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I'll take a stab at this for the sake of discussion, but please note (again) that I'm a relative newbie and will of course defer to those with more experience and better accomplishments.

So, to the best of my knowledge:

-- There are individuals (and some schools) who have established "official" systems for training particular sports or exercises, sure, but in the universal sense of a system that all marker/clicker trainers adhere to? I don't think so.

The only universal part of marker training is that a marker signal (for simplicity I'll say a "click" but of course the exact marker can vary, and many trainers use both marker words and clicks depending on what is being taught) is given at the moment that the dog is doing something correctly, and then that click is followed by some form of positive reinforcement (usually but not always a treat or toy).

Beyond that, specifics can and do vary widely.

-- It depends how you define "correction." Some trainers use both clicks and physical punishment (prongs, e-collars, etc.); it doesn't mean they aren't using marker systems. Some trainers use "no reward markers" to signal when the dog has done something wrong, and then reset the exercise or, depending on the situation, possibly impose some form of non-forcible punishment (like a time-out). Some trainers don't use anything and just ignore unwanted behaviors (Emily Larlham comes to mind, and I think Susan Garrett does this too? but I'm not as familiar with her approaches); in that scenario the only "correction" is that the dog does not get a reward.

I would consider all of the above to be using some form of marker training to at least some degree. There's nothing about clicker training that is inherently incompatible with the use of either corrections (including verbal corrections/no reward markers) or physical punishments, although in practice most people who call themselves "clicker trainers" don't use the latter and sometimes also avoid the former.

-- I don't believe any single person can be given credit for inventing marker training. People refine it and add new innovations and improved techniques all the time, but the underlying concept of signal-reward (or, I guess, signal-punishment) is something that people have probably been doing in one form or another as long as they've had dogs.

I feel like all of this is surely stuff you must already have heard before, as training discussions are doubtlessly old hat on this board, but like I said: for the sake of discussion, there are my thoughts. :)
good answer, thank you :)



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And high drive dogs don't run into competing motivators or distractions? Do you all really think you need a prey slave to be able to train reliability? Regardless of drives, rewards or motivators should be something the dog really desires. I work with all sorts of so called drive levels and with any of them the trick is to find what motivates them to perform the work. An important part of this is the dog's relationship with the handler.

T
Sure they do but their desire to have what you have is higher and most likely developed since puppyhood ex: ball on string or the food vacume type. The higher value they place on what you have makes it easier to overcome the competing motivators.

What do you do when you run into the dog that has mediocre or low desire for the food or toy you have? Yes they will do some work for it but when a bunny or other running dogs are in the environment those motivators may be higher then whatever you have.
Maybe Im just cynical, I have seen so many pet quality dogs (Im not talking sport or work quality) that are products of positive only training systems that just dont care enough under distraction to be relaible. These issues are usually easily remedied with some positive punishment. Then you hear about how it was all done wrong and if only this or that system was followed it would all have been different. I guess seeing is believing...I hear a lot about it online but when it comes to real life whether its pet training or even on the club field theres a lot of evidence to the contrary.

If you want to talk about biddability I have had some dogs that have a very strong desire to please the handler where creating reliability was easier..and others that are more stubborn and independent. Regardless of what you may say about relationships I have found that there are some dogs that just have more desire to work with you then others no matter what is done. Maybe its just me but I have also noted the weaker softer dogs have more desire to please you then ones I would charecterise as stronger but thats just my personal experience.
 

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Maybe Im just cynical, I have seen so many pet quality dogs (Im not talking sport or work quality) that are products of positive only training systems that just dont care enough under distraction to be relaible. These issues are usually easily remedied with some positive punishment.
Man, I cannot think of a single dog I've had (again, these are all soft/pet dogs) where positive punishment would have made any of my issues easier.

With my main dog (this is Pongu -- if you're who I think you are, we're both on the GSD Forum and I have a whole thread about my misadventures with crazypants dog there), using any form of positive punishment would just have destroyed him. He was already so terrified of the ring environment that I genuinely don't believe I would ever have gotten my insane fearful dog to compete in anything if I hadn't gone 100% supportive and encouraging all the time always. Even when he was NQ'ing every run and making me weep softly (or not so softly) on the inside with the nonstop disasterations.

Pongu is admittedly a special (by which I mean "especially terrible") case, but I don't think I've had unusual problems with proofing and developing off-leash reliability in the other dogs. It does take time and work, and some dogs are always easier than others, but it's just a matter of practice.

edit: I should clarify that when I say it wouldn't have made any of my issues easier, I am referring only to formal obedience-type behaviors. I'm pretty okay with yelling at them for counter-surfing and that sort of thing.
 

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Man, I cannot think of a single dog I've had (again, these are all soft/pet dogs) where positive punishment would have made any of my issues easier.

