marker while maintaining the behavour. Then I will bridge the Heel into the Weave command and again give the “Good” Marker. Only after I am done with the SET, will I then Mark the completed exercise with a “All Done” Marker and put my dog on a break.
The Same applies to the Negative Marker. I will start by teaching my dog a single new skill. When my dog does not perform the skill as I desire, I will simply state “Unh-Uh”. There is no negative tonality behind this subtle grunt, it is just a Marker that my dog will learn to understand. Following the Negative Marker, I will restate my command and show my dog how to perform the new skill. I will repeat the Positive and Negative Markers until the desired Skill SET has been achieved. A dog will very quickly pick up on the difference between the two Markers and make an emotional connection to their individual meanings.
There is value in both of these Markers. What is important is that you are consistent and maintain a positive attitude and tone even while stating the Negative Marker. It has been my experience that when we blurt out a “NO!”, it is much more difficult for our dogs to comprehend because they are busy trying to figure out what is wrong with you. When we yell, hit, kick, scream, yank on our dog, bribe or intimidate, the dog is challenged with the task of figuring out what our inconsistent human behavour is all about. That is simply too much for an animal. This is why I repeat, “less is more” a lot when teaching my clients how to train their dogs to be Happy Dogs, Under Control around Distractions.
For more imformation about this article or our training, please contact me at 425.405.5SIT or fill out our contact form for your Complimentary In-home Evaluation and Demonstraction.
Serving: Monroe, Marysville, Lake Stevens, Everett, Snohomish, Mukilteo, Sultan, Edmonds, Shoreline, Lake Forest Park, Lynnwood, Mill Creek, Maltby, Mountlake Terrace, Kenmore, Bothell, Woodinville, Duvall, Carnation, Sammamish, Redmond, Bellevue, Kirkland, Juanita, Issaquah, Medina, Mercer Island, Seattle, Clyde Hill, Laurelhurst, Greenlake, Renton, Auburn, Kent, Federal Way, Maple Valley, Tacoma, Puyallup, Tukwila, Fife, Bonney Lake, Pacific, Des Moines
You must be logged in to post a comment.