My trainer and I disagree on using markers while teaching nosework. What are your thoughts?
My question concerns rewarding for an odor 'find' during NW. I am having a disagreement w/nosework trainer who is certified in NW, but does not have an obedience training background. My dog is conditioned to my verbal marker, and when I give it he instantly knows he's giving the correct behavior, and that he can expect a food or toy reward momentarily. Per my trainer, we are not to give direction to the dog during NW practice, but she apparently believes this includes verbally marking the wanted behavior instantly with my verbal marker. I say that this is not giving direction but is rather an instant payoff (followed by food reward). Trainer seems to think my verbal marker is a direction to the dog and therefore is a distraction. I disagree. Can you comment on this for me? Thanks so much. I'm about to order Andrew Ramsey's NW DVD (have ALL of Michael Ellis's and some of Ed's DVD's as well), but don't know if I'll find my answer in the DVD.
It can be difficult for non-marker trainers to understand how we train. You are correct in what you are doing.
What I would recommend is to give the trainer the link for the article I wrote on marker training. This will answer her questions and explain the training.
If you MARK the behavior with a “terminal release” then the behavior is over and the dog is released to get it’s reward. If you want the dog to continue offing the behavior (I.E. the focused response once the dog understands the behavior) then you would use GOOD - meaning "I like what your doing and keep on doing it."
This can be difficult for non-marker trainers to understand.
Regards, Ed Frawley
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