Lesson 1 – Condition the Sound

We need for our dog to understand the connection between the sound of the mark and the food arriving. Without this connection in their brain, marker-based training will not be successful. In order to do this, we must rely on good ol’ Pavlov. The bell rings and the dogs get fed. Eventually, the bell predicts the food. You will do the same with your chosen marker whether it is a clicker or a verbal marker such as “Yes!”. 

Watch the video below and follow along with the following tools and your dog:

  • A clicker (or a verbal marker)
  • A treat pouch, fanny-pack, or deep pocket that is easily accessible
  • Your dog’s meal portion or a baggie of pea-sized, high-value food rewards 

You may choose to do it all in one sitting as I have done, or you may choose to mark and treat randomly throughout an afternoon. Neither option is better or worse than the other.  

Now you can move on to Lesson 2 and Clean up your Mechanics!