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Marker training - (4)

(2009-07-17 17:15:49)


分类: 训犬资料



While marker training can be used to train virtually any behavior you need to start someplace and we like to start with targeting. We use a targeting stick with a YES markers (although our targeting stick does have a built in clicker).


It is a simple concept. Extend the stick and hold it out away from your side. When the dog looks at it Mark the moment (only one mark) and reward the dog. The reward can be delivered at the little ball on the end of the stick.


Repeat the process until your dog knows to look at the stick when you hold it out.


When the dog takes one step toward the stick, mark and reward the the step (making sure these two events do not happen at the same instant). Then mark two steps and then the dog sniffing the end and finally touching the end of the stick with his nose.


Targeting the end of a stick may seem like a useless behavior but in fact it has many applications. We can use the same concept to teach our dogs to go to their bed, to go into their dog crate. It can be one part of a learned chain of behaviors to trim the dogs nails or clean his ears.


We like to expand the targeting into a hand touch command. This then becomes a fun game to play with our dogs but also a behavior we ask for to re-direct or dog away from dogs and people while on walks or when it's getting into something we don't want him to mess with.

Marker <wbr>training <wbr>- <wbr>(4)


Timing of the Reward


For a reward to have the best results it must come within 1/2 second of the behavior you want to encourage. Some people say that the reward must come quicker than a second; others say the reward must come within 1 1/2 seconds.


No matter how good you are you are not going to consistently be able to get a reward your dog in under a 1/2 of a second. You may occasionally do it but you will never get it done 100% of the time. Markers allow you to instantly mark a behavior and when the dog understands that a reward follows the mark you can take several seconds to reward the mark. This results in the dog learning much faster.


People who don't train with markers don't have that luxury. The longer they delay between the behavior and the reward the less chance their dog associates the behavior with the reward. If praise is delayed by 2 or 3 seconds after a behavior there is an excellent chance that the dog will associate the reward with a behavior that is different than what the handler wanted to reward.


This is why timing the Mark is so important in dog training and why marker training is so effective.


Through repetition and experience your dog will quickly realize that when he hears the mark he knows he is going to get a reward for what he just did. It may take a few seconds but he knows the reward is coming and he knows what he did to earn it. It becomes crystal clear to the dog.


During your marker training you do not have to jump to rush the the reward. When the dog understands that a reward is coming after the mark, the delivery of the reward becomes part of the satisfaction. Compare it to eating out at a nice restaurant. Watching the waiter as he brings you food and puts it on the table is part of the fine dining experience.


This concept becomes even more important when we are working on exercises where our dog is some distance from us. It allows us the time we need to get to the dog and reward him and still have him understand why he is getting the reward.


Learning to Time the Mark


New dog handlers must learn the correct timing on when they give the actual mark during training. The easiest way to understand how this works is to think like a dog. In a way your dog takes a mental picture of exactly what he is doing at the instant you mark a behavior. They relate the reward to that mental snap shot they took when they heard the word YES.


A visual method to help you learn timing is to ask a friend to use a digital camera and go out with you when you train. Have them take a photo of your dog every time you say the word YES. Tell them not to focus on what the dog is doing but only listen to your voice.


So every time you say YES they need to push the shutter button. This is an easy way to uate what is going through your dogs mind when he hears the mark and what he thinks he is being rewarded for. You may be surprised what the results are here.


The correct time to mark is the instant the dog meets the criteria of the particular training step or exercise


For example, when teaching the hand touch, where the dog is expected to touch his nose to your hand when you hold your hand out - if it is the step where the dog is finally touching the hand with his nose. The point to mark is the "very instant" the dog's nose touches the hand. Not 3 or 4 seconds after the fact.


If you are training the sit - the mark should come the instant the dogs but touches the ground, not 2 seconds later.


If you are training the Down the time to mark the Down is the instant the dogs belly touches the ground - not 5 seconds after he has been down.


If you mark the down 5 seconds after the dogs belly has touched the ground the dog thinks he is being rewarded for staying down and not the actual movement of laying. When trainers consistently reward the Down with poor timing of the mark we see dogs that go down slower and slower because the dogs see the exercise as lying down and staying there. They know that the reward is going to come at some time in the future and not when they lay down.


Successful trainers understand that "the act of going down" and "duration in the down exercises" are two independent exercises that are trained separately. When dogs realize that the trigger to get the reward in the Down exercises is to get your belly on the ground you will see then drop like a stone. We will talk about extending the duration of the down later when we discuss training with the word Good.

The relationship between the Mark and the Reward:


I have already mentioned that it is critical to never move the hand or arm that delivers the reward until after we say YES. I want to revisit that issue now so you understand why this is so important.


Dogs are visual animals. While they may watch you all the time they don't naturally listen to the words that come out of our mouth. The fact is they don't understand most of what we say.


Dogs always react to physical cues over verbal cues. When trainers give the verbal cue and physical cue at the same time the dog will always follow the physical cue. This means when you mark the exercise and move the arm at the same time - the movement of the arm is the cue your dog is following and not your verbal cue.


This concept was discovered by Pavlov a long time ago. He kept his dogs in cages and when it came time to feed a bell would ring followed food dropping into food bowls. Pavlov noticed dogs would start to salivate when they heard the bell.


He then did some experiments. He would ring the bell after the food had dropped and while the dogs were eating. Those dogs never salivated to the sound of a bell. The bell meant nothing to them.


The moral of this story is DON'T REWARD AT THE SAME TIME THAT YOU MARK an exercise.

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Unfortunately it's not natural for people to have a pause between the YES and giving the food reward. Every new trainer reaches for food at the same instant that they say YES. Every new trainer needs to learn the skill of adding a pause in between the MARK and the movement of the reward hand. This is a very simple concept to understand and a very difficult discipline to learn. Those trainers who approach this as a learned skill get quicker results.


To improve your timing video tape training sessions and then study your work. This is a great way to gauge your work.


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