Ask Ali - A Professional Dog Trainer Answers Your Dog Training Problems!

is clicker training really necessary or is a yes aka a marker word just as good?

March 27, 2023 Ali Smith Season 2 Episode 7
Ask Ali - A Professional Dog Trainer Answers Your Dog Training Problems!
is clicker training really necessary or is a yes aka a marker word just as good?
Show Notes Transcript

I'm so excited to share with you today's video: Is clicker training really necessary? Or is a marker word just as good?

This was a question that Stewie_McD asked me on Instagram and it got me thinking.

In this video, I'll discuss some of the science behind clicker training vs marker training and what conclusion I draw from it. Let's go!

If you want more reading, Clicker vs marker!

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Ali Smith is the founder of This episode comes from an instagram live, head to @re.barkable or submit your question to

Welcome to Ask Ali with multi award-winning dog trainer, Ali Smith, answering real dog questions from real dog parents. Stu MCee . And I love this question cause this came, this is actually something that I actually really recently wrote about, so it came up like a perfect time for me. So thank you very much.

Asked, is clicker training really necessary or is a yes aka a marker word just as good? There's some rather old research that suggests that clicker training is up to 60% more effective than a marker word, however, It has since been debunked. Okay. That has been proven to be false. They are absolutely equally effective, so long as the timing is correct.

Okay? So long as your timing is spot on, and so long as your rewarding and praising when you should be, that marker word is absolutely fine. And personally, I think the hassle of not having a clicker  is.  much more beneficial. Cause I like, I always think that there's a bit of a delay between dog did good click.

I would rather do, dog did good. Dump up. Do you know what I mean? So for anyone that's listening to this Audi, like audibly, that was basically a delay between the brain and the hand that is longer than the brain and the mouth, at least for me, . But maybe I'm weird. I'd always opt to not have something in my hand.

But then I'm also walking large dogs, so like all of my dogs are 75 pound plus, so what's that? 35 kilos ish of dog? So I don't want to have a clicker in my hand. And studies have shown since there's been more than one study, I think at least two, that have said that clickers and marker words are equally effective.

We've heard so. This is a podcaster alive that has dogs in it. So occasionally we do get howling from my two current hounds. Thank you very much for being patient with me, . So that's that. Do sorry, I'm just making sure I stay on top of things. I hope they're not too loud for you guys.

If someone can tell me if they're really loud, I'll go shut 'em up. But, We should be. Okay. So at Ralph Pip and Peggy wants to know how to teach a dog to settle step by step. It's a really nice thing to do. We have to teach our dogs to settle because otherwise we get things like this howling dogs in the background when they get over excited about the stuff.

They were settled before this live, I promise, . Oh, okay. Great. Thanks so much for telling me. I thought that they were really loud, cuz all I can hear is howling. . But I'm glad that they're not too loud for the audio. So how do we teach dog to settle step by step? Firstly, I like to give them a place that they know is there, they're settle place.

So I always have beds. It's but you might opt for a crate. You might opt for a play pen. You might just opt for a mat. That's. Their safe zone. Things like bath mats can actually be really handy for these because they're lightweight. You can roll 'em up, throw 'em in a washing machine.

They work really nicely. So all you are gonna do is firstly teach a bed queue or a place queue, and that's that location which would be just a case of lead them over there. Pop 'em into a sit, pop 'em into a laydown, and then ask for a stay. And you're just slowly gonna, as then associate that cue with, or that combination of cues with one word.

I personally use bed. You might use crate, you might use place. Pick whatever you want. The word itself doesn't matter. So start there and then every time you see them go, They get a reward. Okay. Because we wanna encourage them to be there. And then particularly be, and, oh, sorry. I should also say, when you mark and praise that, I want you to use a calm tone.

We don't want the vibrant, buoyant, excited tones of the recall. We want the gentle storytelling bedtime, sleepy tones. Okay, we want well done. Good boy, good girl. As if I say, yay, come on puppy. follow? We want the nice calm tones because we don't wanna suddenly excite them and then break the exact behavior that we were trying to encourage them to what I would love you to do then is watch their body language because the body language of a dog that is settled is different toward the body language of a dog that's coiled and ready to spring. Okay? So the coiled and ready to spring, all their legs are gonna be under them. They're gonna have, they're gonna be like in a neat, that cly position that's like quite famous for cly dogs staring down.

What they call sheep . There we go. Light bulb moment . So the colleagues staring down the sheep where they're curled up and they're ready to go. Like just as soon as somebody gives the cue, right? That position, it works to start with, but what you want is that hip cocked to the side.

So when they lean the hip back into and put all their weight on one side,  that's showing you that your dog is actually switching off, that they're actually coming down. If your dog is struggling to make this transition, you can then take advantage of some natural relaxing things for dogs, such as licking, chewing, and you can even do music.

You can even start like with a Relaxo pet or even like the the YouTube channel. That's. I'm now missing . But there's a whole YouTube, it is like music for dogs or something in that genre. But I'll link it in my stories after this cuz it, it's really wonderful and I use it around fireworks night and things like that.

So that should really work. And if you're struggling with like sleep or sleep deprivation and your dog's like far too over exuberant and they can't control their emotions cuz they're not getting enough sleep and they're not getting enough sleep because they can't settle. Stuff. Like a playpen can be really powerful because you essentially just say, Nope, this is your area, this is all you're allowed to do.

 it just disables that. And then routine. And you wanna set up as many opportunities for sleep as physically possible. Okay? But do give them somewhere nice and comfortable to sleep. Do you want Ali to answer your questions? Email Woof@ and make sure to subscribe.