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One of the most important things in dog training is rewarding your friend correctly. Petting and praise are both good ways to support your pooch in doing a good job, but undoubtedly the most productive form of encouragement is in treats (or play for some dogs.)

Condition your dog to a specific sound so that when they hear it, they anticipate the reward to follow. You can either speak the word “YES” or you can use a clicker. How we do this is very simple:

1) Say YES or CLICK
2) Deliver the treat to the dog

Make sure that the sound comes directly before you reward the treat. The more times you repeat this, the more your dog will associate the sound and treaDog Trainingt together. After 100+ repetitions, he will start to react to the word as though you had just given him a treat, even if you hadn’t! His heart will beat faster in anticipation, he will start to salivate and he may become more excited. This is what we call “charging up our markers.” The more the marker is charged, the more you can use the click or “yes” without giving a treat. But be careful, don’t do this too much! The more you use the sound without a reward, the less your dog will have a reaction to it, and eventually will lose all connection! Try to spend more time with the reward than without.

If the picture painted seems a bit blurry, imagine your phone battery. When you plug it into the wall, the battery charges. When it’s full, you have the choice to unplug it, but the more you use it when it’s not plugged it, the more the battery goes down. It’s the same way with our markers. Plugging in the phone is the same as saying “yes” or clicking with a treat. However, the battery will go down if you say “yes” or click and don’t provide the physical reward. Keep it balanced! This is going to be the most vital part in your training adventures. A solid foundation is a must, and this is key to communicating with your pup.

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