Thursday, August 12, 2010

Clicker or Marker training

Here is a positive and motivating way you can teach your dog pretty much anything. It takes some patience and consistency, but is great fun for both you and your dog. Basically, you use a simple "yep" or "yes" as a marker for the behavior that you want. The key to marking behavior and developing a new behavior with this method is rewarding each small step and only requiring a small step into the behavior before it is rewarded, building more and more on what you actually are wanting them to do. You use your "marker" word to let them know exactly what you wanted. The dog will learn to associate the "marker" word with incoming food or other means of reward. Say "yep!" or "yes!" so they know it is right and then reinforce it with praise, a treat, or a toy (whatever it is that makes them excited and it a high motivator for them). For example, if you want your dog to touch something with their nose, you first reward them simply for looking at the thing you want them to touch (just wait until they naturally do it) then you reward that multiple times until they get the idea that if they look at it, they get a treat. Next, you would reward them for taking a step towards the object, do that multiple times then reward them for taking two steps...etc etc you probably get the idea. Only work for short periods of time with each task so you don't burn your dog out. You want your dog wanting more at the end of the training session so he is more happy to learn more. Don't expect too much too soon as this can frustrate dogs or discourage them. If used properly and with a positive attitude, this technique makes dogs love to learn anything and this method is very positive and motivating for dogs, it is also useful for adapting to any new behavior you want them to do and really fun for both the dog and for you! (warning: this method may increase your bond with your dog and make you want to teach your dog new things all the time)


Wow, it has been a long time since I posted anything on here. Sorry everybody, I am not the best blogger around. :P Well, I thought and update was in order. Fiona is currently placed with her boy who has Autism, and from what I have heard, is doing very well with him. They seem to have bonded and Fiona is now an official working service dog! It is a wonderful thing and I know she is working hard and making a huge difference in her boys and his family's lives.

The plan was for Fiona, before being placed with her boy to be bred and raise a litter of puppies. That did not work out as she did not want anything to do with the stud dog she was matched with. He was a poodle and well I guess he wasn't her type. I raised Oscar for a while when Fiona was gone trying to be bred. I had a great time with him and am excited to see where his path takes him. He was a very happy learner and loved his training sessions. He bonded with me very quickly and wanted to be next to me at all times. He was a 5 month old puppy at the time and now is is grown to a teenager. I haven't seen him or the other dogs for a while because I have been raising a "puppy" of my own. I gave birth to my daughter on April 1st, 2010 at 2:41pm after 62 hours of labor. I had her at home on my bed and it was the most difficult but most rewarding and empowering things I have ever done. I still am amazed at the strength my body is capable of and the life-giving power it has. The experience truly was wonderful and brought my husband and I together even more as I relied on him through the whole labor and afterwards as my main support. I had Fiona before and during labor as after her coming out of heat, I took her for a while and then she was spayed, so I had her during her healing process. After I gave Fiona back to Joy for her finishing training and placement with her boy, I took a break to raise my daughter in her early months.

I am so ready for another dog to train and spend time on the computer researching dog training methods and watching dog training videos to continue to increase my knowledge. I plan to get involved again here shortly with raising Assistance dogs.