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.