|QUESTION: As soon as my beagle notices that I have treats, he starts offering all sorts of behaviors but he doesn’t do exactly what I want. Help.|
ANSWER: This is a common question and the answer is pretty simple. You need to introduce a marker in the training process.
What is a marker? We are not talking about the stuff to draw with. A marker in dog training is the unequivocal signal you use the moment your beagle performs the behavior that you want.
Some trainers use a clicker as a marker because it is very consistent (for more info about clicker training see the resource box at the bottom of this article).
If you prefer to have your hands free, you can use a “Yes” at the exact moment that your beagle offers you the behavior that you want.
In and of itself, the market has no value. However, the marker needs to predict with a 100 per cent of accuracy that a treat or another form of reward is coming immediately after the marker.
So you need to remain consistent and mark the desired behavior consistently and follow up with a treat or a reward. Your beagle will figure out pretty fast what behavior you want.
What is happening right now is that your beagle is confused and associates treats with a number of behaviors. If you mark consistently the desired behavior and only reward that behavior, you will help your beagle figure it out.
Using Markers To Train Your Beagle
In this video you will see examples of how exactly markers are used to train your dog.
Would you like more beagle training info and videos? Check out the resource box below.