Markers – Bad Dog Agility Academy


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  • says:

    thank you Jennifer for the video. Your examples and how you would use each made great sense. Went back and listened to the podcast again. I have given those inadvertent markers, example “yes” for a super weave entry just the other day in the back yard. And no surprise, Copper Sun came out of the poles looking for his tennis ball. “Yes” means “reward”. What about a “continue what you are doing, that’s marvelous” kind of marker? maybe saying ‘good’ with drawing out the vowel sounds? Have you used one of those? do you think there would be value in having one? I think the hardest part would be to train myself to offer clarity :-).

    • Jennifer Crank says:

      Scientifically, a “keep going” marker does not work. No different than the fact that you aren’t going to work a 40 hour week just for your boss to say “good work” with no compensation. The only way for it be mean “your doing it right” to to reward after you say it. Otherwise it is just words coming out of you mouth. “Good” means nothing if not followed by a reward. And if you reward then it becomes a marker.

      All that aside, I do think (just me, not science) the tone of our voice, not specific to what what we say, can do a lot. I can see my dog thinking/questioning and I will say, in a high pitched tone, “that’s it” and they will get excited and do it faster. It is not a conscious marker. I have never trained my dog to those words but I am an emotional trainer and it just happens. No different than if I say “Opps” my dogs will often stop what they are doing.

      So I think you can talk and say thing to encourage your dog to continue, but don’t confuse emotion with markers 😉

      • says:

        makes perfect sense. thanks. I guess our dogs learn how to accommodate our emotional reactions – thank goodness for that!

        • Jennifer Crank says:

          You can see a lot of my emotional interactions in the 2×2 diaries. I recorded every moment of our training. You will hear a lot of talking that isn’t markers but makes me feel better 😉

  • Claire says:

    Jennifer this is something I would like to follow with CharLee (5 months) from the start. I listened to the Bad Dog Agility podcast on markers.

    For Andy, my other dog, I use ‘free’ as a release to go to food from my hand, food on the floor and to go on to other obstacles from a stopped contact on a course. When I click he stays in place and I go to him with the reward, like you do.

    If I use ‘take’, ‘find’, ‘get it’ and the beep from a Treat and Train, would I still use ‘free’ to release to the next obstacle from a stopped contact on course? I guess what I am asking is how does the dog learn to release to a non food or toy reward, like continuing on with obstacles on course?

    I release Andy to food and non food rewards using only ‘free’ but I wonder if you would give me your thoughts on transitioning all of your markers to use on course in the future. Thanks so much.

    • Jennifer Crank says:

      Great question! From a contact obstacle you would just release with the next obstacle. If he is on a 2o2o and the tunnel is the next obstacle, you’d just say “tunnel.” Same on the startline. Just release by saying “jump”. I bet Andy would do this even if you was trained with a release.

      This about if you were going from a sit to a down. You would say “sit” and then you would say “down.” You wouldn’t say “Free, down”. This is no different. Once cue trumps the next.

      If the contact were the last obstacle of the sequence then you would release with your food or toy marker…”find” or “get it”.

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