Finding your dogs currency and charging a marker 1

By Al Longoria
Reward on the way
Many dog owners realize the importance of having a happy dog while maintaining their own sanity.  I have walked into several homes where the dogs get everything they want but more often than not do not do what they are told.  So to remedy this we begin to take control of the things the dog wants and show them how to earn them.  The two easiest to find for the dog are his food and toys.  I always like to start doing a food test with the dog to figure out which one he wants the most.  The easiest way for me to go about this is to run down to my local pet store and pick up three different kinds of training treats.  I look at the ingredients on the back of each bag to make sure the main protein is different.  Once I have selected those three I’ll open them up and then take two of those, one kind in each hand, and let the dog choose which one he likes the best.  Once the dog has told me which one is the tastiest I will then begin teaching the word a conditioned marker.  The very essence of a conditioned marker is based on Pavlov’s dog.  I simply want to associate the food with a sound, like the bell they used with Pavlov’s dog.   I like to use the word yes but you can use any word that you like.  You will want to keep this word consistent for it to work its’ best.

So here is how we make the association to the word yes.  First, what we want the dog to understand when it hears yes is this, “what you just did is right and now come to me to get your reward.”  I will place some of the dogs favorite treats in my pocket.   As soon as the dog looks at me I will say a resounding “Yes,” and then pull some treats out of my pocket as I back away from the dog.  Once the dog has caught up to me I will begin to give a few treats and praise the dog.  I like to do this twenty to thirty times a day for about three days.  Generally for my dogs this is meal time but it does not necessarily have to be.

Well, thanks for reading the post.  Share with you friends and post any comments or questions you may have.  I look forward to it!

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