We were wondering whether we should use Yes or the clicker to mark. Which do you feel is the better tool in the long run?
First I would like to commend you and thank you for sharing your great knowledge and experience in in such a easily accessible medium. We have tried local training classes only to leave feeling frustrated with the lack of structure and the inability to engage with our pup during the lesson.
One question we have had as we have going through the [Basic Dog Obedience] course is whether we should use "Yes" or the clicker to mark. I know the answer to this depends somewhat on the dog, but I am wondering from your experience which you feel is the better tool in the long run.
You made my day in your comment on the course. I am very excited about the online program we have put together. It allows for instant updates, we can add to or modify information or even delete information as it become obsolete. Where as a DVD is set in plastic and there isn't any changing it unless you do a complete new DVD.
The answer to your question on the mark is that it doesn't matter if you use your voice or a clicker as long as you are consistent. We prefer to use our voice because we always seem to have that with us, where as we may forget the clicker when we are out training.
Truth be told, our dogs are a lot smarter than we give them credit for. As they progress through training, dogs can learn a verbal mark and a clicker. It's just better to teach one first then overlay the other. I compare that to when I used to train narcotic detection dogs. In the old days we would train one drug and when the dog was solid on the first, we would add the second, then the third, etc.
Then we went the other way, we put 3 or 4 drugs together (like a cocktail), trained the dogs to alert on the cocktail. When they were solid we took one drug and hid it by itself. Guess what, all the dogs hit on the individual drug.
So, a voice and a clicker are not that big of a difference as long as you train them the same and show the dog that the MARK is the RELEASE.