Interesting videos – ‘Marker Training’

January 27, 2011 at 12:29 am 13 comments

I actually like the term “Marker Training” more than “Clicker Training”.

The term “Clicker Training” can be misleading because people assume that you have to be married to the clicker, when Marker/Clicker Training is more about the process and approach, and less about the physical gadget.

Analogy:  It’s like when some people – eg, my parents – use the terms “computer animation” or “computer illustration” to denote something radically different from drawing with a pencil or paintbrush…. and assume that it is a computer program that does the drawing for me.  Yep, my dad used to think this. While I do use a computer to draw with,  *I* am still the one who is doing the drawing. The computer is simply a tool that enables and speeds up the process and makes everything more efficient.

Check out this videoMarker Training a Human – Session One (and how “reward placements” are important) It’s also on YouTube:

There are more streaming videos on the Leerburg website and in this video the trainer Michael Ellis explains Marker Training.  I like his definitions of the Active Dog vs the Reactive Dog. Quote:

The Active Dog (“Operant Dog”) understands that his behavior has an effect on his environment (and on his humans, who are an integral part of his environment). He understands that his behavior can make things happen. He has made the connection that his behavior causes a reward to happen. The Active Dog is easier to train.

The Reactive Dog ‘s behavior is driven by the reward. He doesn’t drive the production of the reward.

There’s also a video on using a Negative Marker (“no”) instead of Correction – HERE. Interesting!

Entry filed under: Articles, links, Reads, Training, Uncategorized. Tags: , , , .

Notes from ClickerExpo (Friday) A food experiment: Boogie’s choice.

13 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Lucky Dog  |  January 27, 2011 at 1:54 pm

    Interesting videos. I; however, am very ambivalent about Leerburg. They do marker (clicker) training which I adore. But I am appalled at some of the methods, such as the use of their “Dominant Dog Collar” which is designed to take air away from a dog.

    • 2. lili  |  January 27, 2011 at 5:01 pm

      Oh, I didn’t know that 😦

    • 3. TattooedOpinion  |  February 28, 2016 at 3:40 pm

      Taking air from the dog is valuable. It’s called a Dominant dog collar b/c it’s designed for dogs who are dominant. Taking away the air is akin to the alpha roll [when done ‘correctly’] – but without putting yourself in the dangerous position an alpha roll would. It’s really saying “Hey – I have the power to cut off your air supply”. It isn’t a tool needed with most dogs – but with the dogs that it’s needed for, it works great. You just need to know your dog, know yourself, and the tools you need. If your dog doesn’t need to be reminded you’re the boss then you don’t need this tool.

      Prong collar are controversial too but they are less painful to a dog than a slip chain and are designed to mimic a bite around the neck. You have to keep in mind how dogs communicate with each other. My daughter tested our prong around her neck and even when she corrected herself, no pain. It wasn’t comfortable, but it didn’t hurt.

      There is no need to use a forklift to remove a turkey from the oven. You need to use the right tools for the task you’re trying to accomplish.

  • 5. Lucky Dog  |  January 28, 2011 at 2:41 pm

    Yeah. On a lighter side; however, I am an avid reader of your (okay, Boogie’s!) blog. I simply adore it.

  • 6. lili  |  January 28, 2011 at 6:39 pm

    Thank you, Lucky Dog 🙂 I will try to keep the blog interesting!

  • 7. Andre  |  January 31, 2011 at 3:30 am

    yeah i’m with Lucky Dog. Don’t throw away what he has up but one must approach with caution or also not suggest an endorsement of everything he suggests. He would be the first to suggest put a shock collar on Boogie at set it to level 10 and if he reacts to a dog, shock him hard till he’s passed out. He understands learning theory but still has very screwy beliefs around behavior modification.

  • 8. Andre  |  January 31, 2011 at 3:31 am

    Also regarding the use of Negative Markers… it is different than a No Reward Marker, which means no click/no treat. A negative marker is a conditioned aversive which is a hallmark of balanced training. It is No, then leash pop. Like Click, then treat, but the opposite. Now “no” is scary so it can be used to punish a dog.

    • 9. lili  |  January 31, 2011 at 3:42 am

      Hi Andre – but if the “No” isn’t followed by a leash pop/correction then would it then not have an aversive effect? In the video example, the trainer says NO but doesn’t do anything…

      • 10. Andre  |  January 31, 2011 at 1:59 pm

        “No” continues to be an aversive despite the no leash-pop because it is conditioned. A human example might be if you were in a car accident at a certain intersection. Every time you drive through it, perhaps for years, you’ll feel nervous and weird. Even though there is no accident, the intersection is aversive. Another is with mean people. Let’s say your manager at work is a jerk and constantly berates you. The sight of him/her approaching you down the hallway will make you feel nervous.

      • 11. Mary  |  February 28, 2011 at 4:09 pm

        I agree with Andre. Just like the clicker will hold it’s positive value for quite awhile after you stop delivering treats, it it’s considered a positive conditioned reinforcer because of the history of pairing the click sound with the primary reinforcer.

        Likewise, the key word with a conditioned negative reinforcer is the word “conditioned”. The word has a neutral value before conditioning. Associating with a correction, gives the word a negative association and then it can be used as strong negative marker.

        One has to ask themselves if they are willing to do what it takes to condition the negative marker. Theoretically, that would involve pairing a punisher with the word. We pair the food with the clicker when the dog is doing nothing. Imagine taking the time to pair a punisher with a word when a dog is doing nothing? Now, one could decide to do the pairing in association with the dog doing undesirable things, but I know at least for me, this goes against my entire training philosophy (catch your dog doing something right!).

        New to your blog and I LOVE your drawings. Beautiful, spirited work. 🙂

      • 12. lili  |  February 28, 2011 at 6:29 pm

        Thank you, Mary and Andre. I see what you mean about “No” being a conditioned marker.

        In the first few weeks after I adopted Boogie, before I knew anything about dog training, I noticed that Boogie would instantly cower and back off at the word “No”. He was so highly sensitive to the word it was a little freaky. At the time, of course we thought: “Wow, this dog is so well trained”. This was before we discovered a bunch of other issues. So in a sense the word NO was already conditioned with aversives by his previous owners. These days, Boogie no longer cowers at “No”… but if I say “No” (usually when we spy food scraps or a chicken bone on the sidewalk…because I haven’t trained “Leave it”), 75% of the time Boogie will turn away from the food. Like the dog in the Leerburg video, he doesn’t show any fear or discomfort. Does this mean that the marker has lost some of its conditioned value? Or will it always have bad associations?

  • 13. Alex V  |  June 14, 2012 at 8:26 pm

    Michael Ellis has some really great videos on the use of markers too.


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