With my main dog (this is Pongu -- if you're who I think you are, we're both on the GSD Forum and I have a whole thread about my misadventures with crazypants dog there), using any form of positive punishment would just have destroyed him. He was already so terrified of the ring environment that I genuinely don't believe I would ever have gotten my insane fearful dog to compete in anything if I hadn't gone 100% supportive and encouraging all the time always. Even when he was NQ'ing every run and making me weep softly (or not so softly) on the inside with the nonstop disasterations.

Pongu is admittedly a special (by which I mean "especially terrible") case, but I don't think I've had unusual problems with proofing and developing off-leash reliability in the other dogs. It does take time and work, and some dogs are always easier than others, but it's just a matter of practice.

edit: I should clarify that when I say it wouldn't have made any of my issues easier, I am referring only to formal obedience-type behaviors. I'm pretty okay with yelling at them for counter-surfing and that sort of thing.
does the yelling for countersurfing work?



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Sure does! One yell and no more countersurfing.

But I dunno how to get a retrieve over high jump by yelling, whereas I do know how to get it with a clicker. :wink:
 

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For a limited value of "forever," yep.

I did that twice and both of the dogs involved were foster mutts, so they were adopted out within 2-3 weeks after getting busted for counter surfing. They didn't try it again in my house, but the world will never know whether they might have been tempted to take a second shot if I'd had them longer.

I suspect they would not have tried it again. Most of my fosters were "yard dogs" in their previous lives and don't know anything about how to live inside houses when I get them, so once they learn the rules of indoor living it's like "oh okay" and that's that. So I think they would probably have been fine after the first incident, and their adopters have never mentioned any counter-surfing problems to me.

But I'll never actually know.
 

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Man, I cannot think of a single dog I've had (again, these are all soft/pet dogs) where positive punishment would have made any of my issues easier.

With my main dog (this is Pongu -- if you're who I think you are, we're both on the GSD Forum and I have a whole thread about my misadventures with crazypants dog there), using any form of positive punishment would just have destroyed him. He was already so terrified of the ring environment that I genuinely don't believe I would ever have gotten my insane fearful dog to compete in anything if I hadn't gone 100% supportive and encouraging all the time always. Even when he was NQ'ing every run and making me weep softly (or not so softly) on the inside with the nonstop disasterations.

Pongu is admittedly a special (by which I mean "especially terrible") case, but I don't think I've had unusual problems with proofing and developing off-leash reliability in the other dogs. It does take time and work, and some dogs are always easier than others, but it's just a matter of practice.

edit: I should clarify that when I say it wouldn't have made any of my issues easier, I am referring only to formal obedience-type behaviors. I'm pretty okay with yelling at them for counter-surfing and that sort of thing.
I think I recognize your dogs name but didnt read the thread. Anyways you know your dog better then I do but I do not completely agree with you.

call me a cynic.. but another thing that I hear all the time, my dog cant handle +P it will shut him/her down... She wont do anything if I correct her. Yet I have seen and trained (pet OB not Sport) some super soft dogs and created reliability with a little +P. Sure you have to watch your level of pressure but it doesnt change the outcome.

My mind recently goes to a mutt that was on anti anxiety meds and had very poor nerves that was also DA. Now a lot of his issues were handler related but a little +P and the handler taking a more firm stance on misbehavior did wonders.
There are more but thats the most recent one that comes to mind.

Im not saying this is the case 100% of the time but I think that many handlers who hold that view would be surprised that their dog can infact handle some +P and their supposed shutdowns are more handler created / enabled then reality. Is it always the best option? I think thats up to the trainer on scene.
 

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Sure they do but their desire to have what you have is higher and most likely developed since puppyhood ex: ball on string or the food vacume type. The higher value they place on what you have makes it easier to overcome the competing motivators.

What do you do when you run into the dog that has mediocre or low desire for the food or toy you have? Yes they will do some work for it but when a bunny or other running dogs are in the environment those motivators may be higher then whatever you have.
Maybe Im just cynical, I have seen so many pet quality dogs (Im not talking sport or work quality) that are products of positive only training systems that just dont care enough under distraction to be relaible. These issues are usually easily remedied with some positive punishment. Then you hear about how it was all done wrong and if only this or that system was followed it would all have been different. I guess seeing is believing...I hear a lot about it online but when it comes to real life whether its pet training or even on the club field theres a lot of evidence to the contrary.

