Step 1 – Shape Interest
Short for “Positive Marker”, a Mark is a word or signal given at the exact moment a desired behavior is performed. It’s like a clicker. Mark can also mean the act of marking behaviors. “Did you Mark that?” asks if the positive marker was given to tell the dog he was correct. When playing disc it is important to Mark... and reinforce (rewarding for position) interest or approach to the Spot is a “go to a place”, or “go to a mat” behavior. This means that the dog seeks out and performs a duration behavior on a spot of the handler’s choosing. A Pedestal is a raised spot. Anything a dog can leap onto and perch upon. Spots and Pedestals are important dog training tools....
Step 2 – Add Value
Shovel food on the spot – standing, sitting, and/or down
Step 3 – Release
The Give is a retrieve to the hand. A cued Give is a foundational skill that is not super useful in the actual performance of disc dog freestyle, and has huge applications for training and skills development . A Give is distinctly different from a Drop because of the localized nature of the skill. Give only happens in the hand,... your release cue and toss cookie to help dog off.
When teaching any behavior the first step is getting it to happen. The second step is to add as much value as possible to the behavior to ensure that it happens again. For learning and adding value we should aim for 15-30+ rewards per minute. That’s a cookie every 2-4 seconds, kind of nuts right? You want to keep it there for a while too. Make sure the dog has a lot of desire to do that behavior.
That way when you stop working behavior and wait a few moments, you provide contrast between how awesome it is when they are doing Spot and how lame it is when they are not doing Spot. The Spot, or any other behavior, can become an opportunity here as well because the Spot behavior leads to a boatload of cookies.