Training Tip Tuesday: Your voice says one thing, but your body says another!

"Remember, dogs are first and foremost a physical species. Verbal communication comes second." I say this to my students very often. I probably say it to myself just as often. I'm constantly impressed by our dog's ability to read human body language, despite the fact that we are two totally separate species (and in my experience dogs are MUCH better at reading our body language than we are at reading theirs!) Therefore, whenever I'm training a dog I'm doing my best to be cognizant of what I'm saying with my body so that I can set us both up to succeed. Case in point: just the other day I was working with a dog on her recall cue. We were practicing an automatic sit at the end of the recall, w

Training Tip Tuesday: The Power of Novelty

Who here has heard or said the phrase "I'm full of this!" following a meal time? I've heard this phrase after someone claims that they're full and done with dinner, and then 5 minutes later proceed to ask when dessert is. When you ask them why they said they were full, they exclaim "I'm full of this!", pointing to their still-half-full dinner plate (kids are especially guilty of this!). The fact of the matter is that usually they're not actually full, they're just bored and ready for something new (like cake!). Did you know that your puppies and dogs can also be "full of this"? A perfect example is what happened last night in my puppy class. It was about 40 minutes into the class, and the pu

Training Tip Tuesday: Verbal Markers Part Two

This is a continuation of my last training tip Tuesday post on verbal markers (which can be found here). Last week I discussed the importance of salience when using a marker, and how if your marker word sounds too similar to your speaking voice, you may be impeding your training process. Keeping the tone of your marker word nice and light is key! And now for the second mistake that I often see made with verbal markers: no follow through! The purpose of the marker word is to mark the exact moment that the animal just earned their treat. This is why it is so important for the word to be succinct, so that it acts as a snapshot of a moment in time. All too often I see people using their marker w

Training Tip Tuesday: Verbal markers

Truth be told, I will probably always prefer training new behaviors with my clicker. I LOVE my clicker with a passion, as does my dog, Regis. However, sometimes we have a reason we can't use the clicker (maybe our hands are otherwise occupied during a trick, or there's a physical problem such as arthritis barring the repeated use of a clicker). Or maybe someone just doesn't want to be bothered with using it. In that case, we use what's called a verbal marker. A verbal marker follows similar rules to the clicker. It's not just verbal praise like "good boy", or "who's a good puppy?" is used. It needs to be a short, succinct word that can mark desired behavior in an instant. I like to use "yep!

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Mary Thompson, CPDT-KA, PMCT
Phone: 312-307-6481

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In Home Dog Training serving Elk Grove Village, Arlington Heights, Schaumburg, Palatine, Buffalo Grove, Itasca, Des Plaines, Mt. Prospect, Roselle, Wooddale, Bensenville, Hoffman Estates, Park Ridge, Niles, Prospect Heights, Wheeling,  and more.
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