What is a Marker?

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A marker is a tool we use to communicate to our dogs that they just performed a behavior we would like to see them repeat in the future. We can use lots of things for markers, but one that you’re probably already using is verbal praise! What words do you use for verbal praise? “Good Dog” and “Yes” are two common verbal markers, but you can use whatever you’d like.

What’s important is that across your training team, the markers that you use are consistent. Choose a marker that will be easy for everyone on your training team to remember, and easy for your dog to differentiate from other speech that they hear often.

It’s often helpful to begin your training sessions by pairing the marker with the treat. This will help your dog focus on you. To do this, simply say your marker word, and then provide a treat. Repeat this 5-6 times in a row. Avoid asking your dog for any behavior when you practice this. This is just about creating positive associations for the marker word!