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All trainers talk about effective communication and you can find many versions of such during your training. The most common one that opens a world of possibilities is using consistent marker words. Marker words is way to give your dog feedback on a task that they are performing. For example, if you ask your dog to sit and the dog sits, you then could mark the behavior with the word “yes” or “good.” Providing your dog feedback that they did something correctly. The same goes if your dog does something wrong. We’ll use sit again as an example. You ask your dog to sit and your dog does not sit then you mark with “no” to provide your dog feedback that they didn’t do it correctly.

Now some of you may say that you consistently use marker words and your dog doesn’t respond to them. That is because you have to add meaning or in dog trainer terms, “charge,” your marker. Charging your marker means you reinforce that specific word with either something positive or negative. For example, you use the word “yes” to mark a correct behavior and then provide a cookie. This reinforces that “yes” and your dog starts viewing it as a positive. The same goes for “no.” Every time you say no and you add a squirt from a squirt bottle then your dog will view “no” as a negative. Do enough repetitions of the above and your dog will start having a basic understanding of the verbal feedback that you are providing them.

So again, to highlight on how to start effectively providing valuable feedback via marker words to your pet is:

-Choose a word that will mark when your dog does something good. This can be yes, good, okay, etc.

-Choose a word that will mark when your dog does something wrong. This can be no, eh-eh, off, etc.

-Give your marker words meaning aka charge your marker. Associate the word with a positive or negative to reinforce your marker word.

-Use your words consistently when working with your dog.