The Mannerly Canine System – Marker Training

Shawn Reed Dog Training, Puppy Training Leave a Comment

Mannerly Canine uses a system called marker training. Essentially, the dog learns a series of words so we can then communicate with the dog on when they’re right, when we want them to keep doing what they’re doing, when we want them to try again and when they’re wrong.

Dogs see and learn in pictures. Markers allow us to capture those moments right away so the dog can learn the quickest and in the most efficient manner.


“Yes” means the dog was correct, they’re all done and they can come get their reward. This marker terminates the behavior. They can stop sitting, downing, staying on their bed, etc.

Example: I ask my dog to sit. When his or her butt hits the ground I say “yes”. The dog is then allowed to get out of the sit. I then reward with food, a toy or praise.

“Ok” is similar to “yes”, but no reward follows. Eventually we will not reward the dog for any and everything. As the dog fully understands his or her training we move to a random reinforcement schedule. When not rewarding we will use “ok”.

Example: I ask my dog to wait at the door before I let him or her out to go potty. When the dog is waiting patiently, I say “ok”. The dog is then allowed to go through the doorway. I’m not going to use food or a toy for this. Going outside is a life reward. Meaning the reward to the dog is going outside to relieve him or herself.

“Good” is our duration marker. We will use this marker when we like what the dog is doing but we want him or her to keep doing it. We use this a lot to teach stays.

Example: I ask my dog to down. He goes down. I would then say “good”. Then I would feed him in the down but he’s not allowed to get up. With some training, I could walk twenty yards away from my dog while he’s in a down stay and say “good”. It teaches him through repetition that I am coming back to reward him in the down. Over time when I say “good” my dog knows to keep doing what he’s doing.

“Ah ah” is our non reinforcing marker. We use this when the dog kind of has an idea of what we want but they made a mistake. We then withhold the reward. “Ah ah” is used in the learning stage of a dog’s training career.

Example: I ask my dog to go to his bed, but instead he sits. I would then say “ah ah” which tells him he is not correct and he’s not getting a reward. I then repeat the command and give him another chance.

“No” is our marker that we will use when the dog didn’t do what we asked or they’re doing something we don’t want them to do, i.e. putting feet on table, jumping on people, not following through on an obedience command that they have shown proficiency in etc.

Example: my dog jumps on someone I then say “no” and maybe give a pop on his leash and collar.

Does My Dog Hate People In Uniforms?

Shawn Reed Dog Training Leave a Comment

We often get phone calls from potential clients telling us that their dog hates people in uniforms. The people they’re generally talking about are the postman, UPS and FedEx drivers. Of course, people come to this conclusion because of the dog’s behavior when the above mentioned show up to their homes. Many dogs go ballistic at the door or front windows of their homes. The dog exhibits behaviors that could appear as aggressive behavior. But is it?

Are most dogs that bark heavily at the arrival of the postman, UPS and FedEx driver truly aggressive? The answer is, no! In the vast majority of cases these behaviors are learned. In many cases, these behaviors have turned into a classical conditioned response.

What does the postman, UPS and FedEx driver all have in common besides wearing a uniform? They all leave. Especially, the FedEx and UPS guy where they are generally running or jogging back to their trucks. So what effect does this have on the dog? It’s a reinforcing their behavior. Maybe the first couple times the dog grumbled and then watched them leave quickly. In the dog’s mind, their behavior made them go away. It’s reinforcing. It’s like giving a treat for a sit but way better. The dog begins to learn that their behavior (barking, lunging at windows and doors) drives the stranger away. Therefore, their behavior gets more intense.

Introducing a Rescue Dog Into Your Home

Shawn Reed Dog Training Leave a Comment

First off, thanks for visiting Mannerly Canine! My goal with my weekly blogs is to give away free information to help people start off right with their dog. Whether it’s a puppy, adult dog, or rescue dog, all of this will apply. This week I want to talk about how to properly allow your rescue dog to adjust to your home. Some call this “the decompression period.” I will not be able to get into the finer points because this could end up being a book! However, I want to touch on the macro side of things.

