Y is for Yes!

Pictures of Isis that make me want to shout, “Yes!”

Isis did all these tricks because she wanted to, though I’m sure our affirmations reinforced her habits.

“Yes!” is a marker word of choice that can be used in place of a clicker.

At first, I was skeptical about clicker training. Who wants to hold something else in her hand in addition to the leash and the poop bag? (This was pre-PoopPac.)

The handling method I used to finally get Isis to walk nicely on a leash involved a leash with two points of contact, a Halti, harness, treats, and a clicker. Somehow I managed this even though the gear actually requires four hands.

Clickers are ideal, because as Karen Pryor writes: “It means one thing only: a reward is coming because of what you did when you heard the click.” However, similar results can be achieved with a marker word as long as it’s timed well and distinct to the dog.

Pryor adds: “You can use a word—obedience instructors like the word yes—and it will work a lot better than treats alone.” (She goes on to say clickers are better. She’s a purist.)

Kikopup explains Clicker Training:

We’re closing in on the finish line! For the A to Z Challenge, I’m using all positive language in my posts. Read the story of how positive training helped my reactive dog Isis in my book, Bark and Lunge!


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Published by Kari Neumeyer

Writer, editor, dog mom, ovarian cancer survivor

10 thoughts on “Y is for Yes!

  1. This is all good stuff, Kari. The Alsatian cross that is staying with us temporarily is sweet, loving, gentle and responsive, but so, so reactive (and, if I’m honest, a bit clingy). There is some question now whether her owner will be in a position to return for her, and we can’t keep her permanently, so rehoming is a strong possibility. Because of the situation, I am unsure to what extent we should work with her on her reactivity. I wouldn’t want to hand her back to her owner a different dog to how she came to us – our brief was only to give her a caring temporary home.

  2. our dog is not trainable… she trains us. lol. love the photos, it’s so hard to get that shot… you could out there for hours and never get that. i wait for my animals to fall asleep and wake them to get that yawn… 🙂

  3. Good “Y” word! I used a clicker in the early stages of our agility training but after the foundation stuff is complete, I don’t find it as useful. Too hard to get the timing right!

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