Marker training is a audible system of communication between dog and handler. The audible sound produced, or the "mark," has three significant meanings to the dog:
1. What you are doing at this precise moment is correct, and the behavior I am seeking.
2. You are free from whatever behavior your are currently exhibiting.
3. You are promised a high value reward
The chosen sound of the mark is important, as you want it to be a sound you can produce easily and naturally, but what is more important is the consistency of the "mark" sound from repetition to repetition. This is why often times handlers choose the clicker. The consistency of the sound produced by the clicker is unfaltering---as opposed to the use of our voice, which is subject to change depending on our current emotional state. The choice of sound to use is totally up to you, and based on your goals.
Leerburg has several articles on the topic of marker training, and the method is a staple among Leerburg instructors. Rather than trying to summarize it all here, please peruse Leerburg.com for more info on marker training.
You might ask, "How will marker training apply to play interactions?" Well, we are going to use audible marks to teach the "out", as well as to reward our obedience behaviors within our play. So, it is very important that you establish a system of audible marks to clarify when the dog is correct, when it is released, and when it is allowed to reengage in play.
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