Let’s first touch on the psychology of adoption. Many people are adopting dogs today and that’s a great thing! After training dogs for a decade, in my opinion, people adopt because they obviously want a dog. But another motive, maybe equal to the first one, is they want to do a good deed. They want to give a dog a second chance in life. They want to provide a dog a home. With the home comes a plethora of other things like love, toys, treats, freedom, and access to comfortable sleeping areas (couches, beds etc.). Good people want to do good things for their newly adopted dog. They want to give him or her the life they believe will be the best for their new dog. Is giving all those things mentioned above in abundance really the best for the dog? The answer is no.

When people bring a rescue home, the first thing they want to do is to shower the dog with love. It just comes natural to many humans. Everyone gets excited, crowds the dog with excessive petting etc. — why is this a bad idea? I mean we’re just trying to show the dog we love him, right? It’s a bad idea because the dog just went from a shelter to a home full of strangers. The dog doesn’t really know what’s going on and a lot of times they can be unsure and stressed out. Dog’s don’t understand that all these new people are showing them love. They don’t understand your goal is to give them the best life a dog can have. Some dogs get returned within a couple of days because the dog growls or air snaps at the new owners or children. This happens a lot of times because people don’t allow the dog to get comfortable at the dog’s pace. Instead they push themselves way too hard on the dog. Whereas if they took it slow, the dog may not have reacted the way it did initially.

It’s a good idea to “just be with the dog” for the first several weeks when introducing them to the new home and it’s occupants. What do I mean by this? What I mean is allow the dog to come to you or your family members. Don’t push yourself on the dog. Especially, if you see the dog is nervous. Nervous dogs like and bond quicker with the people that don’t pay attention to them. That’s a fact. The “ole” sticking the hand out, getting on one knee or leaning over the dog to pet, can be intimidating. Dogs smell something like 40 times better than us. The dog can smell you right where you are. No need to stick the hand out. Also, excessive eye contact with a dog you don’t know can be viewed as a challenge or just intimidating. It’s a good idea to keep eye contact to a minimum with a dog you don’t know.

I often do training evaluations on fearful dogs. I’m a bigger guy with a deep voice so if the dog is going to be nervous about anyone, it will be me. However, I often get potential clients that say, “we’ve never seen our dog warm up to anyone that quick.” How is this achieved? I pretend the dog doesn’t exist. I don’t try to pet them or make eye contact. I let them warm up at their pace with me. I don’t push myself and my wanting of friendship on them at all. I “just be with the dog.”

Next let’s get into toys and why they “could” be a bad idea initially. Again, new dog, new home, new people with no expectations. If dogs were in the wild they would have to resource guard to survive. So resource guarding is in every dog’s DNA. We just have selectively bred away from it for hundreds of years. But it is not abnormal. Think about it, they’re a predatory animal by nature. So let’s say you give the dog a basket of toys day one. The dog doesn’t know you really. You have no training, no bond and literally little control over the dog. What’s not to say the dog gets nervous and decides to guard a rawhide because you’re giving off body language that tells him you might want to take it. Most people don’t even realize the signals they inadvertently give dogs sometimes. Look, I am not saying the dog can’t have a basket of toys one day, just not in the beginning. And by beginning, I mean the first couple months or so. It’s especially important to not keep toys down when introducing a new to dog to a multiple dog home. Fights can happen quickly over toys. Best to let the dogs figure out the hierarchy amongst themselves before you do that.

Let’s jump into how I like to feed a new dog in my home. For the first couple of months I feed directly from the hand. This helps with bonding quicker. The dog sees that it’s major resource, food, comes from your hand, not a metal bowl. Which in their eyes deems you as very important. If this is a multiple people household then I would encourage everyone to take a turn feeding the dog by hand daily. As the dog’s willingness to engage you for the food increases you can actually start training the dog. You’re killing two birds with one stone. Not only are you bonding and showing the dog how important you are, but you’ve also started teaching the dog to pay attention to you.

