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Clicker Training

May 7th, 2008, 09:20 AM
Okay, I know about clicker training, I have seen it, but does it work for every dog, or just working or larger dogs?

Any ideas on training Nova would be great!

Does it help with Potty training?

May 7th, 2008, 09:39 AM
My American Eskimo did not respond to clicker training - and 3 different trainers tried the technique. But some Eskies respond very well - might just depend on the dog. My Eskie also LOVES to have water squirted at him and coins in a can don't bother him either. He isn't deaf - in fact his hearing is excellent. I guess the only thing you can do is try the clicker - 3 different trainers tried it with our little devil.

May 7th, 2008, 11:36 AM
it will work for any dog who is motivated by the reward you choose to use. a clicker doesn't train, it simply marks the desired behavior. YOU do the training. The clicker method is simply a reward based method. a click marks the good behavior and the dog gets rewarded (praise, treats, toy, etc...) I firmly believe it will work with any dog, provided that you take the time to figure out what motivates your dog best.

my dog was motivated best by liver biscotti.... lol

May 7th, 2008, 11:51 AM
Okay, I know about clicker training, I have seen it, but does it work for every dog, or just working or larger dogs?

Any ideas on training Nova would be great!

Does it help with Potty training?

Clicker training works on every living creature that has the brain capacity to know that good things happen after a click... including dogs - as long as the human knows how to apply it...

1. you must know what motivates your dog and have numerous rewards available (primary and secondary to offer).. It generally helps to make a list of the things your dog finds most rewarding and least rewarding... For example, my dog is motivated by any morsel of food - could be boring kibble BUT if he has just been called off of a squirrel in mid-chase, I am going to bring out the roast beef (something A LOT more exciting than kibble) must have decent timing for 2 reasons -
a. whenever you click, you must follow up with reward ASAP so your dog can link the click with whatever behaviour he was just offering**** some people like myself, use the clicker a bit differently - when I click it doesn't signify the end of the behaviour, so for instance if my dog is weaving through 12 poles, I might click (mark) the entry but not give the reward until he completes the task (the clicker can be used either way)
b. you have to click the exact behaviour you are rewarding - for instance, a dog learning to down might barely let his elbows touch the floor before he is standing again... its your job to be able to clicker the instant his elbows are on the floor - not before or after (if you don't click the elbows on the floor, your dog might think that the getting up is what you want etc...)
3. you must use variable reinforcement and fade lures/rewards/clicks early.... Clickers are generally used when teaching a new behaviour (after the initial stages of learning, you put away the clicker)... You can use the clicker to fine tune precision behaviours or when shaping and capturing. But you shouldn't use the clicker for basic behaviours that are already learned.
4. when you click you reward (even if you clicked by accident or too soo or too late - it doesn't matter, you clicked the dog gets the reward). Try and for more in-depth information!

With regards to potty training... A clicker can help your dog learn elimination commands. My dog will pee/poop on command -very useful when it comes time to run an agility course but also when its -30 and you want to be back inside ASAP. I taught elimination commands by taking my puppy outside and clicking as soon as he started eliminating and kept rewarding until he was done... As soon as he stopped eliminating, the reward disappeared - you have no idea how badly he wanted to keep doing his pee/poops:laughing:... Once he was doing it reliably, I put them on command (not before).
When house-breaking, I always took him to the same spot to eliminate to encourage him to do his business rather than sniff or play around. Inside, I managed the situation so he never had the opportunity to eliminate anywhere but outdoors at his spot...
I never crate trained but most people use them when house-breaking.
Also, I don't recommend using puppy pee pads or litter boxes. Most dogs find them confusing and either rely on them throughout their lives or get finicky (don't want to go out in the rain or snow to potty).

Good luck and happy training!:D

May 7th, 2008, 11:55 AM
4. when you click you reward (even if you clicked by accident or too soo or too late - it doesn't matter, you clicked the dog gets the reward).

