The Power of Training Dogs with Markers

The Power of Training Dogs with Markers

The two most important things a new dog trainer can learn how to accomplish with their dogs are:

They need to learn how to get and maintain “ENGAGEMENT

They need to teach “GENERALIZATION” as it relates to commands.


 Engagement simply means your dog wants to be with you and he wants what you have (I. E a toy; a piece of food; or handler praise).

If dog trainers don’t have engagement how are they suppose to get a dog to pay attention; how can they train their dog to do anything if the dog doesn’t want to be with them. If a dog doesn’t want what the trainer has how is he suppose to motivate a dog to perform a behavior (follow a command)?

Without engagement, the only way anyone can get a dog to do something is to FORCE that dog to do what you want it to do. That’s exactly what dog trainers like myself did 10 to 12 years ago. I started training dogs in the late 1990’s. It wasn’t pretty but we didn’t know any better.


 Generalization simple means once a dog has learned the meaning of a command he will perform that command in any location and under distraction.

An example of a dog that has not yet generalized a command is often seen when a dog owner learns that they can teach their dog a behavior in their kitchen but the minute their dog is taken out of the kitchen it seems to forget everything its learned. That’s because the dog has not generalized the command.

A dog has not generalized a SIT command when it will SIT in the kitchen or SIT in the garage but will not SIT when friends come over. A dog has not generalized the DOWN command when it will down on its rug in your living room but will not down in your yard when a neighbor is walking his dog past your house.

I have been training dogs since the 1990’s. It’s taken a long time and learning many failed training methods to settle into a system of dog training that consistently produces dogs that are engaged with me and dogs that generalize the work I am trying to teach them.

We call this Marker Training. It has evolved into mainstream dog training here in America since the early 1990’s.