A Different Language

I arrive at my hotel in France…..It was a long flight….I forgot my toothbrush, face wash and need to contact my friend who is supposed to meet me.

The problem is that I don’t speak French and don’t have a translator. What do I do???

Although the story above is fictional….I believe our dogs experience this same scenario when they try to understand what we are saying to them. We need a form of communication that both of us understand.

Guess what??!! We already have it! Many of you have already heard of ‘Clicker Training’…….and ‘Clicker Training’ is a form of ‘Marker Training’.

‘Marker Training’ forms a bridge from the behavior we want ……to the reward for that behavior. This type of training is based on what we call….’Operant Conditioning’. I am not a science geek but I do love to learn from people who are much smarter than I am. Let’s just say in layman’s terms that Marker Training uses positive or negative responses to a behavior in order to make that behavior more or less frequent. In other words…..if I want my dog to repeat a behavior……I need to reward that behavior.

Our dogs learn by receiving a reward in less than a second following the behavior. Since this is humanly impossible……we use a ‘Marker’………to ‘Mark’ the behavior we want and to let our dogs know that a reward is coming. This is why we say that the marker is a ‘Bridge’ to the reward.

This may sound complex and there is a learning curve……..but it is much simpler to learn how to communicate with your dog than to try to change bad behavior later.

With everything in life…….there is a reward to persevering and learning a new skill.

As humans…….the more we exercise our brain…….the better it works!!! Now that is a reason to learn to communicate with your dog!!! Just think how amazed your friends will be when they watch how well your dog is listening to you!!

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