- Mental challenge to your dog. Giving this information to your dog makes them think. With clicker training, they are thinking about what they might have just done to get them that noise and then reward. With Verbal Markers, these are directions that make them think about what they need to do with the feedback they were just given.
- When you get going, you can use these to give information from a distance.
- Great way to bond and interact with your dog.
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Clicker Equipment in Dog Training:
A clicker is a device that makes a sound when you press it. The video on the left is of a standard clicker. These can be used to quickly mark what it is that you want your dog to do.
At the very beginning of using a clicker to train your dog, the first step is usually to simply treat your dog with a food reward after every click. This is transferring the reward of food to the noise of the clicker. In dog training we call this a bridge. This can signal that a reward is forth coming, or as you get more
- It is a fast and easily delivered noise.
- A unique noise that is different than the many words you are using.
- Great timing when used with shaping commands.
- Great for trick training and capturing moments that you want repeated.
- Certain disabilities could make this training hard to impossible for some people.
- This can occasionally be problematic if you happen to have a noise sensitive dog.
- It is an additional piece of equipment that you need to carry on you to use.
- Treats will also be needed to use, though possibly not forever.
- Sometimes dogs can get a little anxious to get the answer correct and thus get the reward.
- As you advance, it can get frustrating if you have not figured out your timing and consistency.
Verbal markers allow the trainer or dog owner to give more than one type of feedback. For instance a common string of verbal markers uses three words, and is designed to give the following information:
- No = That is not what I am looking for OR try again.
- Good = That is what I am looking for, and keep going.
- Yes = Task complete and release. (also usually the one that indicates an upcoming food reward)
I use these verbal markers in all sorts of different combinations for a range of different tasks, tricks, and obedience exercises. I like that these can be used when the dog is in motion and working on something for or with you.
- No additional equipment needs to go with you.
- Provides more than one kind of feedback.
- Gives your dog a mental challenge to know what these verbal directions mean and interpret them
- Easy to use with both food and toy rewards.
- Great interactive bonding time with your dog.
- You need to be able to use your voice, which might not be possible for some people.
- Timing may not be as immediate or exacting as clicker training.
- Food or toys are additional items that make verbal markers more meaningful in the beginning and also as you advance
My dog's faces light up at a "Good Boy" or "Good Girl" They have been conditioned to know this means they have done a good job with timing, consistency, and my attitude. Seeing joy and accomplishment on my dogs' faces really cheers me up personally and gives me all the good feels. Also, I love to see my dogs' think something through and then accomplish it. Remember, we give our dogs the opportunities to amuse themselves and challenge themselves. They do not have the access to transportation or entertainment that we do. Keeping your dog thinking and active is beneficial to them both mentally and physically. Try these out with your dogs and have fun!