If you want to talk about biddability I have had some dogs that have a very strong desire to please the handler where creating reliability was easier..and others that are more stubborn and independent. Regardless of what you may say about relationships I have found that there are some dogs that just have more desire to work with you then others no matter what is done. Maybe its just me but I have also noted the weaker softer dogs have more desire to please you then ones I would charecterise as stronger but thats just my personal experience.
1. Control the environment. We found a BC on the streets with a leg broken in two places. He couldn't focus on anything and didn't seem to care about food or toys. . ANY motion in the environment was a distraction. I moved his crate into the bathroom and closed the door. I sat in a chair and shaped a down. Once he was solid, I got it in other places and finally outside when cars going by, leaves blowing, alllll those competing motivators. Then came livestock.
2. Patience
3. Make sure the reward is something the dog realllllllllllllllly values.
4. Keep in mind that you are building drive for the work as well as compliance. Too often you want to just focus on compliance. Quit with the dog in drive.
5. NILIF for the independent types and a strict schedule of it.
6. Negative Punishment

A low drive dog can be just as easy to motivate as a high drive dog. I own a dog that is mostly in it for herself. I wouldn't call her biddable at all. Yet, its marker training and positive reinforcement that made her a trial dog. Two of the strongest dogs I've ever owned, had superb pack drive. You can have dogs that have ultimate nerve strength, confidence, correction hard and biddability. Can I use a correction to stop an undesired behavior? Sure, and do. But its the marker/positive reinforcement that builds behaviors and reliability in my dogs. I've only had one dog that would care about a bunny running around and none that care about other dogs. As Bob says, these are things that you train from puppyhood. For my dogs, that's a long line and marker training. You raise the dog that you are more important than anything in the environment.

I use the same system for dogs that I start as adults and it works. Just got a new dog delivered today. He's two years old. Compared the my dogs, he's best described as medium--low drive. He will never need compulsion to establish reliable behaviors.

T
 

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Jody said:

Some trainers use both clicks and physical punishment (prongs, e-collars, etc.); it doesn't mean they aren't using marker systems. .... There's nothing about clicker training that is inherently incompatible with the use of ... corrections (including verbal corrections/no reward markers) or physical punishments, although in practice most people who call themselves "clicker trainers" don't use the latter and sometimes also avoid the former.

Correct! (I have to protest the term "most people," because I know so many people who use markers who have no intention of writing off corrections. But otherwise, right!)


You can add additional qualifiers that do make it correction-free, but marker training in and of itself does not mean "no corrections."


Marker training is a simple system for communicating to the dog the exact moment when s/he performed an action for which she/he is being rewarded.

IOW, it conveys a snapshot in time of what s/he did to earn a forthcoming reward.

Yes, there is lots more to it (if you want), but the basic idea is to "mark" exactly what the dog did good.


So we load a marker (clicker, word, whatever) to associate it with a reward.


Now we mark what we want. We mark it immediately ... far more quickly and precisely than we could haul out and give a previously hidden reward. (Simple example: the instant that butt hits the ground in a sit, we mark it.)

This is the rock-bottom basis.

There's nothing in Koehler (unless I have really become senile and lost entire chunks of text) that is similar to marker training. This is not a judgment or a criticism .... most training protocols, unless they incorporate the basics of markers, are not "like marker training."

Even all-positive-reward methods, unless they incorporate markers, don't have the instant-timing aspect that marker training has.

Yes, there is (or can be) much more to it, but its bare bones is a means of conveying instant snapshots of wanted behaviors (or tiny pieces of wanted behaviors) to the dog.

I know that other marker trainers will (correctly) want to add more. I'm just trying to describe the very basic gist. ;)


JMO, of course!

I'd add that IMO, the use of markers has nothing to do with and is in no way dependent upon any level of drive .... low or high.
 

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jody said:

some trainers use both clicks and physical punishment (prongs, e-collars, etc.); it doesn't mean they aren't using marker systems. .... there's nothing about clicker training that is inherently incompatible with the use of ... Corrections (including verbal corrections/no reward markers) or physical punishments, although in practice most people who call themselves "clicker trainers" don't use the latter and sometimes also avoid the former.

correct! (i have to protest the term "most people," because i know so many people who use markers who have no intention of writing off corrections. But otherwise, right!)


you can add additional qualifiers that do make it correction-free, but marker training in and of itself does not mean "no corrections."


marker training is a simple system for communicating to the dog the exact moment when s/he performed an action for which she/he is being rewarded.

Iow, it conveys a snapshot in time of what s/he did to earn a forthcoming reward.

Yes, there is lots more to it (if you want), but the basic idea is to "mark" exactly what the dog did good.


So we load a marker (clicker, word, whatever) to associate it with a reward.


Now we mark what we want. We mark it immediately ... Far more quickly and precisely than we could haul out and give a previously hidden reward. (simple example: The instant that butt hits the ground in a sit, we mark it.)

this is the rock-bottom basis.

