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Cues and Markers- How to use them to level up your dog training!

Cues and Markers- How to use them to level up your dog training!

Cues and markers are two essential concepts in dog training that help to communicate with your dog in a clear and structured way. A cue is a verbal or physical signal that tells your dog what you want them to do. For example, if you say "sit," your dog should know that you want them to sit down.


A marker is a signal that tells your dog when they have done something correctly. This signal can be a sound, such as a clicker, or a word, such as "yes" or "good." The marker tells your dog that they've completed the correct behaviour and that they will receive a reward for it. Most dog trainers would argue that a marker is THE most important word to teach your dog.


Cues and markers work together to help your dog understand what you want them to do, and then mark when they've done it correctly. In essence, using cues and markers consistently is key to successful dog training!


So how do we go about teaching these words? First, teach the marker. Very simply, choose the word you want to use, say it and then give a treat about 2 seconds later. For example, ‘YES’, 2-second wait, deliver the food. You will need to repeat this many times over a 2-3 day period so use small treats that aren’t too high in calories! We like to use these chocolate buttons (which are 20% off with the code EASTER) . Aim to do about 150 reps before using your marker to train your dog. They should snap to attention when they hear the word ‘yes’- this means they know what it means and are ready to learn.


Once your dog understands their marker you can try teaching a cue. Let’s teach ‘touch’. Show your dog your open hand and encourage them to investigate it. The second your dog’s nose hits your hand say ‘touch’. Repeat! The key is to time the word touch exactly with the moment your dog’s nose hits your hand. You can then mark ‘yes’ and feed them!


If your dog doesn’t investigate your hand, try rubbing your hand in some smelly treats or dog food to get them more interested.


Teaching your dog’s fun tricks like this is a great way to bond with them. Just remember to keep them away from the human chocolate this Easter!”


Annie-Mae Levy

CFBA Accredited Canine Behaviourist

BSc Animal Behaviour & GoDT Dog Trainer

078332 05374


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