In multiple dog households I do feedings with new dogs in a separate area from the existing dogs. Reason for this is I want the dog’s full attention. I also don’t want him to view the other dogs as a challenge for the food I have.

Freedom… this is where people make major mistakes early. They adopt a dog and leave him loose in the house Monday when they go to work. Then they come home and the dog has eliminated in their home or got destructive. Generally shelters and rescues don’t always get all the information on a dog’s background. There are generally a lot of unknowns. There are a lot of unknowns because many shelter dogs are someone else’s screw up, i.e. previous owners didn’t socialize the dog, no training and no rules etc… Therefore people surrendering a dog a lot of times are embarrassed to give the full info on the dog. It’s hard enough giving up the dog as it is. With that being said, your new dog has to be crate trained to protect your home and more importantly your dog from himself. If your dog ingests items when your not home and gets a blockage, he could die or end up costing you a couple to several thousand dollars on a blockage surgery. Better to be safe than sorry, crate your dog! The crate will essentially prevent bad behavior when you’re gone. It’s a great tool while you are teaching your dog to be a house dog.

Our last topic for today ties into the previous one. Where should my new dog sleep? I’ll give you the answer quickly, not in your bed! Down the road that could change. But initially a new dog should be crated at night. Again, I am repeating myself a little, but we don’t know the dog and they don’t know us. Dog’s just don’t guard food, toys and water. They can also learn to guard people or the bed itself. What one dog views as a valuable resource another dog might not. But you won’t know that until you get to know the dog. And in a lot of cases if you crate the dog from the beginning and start training, making rules and consequences for bad behavior you most likely will never see your dog develop these behaviors even if he or she did them with the previous owner.

In conclusion, start your dog off on the right paw ☺! Could you not do any of this and the dog turn out fine? Of course. But you’re gambling a bit. This procedure is easy enough to follow. Plenty of dogs get returned to shelters quickly because people don’t follow this or a similar protocol. A new dog out of nervousness growls or nips at kids putting too much pressure on him or her. Where is if people would just follow this protocol that growl or nip wouldn’t have happened. The dog is allotted time to get comfortable in its new home with its new owners.


Good luck with your new dog,

Owner/Head Trainer
Mannerly Canine

Dog Training Services in Greater Philadelphia

Shawn Reed Dog Boarding, Dog Training, Puppy Training Leave a Comment

Mannerly Canine is excited to announce that we will be moving to the Limerick, PA area this December. Our head trainer, Shawn Reed, is a nationally and internationally renown dog trainer. He was the United States Mondio Ring Association 2016 national Champion at level 3 (mastery level), and represented the United States in two world championships, placing 5th in the world in 2016, in Battice, Belgium.

For our dog training and board service options, we will be offering board and trains, day trains, in-home private lessons and private lessons at our facility.

Board and Train: Too busy to train your dog? Hand him or her over to us and we can do the heavy lifting for you!

Day Trains: Parting with your dog for a couple of weeks can be tough – so we allow you to drop him or her off in the morning, and we’ll train them throughout the day. Get your daily done work and then come pick up your furry family member.

In-home Training: If you’re looking for a coach to teach you to train your dog, this is for you. We’ll meet weekly in your home and you will learn how to train your dog yourself.

Private Training: We’ll meet weekly at our dog training facility and coach you on how to train your dog.

We look forward to helping all the dogs and owners have a better relationship through training!

How To Pick The Right Crate For Your Dog

Shawn Reed Dog Training, Puppy Training Leave a Comment

We get asked this question quite frequently during our evaluations. First off, many people make the mistake of getting a crate that is way too big. If you have a puppy, getting too big of a crate can work against your goal of crate training and house breaking. Reason being, if the crate is too big this gives the puppy the option to go to one end of the crate, eliminate and still have a clean area to lay down in. Dogs don’t like to eliminate in their resting area. So a crate too big doesn’t give the dog incentive to hold it. With that being said, the crate should just be big enough for the dog to go in, stand up and turn around. No more, no less. This will increase the likelihood that your dog will not eliminate in the crate provided you’re giving ample opportunities for potty breaks through out the day.