There's nothing in koehler (unless i have really become senile and lost entire chunks of text) that is similar to marker training. This is not a judgment or a criticism .... Most training protocols, unless they incorporate the basics of markers, are not "like marker training."

even all-positive-reward methods, unless they incorporate markers, don't have the instant-timing aspect that marker training has.

Yes, there is (or can be) much more to it, but its bare bones is a means of conveying instant snapshots of wanted behaviors (or tiny pieces of wanted behaviors) to the dog.

I know that other marker trainers will (correctly) want to add more. I'm just trying to describe the very basic gist. ;)


jmo, of course!

I'd add that imo, the use of markers has nothing to do with and is in no way dependent upon any level of drive .... Low or high.
+1

t
 

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Jody said:

Some trainers use both clicks and physical punishment (prongs, e-collars, etc.); it doesn't mean they aren't using marker systems. .... There's nothing about clicker training that is inherently incompatible with the use of ... corrections (including verbal corrections/no reward markers) or physical punishments, although in practice most people who call themselves "clicker trainers" don't use the latter and sometimes also avoid the former.

Correct! (I have to protest the term "most people," because I know so many people who use markers who have no intention of writing off corrections. But otherwise, right!)


You can add additional qualifiers that do make it correction-free, but marker training in and of itself does not mean "no corrections."


Marker training is a simple system for communicating to the dog the exact moment when s/he performed an action for which she/he is being rewarded.

IOW, it conveys a snapshot in time of what s/he did to earn a forthcoming reward.

Yes, there is lots more to it (if you want), but the basic idea is to "mark" exactly what the dog did good.


So we load a marker (clicker, word, whatever) to associate it with a reward.


Now we mark what we want. We mark it immediately ... far more quickly and precisely than we could haul out and give a previously hidden reward. (Simple example: the instant that butt hits the ground in a sit, we mark it.)

This is the rock-bottom basis.

There's nothing in Koehler (unless I have really become senile and lost entire chunks of text) that is similar to marker training. This is not a judgment or a criticism .... most training protocols, unless they incorporate the basics of markers, are not "like marker training."

Even all-positive-reward methods, unless they incorporate markers, don't have the instant-timing aspect that marker training has.

Yes, there is (or can be) much more to it, but its bare bones is a means of conveying instant snapshots of wanted behaviors (or tiny pieces of wanted behaviors) to the dog.

I know that other marker trainers will (correctly) want to add more. I'm just trying to describe the very basic gist. ;)


JMO, of course!

I'd add that IMO, the use of markers has nothing to do with and is in no way dependent upon any level of drive .... low or high.


+2
I also believe the trainer's ability and his/her connection with the dog have as much to do with success as the method.
 

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+2
I also believe the trainer's ability and his/her connection with the dog have as much to do with success as the method.
Having worked with a dog that wouldn't load to a marker until I bonded with him, I'd say bond/connection/relationship first and then pick your poison as far as method is concerned.

T
 

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i'm glad other perspectives are being discussed since i doubt we will see Koehler method vids being posted :)

another perspective is that markers allow for a more hands OFF approach compared to using physical compulsion which is a big part of the koehler methods.

and i know it has been pointed out how a "hands ON" approach is so effective

but imo you shouldn't limit your training perspective to just dogs, even if you only work with dogs

marker training has been proven for decades to be effective with a number of different species....many of which would be way too dangerous to train using physical compulsion...to the point of being just plain stupid or suicidal :)
... big cats and marine mammals are just a couple of examples

dogs are just more compliant so we often get physical, cause we can .... in most cases, but not all :)

many roads to choose, but less physical compulsion with markers does give an animal more opportunity to make their decisions rather than be immediately forced to comply. and if that seems like a waste of time, fine. i still believe a proficient trainer can easily manipulate a dog into thinking the human's choice was the dog's choice and reward appropriately and still get solid trained behaviors even if there is an added delay to give the dog more time to decide on its own

and all this has NOTHING to do with corrections :)
 

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just another guess, but i think a lot of people who use a lot of physical compulsion don't really care how a dog learns and what is going on in a dog's head because that is irrelevant to them ... they are results oriented only and only talk "dog psychology" when it suits them
- i can handle that too

for me physical compulsion is very close to what i call a correction, and i use it a lot, but apply it later in the training stages than others .... also "because i can", and i rarely have a timeframe i have to adhere to and it works for me :)
 

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I haven't read Koehler, but i have read Konrad Most's book from 1910.

It's one of the best books on dog training i have read, even if it's dated. He used a form of negative-positive-positive as his baseline training, defined his own terms of classical and operant conditioning, before Pavlov and Skinner "invented" them.

He also used marker training (voice), but he never could get to where we are today without shaping and rewards. These are the only 2 (huge !) things missing from the book, IMO.
 
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