The idea behind this training method is to let your dog know that he has done something right by a sound or noise. You can mark the behavior instantly.

Marker words are an amazing tool when it comes to training dogs. If used properly, communication between you and your dog greatly improves. Also, these words can be a reward to the dog. Once he gets to hear them repeatedly, the dog gets really excited. Such words include ‘wonderful dog’, ‘good dog’, or ‘yes’

However, for the effective use of a marker word, you have to learn to use it correctly. Make sure to only use the word or sound when the puppy has done the correct thing. When the dog is trained properly on how to use this word, it acts as a reward itself as it speeds up the communication between the two of you.


  • A marker’s neutral sound signals the dog that it has performed the desired behavior. Once the desired behavior has been performed, the dog gets a reward.
  • When communicating with the dog, timing is important as it points out the desired behavior. Communicate precisely and clearly. This is done by marking the exact desired behavior.
  • How the reward is delivered is equally important. It should be presented as a surprise.
    • The delivery of the reward should vary either by changing hands or by bouncing a ball
    • The reward should not be presented before the behavior is marked. Before reaching for the reward, ensure that the behavior has been marked. Also, ensure there is very little lag between the time of the marker and the time of the delivery.
  • Hide the treats or toys using a bait pouch or behind your back.
  • A dog’s reward is anything that pleases the dog depending on its value system. It’s easiest to start with treats before moving gradually to toys and praise.
    • Soft and easy to chew treats are highly recommended.
    • The dog does not agree with everything you think is worth rewarding.
    • Favorite treats and toys should be presented only during training.
    • The size of the treats is key. They should not be larger than the first knuckle of the pinky finger. If they are larger, they should be broken into smaller pieces.
  • Always leave the dog wanting more. The mark reward training should end on a successful note.

Choosing your Mark

  • It should be a word that comes naturally when you’re happy.
  • It should not be used to often when having a communication with your dog.
  • It should be short and sharp.
  • It should not be confused with your dog’s name or other commands that are being issued.

Teaching your dog the meaning of a marker word:

  • Say the word out loud or produce the sound with the clicker.
  • Give your dog a treat immediately.
  • Mention this word severally during the training session probably 10-15 times. Do this for a few days.
  • The training is successful when the dog gets excited as soon as he hears the sound and before he receives a treat.

The whole idea is teaching the dog to associate the sound with the given reward. Marker word training is important because the sound will reward the dog on its own after each mark and it is more precise in noticing when a dog has done the correct thing. This is a perfect example of classical conditioning.

Clicker training has its own advantages too; it builds a strong relationship between the marker and pleasure and bridges a gap between the mark and the reward. Once the relationship is built, the marker provides excitement to the dog and enables one to reward a dog’s behavior even when it is out of reach.

Giving a dog a treat when training a new behavior is a great way of telling the dog that he did something correctly. A marker works in pretty much the same way. Not every mark should be followed by a treat. it gets to a point where the sound is just as rewarding to the dog as a treat.

Timing in dog training

This is an important factor in dog training as it incorporates the mark and reward aspects. It is crucial when one wants to reward a dog, therefore, the trainer should be keen so that he can point out the various attempts of good behavior that need to be rewarded.


Rewarding your dog when it has done something right is important as it shows your dog that whatever they did is what you expected them to and eventually they will keep doing it. The valuable experience that you will provide to the dog is what matters. Also, be patient with your dog. As with any other learning process, there may be challenges. However, remain patient and persistent to the end for great results.

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