The Woof U Training Method
We use Marker/Reward Training because it is the most efficient way to teach a dog new skills or behaviors.
What is a Marker?
A "Marker" is a way to tell your dog they have earned a reward. It can be a word ("Yes!"), a sound (clicker), or a particular tap to the body for blind dogs.
Training a dog with treats can be inefficient because the dog doesn't necessarily know WHY he got a treat. If our timing is off, we will reward the wrong thing and confuse our dog. For example, they Sit and we reach for a treat but they stand up before we can give it to them. The Marker solves that by explicitly telling the dog what they did to earn the reward. It buys us time to get the treat to the dog.
Choose A Marker
To be effective, a marker must mean one thing and one thing only. You have earned a reward. Therefore, once the mark is given we must give our dog a treat every time. Praise words like "good" or "good girl" are not suitable markers because we need to be able to praise our dogs without the need to give them a treat. We will fade out the marker and treats eventually and replace it with praise and petting, so we need to keep "good" for praise!
Better options are "YES!" or "NICE!" or a clicker
How to Teach It
Decide what marker you want to use
Have several small (pea-sized) treats on the counter and your dog on-leash
Do not give your dog any commands or say their name
Stand with your hands against your body and "mark" (say the word, give the hand-signal, click the clicker, etc.)
Take one treat off the counter and feed it to your dog
Repeat steps 4 & 5 at least 10 times for 2-3 sessions, then test for understanding
Test for Understanding
While your dog is doing nothing in particular, look at him and "mark"
If he looks expectantly for a treat (the same response as if you had asked "do you want a treat?", he's got it! Go grab a treat and give it to him. You no longer need to do this exercise.
If he has no reaction, he needs more sessions. Go grab a treat and give it to him. Do a couple more sessions and test again.
Some reasons why your dog may not be getting it
Are you grabbing the treat at the same time or before you"mark"? The marker only works if it happens before the treat.
Are you waiting too long after the mark to give the treat?
Are you marking more than once?
Are you saying other things like his name or asking him to sit instead of only the mark?