How To Charge Your Clicker Or Marker
Charging Your Clicker Or Marker
Charging your clicker or marker is a term used to teach your dog to understand that a certain signal means that a treat is coming. These signals can be many different things. the most common markers are clickers, a simple device that sounds a quick "click"sound when pressed. I have used other markers as well. Deaf dogs can not hear the clicker. In this case I have used pen-lights and vibration collars as markers. I also used my voice as a marker, a single word or sound like "good" or "yes" or you can even make your own click sound.
No matter what signal you choose to use as your marker, charging is the same in every case. Trigger the marker, wait a moment, delever the treat. Repeat.
Soon your dog will associate the marker with the treat. Now we mention treats as the reward item, but the reward item can be anything the dog likes. the more the dog like the reward item the better. Maybe your dog likes petting or playing. those can also be used after the marker. Treats are easy because we can repeat the next event very soon after the last one. Also treats help to trigger the primary reinforcer of food.
This action of charging our marker is classic Pavlov's Law. ring the bell, present the food and the dog salivates. After several repititions the dog starts to salivate the moment the bell rings, even though the food is not presented.
Once we have our marker "charged", we can use it in training. Any behavior can be trained in a few simple steps.
- Wait for or prompt the behavior.
- Use your marker to mark the behavior.
- Reinforce the behavior, by using your reward item.