I use the clicker and treats to teach behavior and later, once it is what I want it to be and ingrained, more casual with "good" or play.
Many use the clicker too long and dogs (and owners too) become dependent on it; not performing unless they know you have the clicker and treats with you.
Interesting. Thanks for your perspective wolfy dog. Do you think dogs become also become dependent upon voiced markers? I suppose so.
I am just starting to fade treats for Sit! command. At 5 months, Linus is pretty consistent and does it with all three Ds (distance, duration and distraction) combined. I am still using treats for Down!, Place! and stays but will start fading that too in time.
I guess I should fade the marker at some point but not sure when--seems too early just yet at months old.
I'm not giving all kinds of different inflections when I verbally mark. But yes, sometimes emotions (positive emotions) do slip in. However, I just haven't seen an issue with that. Just like my commands, for the most part, are spoken with the same intensity and volume. But sometimes it helps to use a calmer command, a sterner command, a happier command. Depending on the state of mind of the dog, is one example I can think of. When I first start working my male I have to keep everything low-key or he goes into overdrive. He still understands the command and the marker word even if they sound different sometimes. Anyhow, I like it this way more than the clicker (and yes I have used a clicker and changed up to voice markers). Again, just my experience.
On my solo, early morning walk I use very softly spoken commands and markers. My idea is to increase his focus on me while the neighborhood is quiet. It seems to be working as he was showing some of his best OB work during those walks. But maybe it was the lack of distractions.
On the flip side, when Linus finally caught his first frisbee I threw a huge party for him. The "Yes!" was really amped for that performance and he got a bunch of pets and happy play time too.
Gib_laut's comment above gives me pause on using emotion in the marker. I don't want the dog to ignore the low-key verbal markers. Maybe the solution is an even-keeled verbal marker and a variable other reward (pets, play, etc) for particularly good performances?