Marker training has been one of the most effective of any method I have seen in my 40 plus years of training dogs. Marker training is mostly a black and white method of indicating what is the right movements that make up a behavior.

Marker training provides a method that allows a human to communicate with his dog at the exact moment his dog does something he likes. It provides a non-punishment based method of telling a dog that you like what he is currently doing and you want him to continue to do exactly what he is doing at this moment in time.


The process of marker training looks something like this:

1) Get a dog

2) Decide what you are going to use to "mark" behaviors. This can be a word, a sound you make, or a sound you create with a tool like a 'clicker'.

3) Decide what behavior you wish to teach

4) Picture in your mind, or write down, the different movements that produce the final behavior that you want your dog to do

5) Watch your dog. As soon as he makes one of those movements, "mark" that movement and reward the dog.

6) Keep watching your dog. He should make the same movement, if he does, mark and reward.

7) Repeat #6 several times and then wait a little longer to see if the dog can add to the movement the next logical move toward the behavior you have decided upon.

8) Mark and reward all such movements in sequence that will finally produce the wanted behavior

For example The first steps of Take It

  1. Final Behavior: Take the toy from the human and hold it
  2. Closest behavior the dog already does: Looks at toy.
  3. Reinforcer for each approximation that meets the criterion: freeze dried liver.
  4. Progressive approximations – Mark each time the dog attempts any step, raising criteria as proficiency is gained.
    1. Look at toy
    2. Move toward toy
    3. Touch nose to toy
    4. Grab toy with teeth
    5. Grab toy with teeth and pull away from human
    6. Hold toy for some duration without chewing
    7. Repeat previous approximation for longer durations

In Training

Standard Parkour



Jumpers Parkour

Creative Parkour