Monday, January 25, 2010

"Nice or not so nice"

I love the fact that puppy raisers are now able to use marker training. It is one of the most powerful tools when it comes to training dogs. As of right now, we are using marker training with the "go to bed" command. Many puppy raisers are also using marker training for certain issues they are having with their dog. The use of the marker training is done on a case by case basis, with approval from our CFR. How it works is that instead of using a clicker, we use a verbal marker (the word "nice") when we get the behavior we want to mark. One of the cardinal rules of marker training is that if you say the word "nice" you must ALWAYS give the dog a treat. Even if you have marked the wrong behavior. When the pup hears the verbal marker "nice" it is basically a promise to your dog that you will be giving them a food reward.

Here is my problem. Reyna has been trained with the verbal marker "nice", so she knows that word and she is very in tune with it when she hears it. She knows exactly what it means, she will get a treat! Well, when Reyna and I where at graduation, we where with two people who were using the food protocol with their dogs. So Reyna kept hearing the other handlers saying the word "nice", and she thought it was marking her behavior and she kept looking up expecting a treat. It was really hard and actually disruptive and confusing for her. All she kept hearing around her was "nice", "nice", "nice". This was really confusing her and it was making her a little irritated. What is the best way to handle this situation, from the dogs point of view? I did not have the option to leave, because I was riding with one of the puppy raisers who was using this protocol with her pup. So by the end of the day, Reyna thought the word "nice" was really "not so nice" Any suggestions?

1 comment:

  1. Honestly, I'd just put her in that situation more. She'll learn that others saying "nice" isn't the same as the person handling her saying "nice". My pet dogs are clicker trained and they know which one the click is intended for from my body language and eye contact. They need to learn to differentiate between the person handling them and the person that's not. Take formal training for instance, they use clickers and a couple dogs will be working side by side on obedience and getting clicked. They learn how to distinguish the click meant for them versus the one not. I would set something up with another pup or two and practice "go to bed" with her so that she has the opportunity to learn the difference :-D Good luck!