Here is some optional "Homework" for you to do! This "homework" will help with your progress in training, and help 'grasp' your dogs mind. The more things you can do with your dog... the more they will look at you for what you are going to do next.
We believe that combining obedience training and marker training is most effective way to train our furry friends.
Understand positive reinforcement. Positive reinforcement is a method of training based around giving rewards for good behavior, instead of punishment for bad behavior. Marker training is a kind of positive reinforcement training, because you do not punish or physically control the dog. Instead, you offer rewards for good behaviour We will be using marker words instead of clickers for this. Some example of words that can be used are "YES" "GOOD" "THERE". Use something you can say quickly, and is only one word.
Understand how marker training works. The marker/word is intended to tell your dog when he or she does something correctly. Once you've trained your dog to associate the marker/word with rewards, he or she will quickly learn that when (s)he performs a behavior and you mark the behaviour, (s)he will receive a reward.
Remember that the Marker is not the reward. The marker is intended to mark which behavior is correct, not to reward a behavior. You'll have to reward your dog with a treat after you use your marker word, because the treat is the reward.
Why we don't use clickers? We find when owners are holding a leash, treats and trying to teach their dog something new it can be VERY overwhelming to get them to hold a clicker as well. Stats also show that 10-20% of dogs are scared/unsure/fearful of clickers. So why not use a word, and that way you will never be caught with out your marker. (Because the marker is you!)
Charging your mark/Teaching your dog your marker word. This is how you will teach your dog to associate the marker with a reward. Simply say your marker word in a clear crisp voice (don't say anything else) and give your dog a treat. If you repeat this frequently, your dog will soon learn to associate the marker/word with a reward.
When you marker train, use very small treats. You'll want to use a soft treat that your dog can eat quickly. You can use thinly sliced hot dog, small pieces of cheese, or very small training treats - use a delicious treat at first.
Practice your timing. Correct timing is essential to marker training: remember, the word marks the correct behavior. For example, if you're trying to train your dog to sit, marking after your dog has already gotten up from the sitting position is going to train him/her to stand on command! Try to say your marker word during the desired behavior, not after it is completed. Don't be dismayed if your pet stops the behaviour when it hears the marker word - the word is also your dog's signal to stop the behavior, like saying "Good job, that'll do!"
Understand how to use shaping. If you're trying to train your dog to fetch a beer from the fridge, for example, you don't expect your dog to get a beer for you on the first try. Instead, train small steps at a time - training your dog to open the fridge, to hold a beer can, etc. - and eventually create the entire behavior. This is known as "shaping" a behavior.
To better understand how to use shaping, try playing the shaping game. Find a willing friend, and tell the friend that you are going to teach him/her to perform an action using shaping. Decide on a behavior (but don't tell the friend what it is!) and ask your friend to walk around and do random things in the hopes that one behavior is correct. Your job is to recognize small behaviors that you can build up to create the complete behaviour.
For example, you can "train" your friend to flip a switch. Start by using your marker word when your friend walks in the direction of the switch. Continue rewarding him or her for walking towards the switch, until s/he reaches the wall. Next, reward him or her for touching the wall. Soon your friend will realize that flipping the switch is the correct behavior - mark and reward her! You can reward human friends with smarties/skittles/chocolate...etc.
Remember not to punish your friend (or your dog) if she or he performs a wrong action. If your subject does something wrong, just ignore it and wait until (s)he does something correct to reward, helping him or her if necessary.
Learn how to add a cue to a behavior. Once you've successfully shaped a behavior, you'll have to learn how to add a cue to the behavior. Depending on your dog, after you've repeated the action a number of times, tell your dog the cue. If your dog doesn't immediately do the correct behavior, help your dog (e.g., tapping the ground if you're trying to make your dog lie down).
Have fun! Enjoy bonding with your dog, learning more about marker training, and - of course - showing off to your friends. Stay positive and have fun marker training your dog!
Its VITAL that when our dogs are on the right track when we are teaching them something new, that we really let them know that we like it.
Don't expect perfection, expect progress.
Watch Me: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d6PogCb_mLc (You can just use a marker word instead of a clicker)
Touch: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RWSJVwZybwo (You can just use a marker word instead of a clicker)
Spin: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=67x0EhX7Wto (You can just use a marker word instead of a clicker)
Crate Games: (Staring yours truly and our cute little pooch) http://youtu.be/KgEhPI7b5B8