Criteria is a key concept of dog training. Criteria is what exactly the handler is looking for out of the dog at any given time as a metric for success. Criteria is the thing the Positive Marker is marking. It is the desired behavior. It really should be criterion, as that is the singular expression of criteria and a discrete,... More is an extremely important component of dog training, possibly the most important. As we really start to get our dogs conditioned to taking note of their behavior and replicating it to positively effect their consequence, they become extremely bright and are able to learn extremely fast. They will learn behaviors very quickly.
Setting clear and appropriate criteria allows the handler to teach the skills we want our dogs to learn quickly and efficiently.
Many times it is the handler’s failure to set and enforce criteria at the beginning or at a critical stage in learning that causes those stumbling blocks in our training. Muddy criteria with a smart dog is a recipe for disaster. It can lead to confusion, poor performance and an avoidance of work.
If the dog fails, smack the handler.