Marker-Based Training Rules

There are a few rules when it comes to marker-based training. Keep these in mind as you work with your dog.

  1. Only mark once! The marker is what tells your dog that what they were doing in the moment they heard the click is correct and that the reward is on its way. If you think your dog didn’t hear you, don’t mark again – simply feed as if they heard you. 
  2. Don’t default on payroll! If you mark, you must reward. If you mark and the food does not appear within 5 seconds or so, the dog will feel as though the marker does not mean anything and it will be futile to use in training. 
  3. The clicker is not a remote control; it does not need to be pointed at your dog in order for it to work! Keep it behind your back or at your side when in use. Clicking too close to a dog’s ears/face may cause them to find it aversive and avoid it in the future. 
  4. Keep your food IN your hand OUT of the treat pouch until after the mark happens! Clean mechanics mean fast training. If you’re standing around with your hand in the bag of food, where do you think your dog’s attention will be? 

Now you can move on to Lesson 3 and Practice your Skills!