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Clicker training

Naliath
October 10th, 2005, 11:14 PM
Hey does anyone use or know anything about clicker training? I was thinking about trying it with my cat and/or trying with my puppy whenever I happen to get one and am curious about what people think. How has it worked for people and any pros/cons I should know about it?

Me and Kayla
November 2nd, 2005, 11:24 AM
Hey does anyone use or know anything about clicker training? I was thinking about trying it with my cat and/or trying with my puppy whenever I happen to get one and am curious about what people think. How has it worked for people and any pros/cons I should know about it?

I've just started training Kayla (a Pitbull) with the clicker. According to what I have read, start small and for short periods of time and build from there. Never use the clicker to get their attention. This is just for reinforcement for the appropriate behaviour. As I said...it's all theory to me right now, I'll let you know after a couple of weeks how it is progressing.

How is it working out for you?

Me and Kayla

jessi76
November 2nd, 2005, 11:38 AM
I clicker train my pup - he's been in training since 12wks old... he's 7 months now, and his progress was and continues to be amazing. I've found it to be a perfect method of training for me & him. I haven't had any negative experiences with this method.

Lissa
November 2nd, 2005, 11:58 AM
Dodger's first obedience class used cliker training...the intructor said most dogs understand what the click means within 15 minutes (It took Dodger 2 days of on and off C&T for him to realize what it meant :p !)

Anyway, I found the clicker pointless at first because I already had a marker word for Dodger and he already knew the commands. However, when I want to teach him a new trick fast, I use the clicker and he learns it within a couple of sessions! I'm amazed that he's never forgotten what the click means (even though I go months without using it!). At the pet store, when people buy the clicker they tend to go nuts and click like crazy, poor Dodger thinks lots of treats are coming for him :( !!

I think the biggest mistake people make with clicker training is not fading the C&T soon enough - that's when you get dogs that depend on it. With clicker training your timing has to be exact, not a second too late or too early (unless you are trying to shape or teach your dog/cat something in stages!)

Clicker training can be a very succesful training method - although somethimes I wonder...one day us humans tried to do it (one of us pretended to be the dog while the rest of us decided what we wanted the human "dog" to do by C&T...we ended up giving up :o !!)

Me and Kayla
November 2nd, 2005, 01:07 PM
I think the biggest mistake people make with clicker training is not fading the C&T soon enough - that's when you get dogs that depend on it. With clicker training your timing has to be exact, not a second too late or too early (unless you are trying to shape or teach your dog/cat something in stages!)
)

Can you explain that a little further please?


Me and Kayla

Lissa
November 2nd, 2005, 01:58 PM
Can you explain that a little further please?
Me and Kayla

Sure I can explain it - sorry, sometimes I don't use the right words because I'm not a trainer and because I'm rushing when I type!

A lot of people assume that you need to C&T forever, of course you do not. Clicker training is most beneficial when you are teaching/shaping new behaviours or are trying to "tune up" old one's...a lot of people still tend to C&T once the dog understands the command. I only use the clicker when I am introducing something new to Dodger because its so quick and easy. As soon as he realizes what I want him to do, the clicker is no longer necessary.

Clicker training has to be exact because you want to make sure that you are rewarding your dog for the correct/desired behaviour. Because the whole point of the clicker is to mark a specific behaviour you can't click 5 seconds after your dog sits on command, you need to click the instant his bum touches the ground. Of course, it's just as important you don't click too early, otherwise your dog might think you want his bum to hover instead of planting it on the ground!

With regards to shaping, let's say I want Dodger to do something complex that requires a series of behaviours, like touching a target with his paw...At first, I will C&T him for even moving in the right direction, then I'll click when he stands in front of the target, then if/when he touches it with his nose etc...until he finally figures out what I want him to do...So we are going from general to more specific each time I click... So that's what I mean when you might click "early" when you are trying to shape a behaviour - because you aren't waiting for the exact behaviour - you are kinda encouraging your dog and taking little steps along the way... :)

jessi76
November 2nd, 2005, 02:58 PM
great explanation Lissa!

I just wanted to add, that my trainer always says "good thing I didn't give you a gun".... carefull that clicker doesn't accidentally go off! if it does, dog gets a treat anyways. always treat after clicking.

(I can't tell you how many times I'm trying to juggle my clicker, my treats, the leash, the crazy dog on the end of the leash, and then BAM! clicker goes off)

Tucker has now figured out to click himself. he'll steal the clicker off the table, run around CLICK, CLICK, CLICK... and look at me, like umm, I clicked, I need my treat.

Lissa
November 2nd, 2005, 03:18 PM
I just wanted to add, that my trainer always says "good thing I didn't give you a gun".... carefull that clicker doesn't accidentally go off! if it does, dog gets a treat anyways. always treat after clicking.

(I can't tell you how many times I'm trying to juggle my clicker, my treats, the leash, the crazy dog on the end of the leash, and then BAM! clicker goes off)

Tucker has now figured out to click himself. he'll steal the clicker off the table, run around CLICK, CLICK, CLICK... and look at me, like umm, I clicked, I need my treat.

Exactly, that has happened to me as well - especially in the beginning, I was so clumsy with the clicker! I'd click too early a lot of the time and also been known to click at random for the wrong behaviour :p !

I also like what Kayla's Mum wrote - never click to get you dog's attention - you'll just be rewarding them for ignoring you! ;)

Tucker is hilarious :D ! Dodger did that once, he was so shocked - he just froze and stared at me (I think it actually scared him!)!

StaceyB
November 2nd, 2005, 05:55 PM
There is a lot of confusion when it comes to the clicker. Many people think that it is one click for this and two for that.

All the clicker is for is to say to the dog you did it right the treat is coming. The benefit of the clicker is that unlike your own voice it makes the same sound each and every time, though each clicker to a dog makes a slightly different sound. The other part that is nice is that it gives you extra time to get the treat to them, especially when you are training at a distance.

The first step is to teach the dog what the click means so click, dog looks at you, treat. Repeat to increase reliability and speed. Next use the name game, say their name, they respond, click, then treat.

The first part is to show them that a click means reward. The second step is to ask them to do something. When they do it they get a click which means they get a treat. This is one of the easiest ways to start your clicker training.

Sadie's Mom
November 2nd, 2005, 10:54 PM
I didn't use clicker training for Sadie's regular everyday training, but we do use it in Agility, and it's excellent for that. So I could definitely see how it coule be helpful in training everyday things too, just maybe not completely necessary like it is in Agility. Once they understand the clicker, and it's loaded, it's really allows the dog to know when it's done something right, and repeat the behaviour more easily and readily.

Sadie was terrified of the sound when we first used it, but once she figured out treats come right after a click, she loves it!

And yeah, getting the time perfect is essential, and can be tough to master, but I'd say there are some definite advantages to clicker training when teaching new things.

Lissa
November 3rd, 2005, 07:35 AM
To help people practice with the clicker it can be helpful to bounce a ball on the ground (not very high) and try to click before it hits the ground again...I'm not sure if it works though...just make sure that if you want to practice, don't do it around the dog ;) !!

Dodger and I took a pre-agility class and it seems that clicker's are VERY within the agility circuit...although our instructor suggested that we start using a marker word because its easier than a clicker when we start running through more and more obstacles!