LOL- reminds me of what my trainer used to tell us... "good thing I gave you a clicker, and not a gun" we'd accidentally "shoot off" our clickers all the time... and each time, the dog got a treat.

great info Lissa, as always!!

May 7th, 2008, 12:25 PM
LOL- reminds me of what my trainer used to tell us... "good thing I gave you a clicker, and not a gun" we'd accidentally "shoot off" our clickers all the time... and each time, the dog got a treat.


It happens to all of us:crazy:.... In fact, it just happened to me again last week - I clicked as Dodger was trotting away from me and he whipped around so fast and then hesitated... as if he was thinking "Wassss-that??? You really clicked me for that????" Of course after that, he starts trotting away again but when he doesn't hear a click he starts throwing glances over his shoulder, as if saying "LOOK, I'm doing it again... didn't you see? Here it is again!"...

May 7th, 2008, 02:56 PM
Clickers can be great for certain people and certain dogs - there have been reports of dogs who are frightened by the clickers, dogs who simply don't care about the click or the food and certainly plenty of people who don't care for the method at all - just as there are many people who think its the answer to everything.

Any training method depends on the skill of the handler and personality of the dog. The 'click' simply replaces your voice as a marker - some people can click faster than they can praise, other people get confused as to when to click and others can have issue in classes when everyone is clicking and the dogs can get confused. So much depends on the skills of the trainer.

Try hard not to depend on anything - no matter what methods you use. In seconds to minutes your dog should be responding to YOU not the device.

Most dogs problems come from the right side of the brain which is reactive, impulsive, impatient, could be fearful or assertive and its VERY adrenalin based. You want your dog to come from the left side of the brain and learn to hesitate, think and choose according to your wishes. The left side is all about the release of calming chemicals and actually teaches the dog how to think things through. The more you work your dogs mind and teach him how to choose his behavior instead of just react to things the greater level of internal behavior changes you will see. It is very cool when you can watch your dog make a decision and pick you over the squirrel.

The size of your dog really shouldn't be a factor in training. In fact I was working our new 10 wk old Pom this morning and he did great - the only thing I used was and flat collar, regular leash and my body language & tones. He knows heel, sit, down, bear, turn, stay, stop and quiet and we have only had him for a few days. So that tells you the tiniest and youngest pup can learn pretty quickly. Training is all about getting your dog to use his mind - whether he weighs 100lbs or 3lbs (our new pup) - physical size shouldn't be a factor because they all have great minds.

Hi Lissa - The trainers I was in communication with are avid clicker trainers from all over the nation, no one argued when they talked about starving the dog. I was amazed that they felt that was a reasonable answer. Glad to know you don't think that way.

May 8th, 2008, 08:36 AM

I even have problems getting her to calm down, so how do I get her to respond with the left side of the brain? She at 10 weeks thinks it is her way or the highway, I have used chicken as treats, but may I ask what am I doing wrong?

Plus she eats us and I read the post you did under feeling like a chew toy, but she becomes more aggressive and starts to play fight too hard. My kids are not even allowed to play with her right now.

May 8th, 2008, 08:54 AM
We are using clickers and they really are a great training aid. You've had lots of reponses so I won't go into that but I notice you said she won't calm down. Our teacher told us to make our dogs work on some training, like proper leash walking, or watch me, or sit, or stay, with the clicker before playing fun games with them or letting them off the leash. In other words they work for the reward of fun. But sometimes it just doesn't work with my lad and he needs to let off a little steam first. After all, he's only a puppy and I find a bit of a play first means I get better training responses. May be worth a try for you too.

May 8th, 2008, 09:27 AM
Thank you very much Longblades...

Even with our past Border Collie we never ran into this, but I think we still let her get away with a lot because she is small, we shall work on her for sure.....

Keep coming up with advice and pointers please anyone, as I have never had a pup like her and have fallen in complete love......of course.....:lovestruck:

May 8th, 2008, 01:25 PM
Hello Deb,

Little dogs can be pills when it comes to wiggly energy, and out maneuvering you.

