Podcast #27: No Reward Markers with Fanny Gott
This week through the magic of the internet, I got to talk with Swedish dog trainer, Fanny Gott. I know, right?! I'm the luckiest. Thank you, Internet (and Fanny)!
Fanny Gott is a successful competitor with her own dogs in both obedience and agility. And, she was generous enough to take the time to chat with me between traveling home from the European Open and leaving to compete in the Nordic Championships….which I believe are both agility competitions. I should get over there someday to check these events out!
But I digress.
Fanny basically has a pretty sweet gig as she travels all over the world teaching seminars and also offers some online classes with her husband Thomas. Yes, her husband is also a dog training! Make sure you check out all you can about Fanny by visiting her website.
On this episode, we discussed:
The idea behind a No Reward Marker is that the trainer has some signal that tells the dog that reinforcement is not available for whatever just happened. So, it’s sort of like an anti-click.
Let's be honest, No Reward Marker can be kind of a hot topic in dog training circles, because hearing a buzzer that tells you that you are wrong, can be pretty aversive… even if nothing additionally unpleasant follows it.
Some trainers feel that the risk of emotional fallout is higher than the benefit of telling the dog that he’s wrong. Other trainers feel like it’s important to identify mistakes. And there is a wide, wide range of how this concept might be applied in practice.
As usual, a large part of the problem we run into when discussing the concept is that everyone has a slightly different definition or picture in their head of what they mean by a No Reward Marker and what that looks like. So, as you can imagine, it can be a real challenge to have a meaningful discussion when everyone is talking about something different.