For puppies we recommend wire crates that come with a divider. Buy a crate big enough to fit your dog when he or she is an adult. The divider can be moved to give your dog more or less room. As your puppy grows you can move the divider back for more room. Again, one common mistake is owners give too much room in their puppy’s crate. The crate isn’t supposed to be a play arena. It’s purpose is to teach your dog to hold its pee, poop and be a place of rest and relaxation. The crate is also here to protect your young dog from himself. Puppies don’t know not to chew electrical cords, eat your socks etc. So when you don’t have time to train your puppy, he or she should be in his crate. Our next post will be on exercise pens and how to use them with crates.

Happy Training!

Shawn Reed
Owner/Head Trainer
Mannerly Canine

How To Train Children To Behave Around House Dogs

Shawn Reed Children & Dogs Leave a Comment

Children and Dog Training

As a professional dog trainer, I hear and witness on a weekly basis bad child to dog interactions. Nine out of ten times the child was in the wrong, not the dog. Below I will write about a situation where the child was in the wrong and how the parent’s expectation of how much the dog can take was way too high.

In my professional experience, many, but not all dog bites to children took time to build up. Meaning the child usually does things to the dog over a time period. There are many signals that the dog gives. Some are excessive licking, avoidance responses, i.e. getting up and leaving, head turning, growling etc. The dog is telling us he is not happy. At this point the child should be taught to not do these things to the dog.

Some examples of what children do to dogs that shouldn’t be acceptable:

  • Excessive hugging: as some dogs tolerate it, most don’t enjoy it.
  • Ear and tail pulling: this can be painful to our dogs.
  • Excessive excitement: running around the dog, throwing things at the dog, jumping on the dog all can lead to a fed up dog.

Years ago a friend from high school, we’ll call him Ted, was telling me about how his three year old son was tormenting the family dog. He said that his son would pull the dog’s tail, pinch her, slap her and run away. The part the disturbed me the most was when he said their dog started growling at the son. He then said, if she bites him, off to the pound she goes! I am not putting up with that!

I was floored! I couldn’t believe it. I really couldn’t. I told Ted, you’re dog is being MORE than fair. She is growling and telling you she isn’t happy. She could’ve went straight to biting him. But she didn’t. She’s in warning mode right now. If you don’t take care of it, she will. At that point, it will be your fault, Ted, not the dogs.

What needs to happen here is the son needs to learn how to interact with the dog. Then the son needs to be held accountable for his poor decisions.

As we teach our dogs how to behave around children, the children should be taught how to behave around dogs. There has to be balance on both ends.

With that being said, should a good family dog allow petting from children? Sure. But it should be done in a calm manner. We can’t expect a dog to take borderline abuse from our children.

Furthermore, people tend to set the bar too high on the expectation of what the dog should take from children. We have to remember they’re a living being, not a robot. They can get fed up too.

Dogs need to know boundaries, so do children.

Next week’s blog will be on “How Our Children Should Behave Around Strange Dogs”

Thanks for reading and feel free to share!

The 411 On Puppy Training

Shawn Reed Puppy Training Leave a Comment

Here is the 411 on puppies. A lot of people neglect important needs in the beginning stages of a puppy’s life and therefore shelters are flooded with 1-3 year old dogs. In most cases, the reasons dogs end up in shelters are completely preventable given us humans follow some simple guidelines. Hiring a professional dog trainer will give you a distinctive advantage on setting your puppy up for success

Puppy Socialization

When you get your puppy at 8 weeks old you need to start slowly exposing your dog to new people and safe dogs. You don’t wanna just pick random dogs. Make sure you know the dog. Puppies who get attacked by dog aggressive dogs can become dog aggressive too when they get older. This is why working with a qualified dog trainer is important. Socialization, however, is much more than people and dogs. There is also an environmental component to it as well (this is why professional assistance is needed). There is a saying in the dog training world, “prevention is the best cure for behavioral problems.”

