Doggonit! Back to Summer School: Exercise 101 

While at OHS, spunky Willard was recovering from major leg surgery after being hit by a car. Healing was hard for this exuberant, youthful pup so he worked with Behavior Modification Certified Trainer Sophia Sares on skills that helped his recovery and kept him safe!

Willard, OHS shelter alum posing
Willard, OHS shelter alum posing
Willard, OHS shelter alum posing with tongue out

If you also have a pup at home with extra exuberance— Don’t fret! Sophia shared an easy intro training tip you can practice at home to strengthen your pups’ skills and build an even stronger bond!  

Exercise 101: Establishing a Marker Word 

Marker Word: Something you say the millisecond a dog does what you ask them to. It can be a word (like good) or click the clicker. 

Step 1: Say the Word (Good or click the clicker) 

Before you dive into other training techniques- start here. Practice establishing your marker word by rewarding your pup when you say the word. You can use any word you like, or you can try “good!”, the marker word we use at OHS. 

Step: 2 Take a beat 

The beat between saying the word and giving you pup a treat is important because it gives a natural pause, where in the future they will perform a desired behavior (like sit, down etc.) and it also allows you to get their treat ready.  

Step 3: Give a Treat  

The treat can be whatever motivates your pet! A delicious treat is a good bet, but some pets prefer scritches, while others quality time, or their favorite toy to chomp. You know what your pet loves best! 

Remember the phrase: Say the Word – Take a Beat – Give a Treat! 

Establishing a marker word was one of the first skills Willard learned that helped him begin his training.  It eventually helped this goofball get adopted into a loving home where he continues to work on his skills with new family!  

Do you love Willard’s goofy grin as much as us? Learn more about his incredible journey!

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