How to Create Association with Marker Word - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-07-2016, 04:05 PM Thread Starter
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How to Create Association with Marker Word

Okay, since my last post regarding Milo sitting, I have watched/listened to Michael Ellis' dog seminar and I realize I put the cart before the horse on teaching Milo to sit and I probably need to back up and do some more loading up on the marker word YES, because I haven't really done that...

Do you load it up all the time? In training? How often are you saying YES and then giving a treat.

What I have been doing before today is just grabbing some training treats and then doing a little training session where I says SIT, Milo sits, I say YES as soon as he sits, and then hand him a treat

I am just now starting this "load the marker" (tried it out during lunch by just saying YES and then immediately giving a treat) but every time I say YES, Milo sits.

Also if I say his name and he looks at me I say YES and then give him a treat.

Will he figure this marker word out? What am I doing wrong?

FYI, Milo is 11 weeks old and iI completely realize he is very much a young puppy. This is my first attempt at marker training.

(Yes I see some books/instructional videos in my future.... but thought I would check here first).
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-07-2016, 04:13 PM
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Yes + reward every time the dog does something correctly. Make the "yes" sound very exciting and high pitched.
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-07-2016, 04:52 PM Thread Starter
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But in terms of loading up that marker word so the dog associates it with "Yes you did something correctly", are you just randomly saying yes during the day and then immediately following with a food reward?
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-07-2016, 04:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Acuna View Post
But in terms of loading up that marker word so the dog associates it with "Yes you did something correctly", are you just randomly saying yes during the day and then immediately following with a food reward?
I have never done any "loading up" of the marker. First time I've heard of the idea, actually.
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-07-2016, 05:08 PM
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You don't necessarily *have* to load the marker. The dog will connect the marker and reward through use. I use clicker training, and have never done anything before using it for the first training session.
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-07-2016, 09:58 PM
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Most people load the marker by training an easy behavior but there is no reason you couldn't just load the marker at random.

The yes marker is just signalling a reward is coming. When you load it you just make the association between the yes and the fact a reward comes soon after. When you use it to teach a behavior you are forming an association between the behavior and the fact a yes and reward will happen as a result.
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-07-2016, 11:00 PM
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there are a few different ways to load a marker... each person will say that their way is most effective either because it's all they know or because they've tried several ways and one works best for them and the dog in front of them. if it works, it works. bottom line the marker marks the correct behavior, the food is the reward. the reason you load the marker is to let them know, yes that was right and the reward is coming.

if your dog has learned sit and does it the way you want with the verbal cue, then just the reward is fine. the marker is a teaching tool. once taught - unless you're looking for a trained response that has no verbal (for example - hearing the door bell cues them to run to their bed vs a command of "go to bed") then the marker isn't necessary beyond the teaching phase. I don't introduce a verbal cue until the dog is successfully performing the behavior.

I load prior to and outside of the first training session. reason being - I want the dog to realize early on that they drive the marker by trying and offering behaviors. and I also want to make sure I have strong association of the marker to food. anyway... outside of the theory, I'll explain an example of how a typical loading session goes for me. I use a clicker because it's novel, precise and doesn't vary in sound like your voice can, but it takes some additional coordination that a lot of people don't want to bother with.

I take the dog to a somewhat quiet area free of lots distractions but not sterile. make sure the dog is engaged either my saying their name or petting... the first 3 clicks or so is for absolutely nothing and depending on how fast the dog chews, should happen in about 15 seconds... you don't have to wait long and you can move around a bit to encourage them but the next thing they do whether it's sit, look at you, take a step towards you or whatever, I click that once or twice... continue clicking for different random behaviors but not the same one more than twice because you want them to keep trying things. you should see the wheels turning, excitement begin and the dog attempting to get close and return to you about 10 clicks in... soon after you can try to distract them slightly by tapping something, when they look in that direction you click and if their attention comes immediately back to you then they're considered "loaded".... I throw em a party and take a break before starting the next session. teaching focus is a good next step.

that said, I do this most often with dogs around 14months old... takes about 2 minutes and 20 kibble with a food motivated dog.

good luck!

ps. you want this to be fun and exciting with lots of praise but give the praise both verbal and/or physical as your pup gets the food but not between the mark and the delivery.... when loading you want the direct connection to be very clear. this also helps increase the value of your praise (which puppies typically don't need but it's a good habit to have) so that you can phase out food later.

TILDEN: Male: Blk/Red LHGSD: DOB: 12/24/06 65lbs of Love
KEYSTONE: Male: Sable: DOB: 2/11/13 55lbs of Go!!!!!

Last edited by Fodder; 01-07-2016 at 11:09 PM.
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-07-2016, 11:19 PM
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...and no, I don't "load" more than once.... by the end of the day I've done enough training sessions beyond that that they get it.

TILDEN: Male: Blk/Red LHGSD: DOB: 12/24/06 65lbs of Love
KEYSTONE: Male: Sable: DOB: 2/11/13 55lbs of Go!!!!!
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-07-2016, 11:53 PM
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It's easier than you think. Say "yes", then feed and repeat about 10-20 times. If the dog perks up and looks for a treat after you say "yes", then you know they understand the marker.
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-08-2016, 12:40 AM
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We load 'yes' when the dog makes eye contact with us and then feed. It seems to be making a great improvement with both our puppy and our older dogs since we started doing it.
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