After your puppy hits 18 weeks old a lot of windows close and some things good and bad may be set in stone. There is a short time to get it right. Being full time dog trainers, we get a lot of calls a year for behavior problems with adult dogs. Most of these problems could have been prevented if a trainer was hired when the dog was young. Behavioral problems in adult dogs, most of the time can be made better. However, it is easier to change behavior in puppy hood. Obviously, we change adult dog behavior all the time, but when they’re puppies the process is generally shorter and easier.

Training Your Puppy

Next you’re going to wanna start a puppy training program with a professional dog trainer. Puppies are so moldable and are VERY easy to train. If more people would start the first week they get their dog I am sure there would be a fraction of dog’s in shelters. We prefer to train puppies with food when they’re young. This develops a relationship and builds trust.

Here is a list of things we hear from people who waited too long to address a puppy’s problem:

  • We were waiting until the weather got better to start training and socializing.
  • I was too busy to work with the puppy.
  • We bought the dog for my twelve year old daughter. She is responsible for the dog.
  • We thought giving the dog a home was enough.
  • We wanted to give the puppy a couple of months to get used to us.

With the above being said, we understand dog owners don’t intentionally avoid getting help. But rather don’t understand that there is a time frame to get it right with puppies. The earlier you start dog training, the better. There are many more different scenarios that we hear daily, but those five are the most common. Dog training and socialization isn’t like softball, football, soccer etc. It isn’t a seasonal event. A twelve year old in most cases isn’t mature and responsible enough to fulfill the obligations a puppy needs to be trained and socialized properly. We encourage children to get involved with a puppy’s training but only under parental supervision. Giving a dog a loving home isn’t enough. Actually beginning to train with your dog the first week will most definitely speedup the acclamation process! It will also allow the relationship to get off on the right foot.

Puppies need structure, rules, leadership and training. We MUST remember, they’re an animal at the end of the day. Training is a communication system since they don’t speak English and we don’t speak dog.

This is where training plays such a big role. At Mannerly Canine we have a quote we often say to our clients who let puppy’s get away with bad manners and it’s this, “Do you want him to do that 50lbs from now, a year down the road?” Obviously, our puppy owners answer is always no. Therefore, lets start teaching them to be an adult.

Things that should be addressed in a puppy development plan

Normal day to day situations: vacuum cleaner, garage door, objects dropped that create loud noises, stairs, getting on and off appropriate objects, getting in and out of the car, bikes and skateboards etc. These things should all be made to be positively a great experience.

How to address bad manners without diminishing drive: jumping up, chewing stuff, door dashing, chasing pant legs and any other destructive behavior.

Puppy Proofing: Is your home ready to accommodate a little furry ball of curiosity?

House Breaking: How to crate train, how and when to verbally reprimand eliminating in the house, more importantly when and how to reward eliminating outside the house.

Socialization: How to teach your puppy to greet people and dogs with manners and for the experience to always be positive for the dog. How to encounter things in the environment that may scare your puppy and how to expose them in small doses to teach them it’s a positive experience.

Training: All of our client’s puppies learn sit, down, stand, stay, leave it, off and come. When a puppy is taught all of these with rewards at a young age it makes life WAY easier when they’re older.

Good play habits: There is a right way to play with a puppy and a wrong way. Playing with a puppy the right way can condition a high value reward for obedience when the dog is older. The wrong way can lead to destructive behaviors.

With all of this information above, it can be overwhelming to achieve on your own. Give us a call, Shawn Reed has been coaching people and training dogs for almost a decade. He can break your goals down on a weekly basis.

Remember you could possibly have this dog for the next 15 years. Why not start off on the right foot! Socialize and train your puppy so he/she grows up to be a confident, happy and obedient adult dog. If you have questions and need some guidance, we’d love to hear from you!