help with "mark"
In the process of beginning go-outs, I am having trouble getting Cooper to hold his gaze on the place I try to "mark." I think failing to hold the "mark" is starting to present issue with gloves as well. Do you have tips or exercises that might help me communicate that "mark" means stare at that and KEEP staring at that? I have gone back to tossing treats but I still don't think I have him understanding what I want.
how long do you make him stare at the treat before you send him?
I think going back to tossing treats is probably a good idea, but I'd make him stare at the treat a good long time before he gets sent.
Can someone else help you?
Here's my thought.
Have someone else XX distance away (depending on his skill level). Tell him "mark", and then have them drop the treat. If he stares at it, and continues to stare at it, send him to get it.
Increase the time before you increase the distance.
If at any time he looks away from the treat, have your helper pick up the treat, and you heel him away from where he was just sitting. Heel him around for a few seconds, then back to where he was, and try it again.
Use high value treats. And at least at first, be sure they are also quite visible against the flooring.
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This is helping, along with going back to the clicker so as to more precisely show him what is getting rewarded. Would love to hear any other ideas but at least there is progress.
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I'm still learning all this myself... but I've had it drilled in my head that you gradually build distance from the target as the dog is successful. And good trainers will go back and refresh things from time to time because the dogs learn to cheat as well.
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Here is the process I will use for my next pup to learn to hold a mark for go outs:
get right in front of the stanchion. Put a squirt of cheese on the stanchion. Straddle the dog, mark the spot, and as dog is looking send the dog. Repeat over and over. Then lower hand and don't send dog unless is still locked on. Then step away from dog after marking and don't send unless dog is still locked on. Then mark, go sit down in a chair across the room, and don't send dog unless he is still locked on.
Back up a foot of so. Repeat all the above steps.
Back up another foot. Repeat all steps.
Continue backing up until you are full distance across the ring, can mark the dog, walk off anywhere in the room and dog will not move his eyes off the mark.
At that point the cheese is removed from the go outs. Replaced either with a touch and/or a retrieve.
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