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Location and Arousal Specific Marker Cues

May 23

2:00 pm PT


Reinforcement drives behavior, right? What if your dog cares what type of reinforcement they get and likes some more than others? What if specific types of reinforcement carry different arousal/excitement and you can take advantage of that in your training, whether sports skills or for general behaviors? And in the meantime, how about adding clarity to where and how to collect the reinforcement, something that highly motivated toy dogs could definitely benefit from.

We’ve all been using a clicker or a verbal word like Yes to mean “collect reinforcement” to our dog. Now let’s think about slicing up that clicker and making it more concise and clear to your learner dog. Having verbal cues that tell your dog where to collect reinforcement and what exactly that reinforcement is can be so mind blowing and complicated for the handler, but it clears things up and makes things so much simpler for the dog! The dog can devote their entire concentration to listening to you and performing the behavior skills instead of watching your physical motions as predictors of where and when the reward is coming. A side benefit of teaching and using this concept is that it incorporates “switching reinforcement” and also teaches “no”. If yes means “food from the hand”, it also means not food on the ground, or the ball on the chair, or that other dog over there, extending all the way up to “Not that deer”! Teaching your dog this concept with reinforcement you control can only benefit your training in sport and real life skills that often bring about interactions with reinforcement you cannot control.

Presented By:

Shade Whitesel

Shade Whitesel has been training and competing in dog sports since she was a kid. Always curious in how dogs learn, she has successfully competed in IGP/IPO/Schutzhund, AKC obedience and French Ring. Her retired dog, Reiki vom Aegis, IPO 3, FH 1, French Ring 1, CDX, was 5th at the 2010 AWDF Championships, 7th at the 2012 AWDF Championships, 1st at the 2011 Northwest Regionals, and 2nd at the 2012 Dutch Shepherd Nationals. Along the way, Shade has received a perfect score in the IPO tracking phase on two separate dogs, and a perfect score in IPO obedience with Talender von Grunheide. Shade currently competes with Reik’s son, Ones, who has his IPO 2, and AKC Preferred Novice title and is looking forward to hitting the trial field with her youngest dog, Talic, who is looking very promising for all the things!

Though Shade is owned by highly motivated working line German Shepherds and is known for her toy skills classes, she especially enjoys teaching foundation skills to all manner of dogs and their people. Good training and learning starts at the beginning.

What started out as an experiment — competing at the National level in IPO without the use of an e-collar — has now turned into a firm commitment to the positive method, and the desire to teach other trainers and dogs how to be successful in dog sports and life.