Reward words… do you use them?

Using a reward marker such as the word “yes” is a great way to train any dog. These are simple, short words which are used when training to tell your dog that they’ve done something correctly.

These words bridge the gap between the dogs completing the correct behaviour, and the time it takes you to reward them for it.

For example, when you tell a dog to sit, and then give them a treat for doing so, they have already completed 10 minuscule behaviours in that time; a lip lick, a tail wag, a turn of the head etc. Using the marker, “yes,” let’s them know that it was the sitting you are rewarding them for and not the 9 other behaviours.

Have a look at our quick guide on how to use reward words below

  • For beginners, start your dog off by using the word “yes”.
  • Every time you say “yes”, and the dog gives you attention, reward them. Try this until the word is associated with attention.
  • Make sure you only do this a couple of times per day over a few days.
  • Once your dog is aware that “yes” means a reward, try small training exercises. Ask your dog to sit. When the dog sits, say “yes” at the exact time they sit and then reward with a treat or a toy.
  • Timing is critical for your dog to understand what you want from them. Make sure that “yes” is said as they do the trick or command.

Watch the video below, and look at the timing of “yes” to the behaviour we are trying to embed.

Let us know how your training is going!

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