Event Markers In Dog Training – What Are They And How Do They Work

What are Event Markers?

Event markers are small objects placed at specific locations in your home or yard where you want your dog to go. These events can be anything from a food bowl, toy, water dish, etc. You place these items at those places and then tell your dog to “Go there”. If the object disappears after the command is given, it means that your dog did not get to it. If the object does not disappear when the command is given, it means that your dog got to it.

How do they work?

When your dog gets to an event marker, he will immediately stop whatever activity he was doing and look around. Then he may sniff the area if necessary before going back to his original activity. When he returns to his original activity, you give him another cue such as “Good boy” or “Come here.” After giving him the second cue, he goes back to his original activity.

Why use them?

You can train your dog to go anywhere with just one event marker. For example, you could have a big sign saying “Play” on a post outside your door. Your dog would come running to play right away and then run over to the other side of the house where there is another large sign saying “Bedtime.” You can than tell your dog to “Go to bed.”

You can also use event markers for training dogs to go inside or outside the house, in or out of the car, into a crate, onto a chair and much more. You can turn any place, object, or item into an event marker with a little forethought.

Other types?

Most people who use markers use food bowls as their events. However, any large object can be used as an event such as a ball, Frisbee, shoe, etc. You can give the command “Go to your ball” or “Go to your toy.” You can also use your dog’s toys or other items as event markers though. Just make sure you switch out the items every once in a while so that your dog doesn’t get bored.

How do I start?

Sources & references used in this article:

Modern animal training by K Pryor, K Ramirez – The Wiley Blackwell handbook of operant …, 2014 – books.google.com

Barriers to the adoption of humane dog training methods by Z Todd – Journal of Veterinary Behavior, 2018 – Elsevier

Perceived effectiveness of livestock-guarding dogs placed on Namibian farms by LL Marker, AJ Dickman, DW Macdonald – Rangeland Ecology & …, 2005 – Elsevier

Differences between clicker and voice when used as event markers in shaping novel behaviors in dog training by MTG Ramírez, RL Hernández, MV Farfano – Medicina UPB, 2017 – revistas.upb.edu.co

Journalists as interpretive communities by B Zelizer – Critical Studies in Media Communication, 1993 – nca.tandfonline.com

Domestic dogs (Canis familiaris) use a physical marker to locate hidden food by J Riedel, D Buttelmann, J Call, M Tomasello – Animal cognition, 2006 – Springer

Reaching the animal mind: clicker training and what it teaches us about all animals by K Pryor – 2009 – books.google.com