The best thing to start with is to simply hold the pup still in your arms or lap. You need to teach this little one that being still and calm wins. Right now he is having a grand game of squirming, darting around and challenging you. So put the leash on and lets practice calmness, patience and you being in charge.

You are sitting down and ready to meet his challenges. The leash is there to ensure he doesn't escape and run away - an emergency brake. You can hold him gently in your arms or on your lap. He might be fine for a second or two but then he will probably become squirmy and try to wriggle away. Tell him to be 'easy' and continue holding him. You might have to be a tad firm with him but try not to get a super tight grip. You want him to feel safe not trapped. But you also want him to understand that you are going to hold him no matter what he does. He is going to struggle and stuggle and then he is suddenly going to relent for a second. When you feel him shift his energy you calmly praise him and let him down (still on the leash so he doesn't take off). Let him breathe for a few seconds and think about what just happened. Then pick him up and do it again. Repeat this drill 3-5 times. Each time he should get quiet more quickly. However if he is still a twit after 5 times you have to continue working the drill until you reach success. Then repeat success a couple of times before you stop.

There is a thing called 'an extinction burst'. Most people don't understand what it is and give up as their puppy 'flips out' demanding to get away. The 'extinction burst' is a pups last ditch effort to give it all they have to get you to give up. It is the worst behavior they can muster up and usually it works because people think the puppy is acting worse and it feels counterproductive. When in fact if you hung in there for a few more seconds it would all stop, the puppy would relax and take a deep breath. Now you have taught him that fighting and fussing gets him nowhere, being calm and realxed wins every time.

Each time he successfully relaxes - you want to start asking him to relax for longer and longer. So that eventually he remains relaxed for as long as you need him to and there is no more argueing at all. My new puppy got it in the 3rd session and now he relaxes completely and doesn't argue at all.

Please note this is not an 'alpha role' - you are not trying to 'dominate' your pup. You are simply teaching him what works and what doesn't. This is really a trust building drill. He needs to trust that you are not going to harm him when you hold him. Eventually he will learn to relax and enjoy this special time together as you love on him and stroke him.

May 8th, 2008, 01:41 PM
How old are your kids? If they are very young I would say it is fine they don't play with the puppy until YOU are able to teach both the puppy and the children some boundaries.

Puppies tend to treat children just like 2-legged puppies and things can get out of control quickly if a parent isn't there to enforce some rules.

Bribing the puppy to be good doesn't really teach him to respect the children or you. It just gets him to respond to the food. And if the kids don't have treats then the puppy may not be good, or if they do have treats but no real understanding of how to use them then the puppy could just end up forcing himself on the kids demanding the food and then we have a real mess.

Having this pup on the leash in the house attached to you can do wonders for his behavior. First - it takes him out of recess to do as he pleases 24/7. Instead he has to follow the leader - YOU. It also reminds you that you have a new being in the house and you need to communicate house rules to this little creature regularly. It also helps with house training.

Now, if you haven't done much leash work with him - he is likely to try his tricks to fight the leash and look like a bucking bronco on the end of it. Simply lock your hand down (to your side or in your pocket) and just stand there like a tree. Let him fuss all he wants - he is creating his own drama and discomfort. He will buck around and then stop and create a loose leash. The second he stops PRAISE him calmly. He will do it again and you just out patience him and wait for him to stop again. Repeat until you start to see less arguing, and always end on a good note. You want to teach him that a loose leash feels good and to teach him to create his own loose leash by staying close to you and not fighting it.

Then start walking slowly forward and give him a gentle pull 3 inches forward and then give him a loose leash. Just keep repeating until you see him walking towards you on his own and then give him lots of praise. Every step in the right direction is rewarded. Until he is happily trotting behind or beside you around the house.

DO NOT drag a little sleepy pup around the house. Remember he is just a kid and needs his deep sleep. So if he is legitimately tired then let him rest and don't insist he be with you.