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Old 01-21-2013, 04:01 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Clicker Training: Good, Bad, and Can You Use it to Teach an Old Dog New Tricks?

Hi, I've looked on the internet to try and figure out why clicker training is so commonly used. Is it more effective than other kinds of training? I didn't find an answer. Can you tell me why you did or did not choose to use a clicker in your training exercises? Is clicker training okay to start at an older age? Let's say a rescue dog of 2-3 years old doesn't even know to look at a human when her name is called. She has hardly any training at all. Can she be clicker trained at this age? Should the rescue dog just be trained to be more attentive and then go from there, or should she be trained to look at her owner when the click sounds?
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Old 01-21-2013, 04:34 PM   #2 (permalink)
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You can train at any age.
I bought a clicker once, but if you don't carry it around with you all the time, it's not much good. lol

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Old 01-21-2013, 04:40 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I am a fan of clicker training.... and to be honest you can use the word YES to mark the behaviour the same as "click".. I used a bit of both with Breeze and it didn't confuse her, But made it handy when I didn't have the clicker handy.
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Old 01-21-2013, 04:47 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Honestly, if she's food driven you could train her to look at you with or without a clicker. Just keep saying her name and when she looks click the clicker or say "yes" when she looks and then immediately give her a treat. It might be more challenging with an older dog, but certainly worth a try.

I personally love clicker training. I wish I had stuck with it when Riley and Mason were puppies, but I've learned from my regrets and am using it more with Logan and Abby. Even if we go days or weeks in between training sessions they don't forget what the click sound means. Abby actually sat for my dad once because he popped open a can of beer. She heard the tab and mistook it for the clicker. It was very sweet.

To start clicker training you just click it and give a treat, click and treat, click and treat, eventually once you click the dog will realize that it means a treat so she'll look in your direction. From there you can use it to train pretty much whatever you want.

The purpose of the clicker is to mark the behavior you're trying to get. When you say sit, as soon as she sits you click, and treat. They eventually learn that the clicker is a good thing and will come running when they hear it.
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Old 01-21-2013, 04:53 PM   #5 (permalink)
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We just started training for Duke this weekend. The trainer uses food and a marker word (YES). The clicker is also considered a marker. This just indicates to the dog that he/she has accomplished the behaviour you desire. So you say the dog's name, give a 1 word command and then say "Yes! Good boy/girl!" when they complete the command and you treat. If they don't complete the command you correct them and repeat.

But first you need to teach the dog her name. Just say the name and every time she looks at you, give her a treat. She should learn in no time! From there you can teach other commands.
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Old 01-21-2013, 08:43 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gypsiemouse View Post
You can train at any age.
I bought a clicker once, but if you don't carry it around with you all the time, it's not much good. lol

I had that same problem. I started out trying to train Figgy with a clicker but found myself using verbal praises over the clicker in most situations.
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Old 01-21-2013, 08:56 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Clicker Training: Good, Bad, and Can You Use it to Teach an Old Dog New Tricks?

We used the clicker for Wyatt's negative behavior. When I had to move back home Wyatt was 4.5 months old and bothered our 11 yr old female min pin...two clicks and he was completely a different dog! Now he never really goes near her, if he does she gives him a piece of her mind! (B!tch)!!!!


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Old 01-22-2013, 10:32 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Breezygirl View Post
I am a fan of clicker training.... and to be honest you can use the word YES to mark the behaviour the same as "click".. I used a bit of both with Breeze and it didn't confuse her, But made it handy when I didn't have the clicker handy.
So can you click and say "yes" or "good" at the same time? Or will she begin expecting the word with the click to mean approval?
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Old 01-23-2013, 01:59 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Clicker Training: Good, Bad, and Can You Use it to Teach an Old Dog New Tricks?

Quote:
Originally Posted by XDSmilezXD View Post
Hi, I've looked on the internet to try and figure out why clicker training is so commonly used. Is it more effective than other kinds of training? I didn't find an answer. Can you tell me why you did or did not choose to use a clicker in your training exercises? Is clicker training okay to start at an older age? Let's say a rescue dog of 2-3 years old doesn't even know to look at a human when her name is called. She has hardly any training at all. Can she be clicker trained at this age? Should the rescue dog just be trained to be more attentive and then go from there, or should she be trained to look at her owner when the click sounds?
Yes it is more effective than other methods of training, you can use this method on any animal of all sizes and species, domesticated and wild, young and old, blind or deaf, all breeds of dogs and puppies, zoo animals, dolphins, horses, rabbits, hamsters, mice, goats, chickens, fish, cats, people, any living organism! Any creature is likely to learn and repeat actions that result in consequences it desires and enjoys. Clicker training is a system of teaching that uses positive reinforcement in combination with an event marker...the clicker.
There's a lot of frequently asked questions I hear,
1. Do I need to tell my animal when he's not doing the right thing?
when clicker training, reinforce behavior you do want and ignore behavior you don't want, there's no need to say "no" or anything at all, the absence if the click to them means, well that's not right I need to try something else.
2. Why do you use a clicker?
It's a distinct and unique sound
3. Why use a click and not a word?
Humans speak a lot, and our words mean various things whereas the click only has ONE meaning (a reward is coming because of what you did when you heard the click). It is also a promise, So even if you accidentally click, you must treat. Do not play with the clicker around the animal.
4. How do you ask for behaviors?
Wait until the behavior is well understood before using a command, or a cue
5.how does the training work?
Clicking is like taking a picture of the behavior the trainer wishes to reinforce, after taking the picture you give the animal something it likes, usually a small piece of food as most dogs are food motivated. Very soon, within two to three clicks, an animal will associate the sound of a click with something it likes: the reward. Since it wishes to repeat that pleasurable experience it will repeat the action it was doing when it heard the click. The steps are: 1. Get the behavior 2. Mark the behavior 3. Reinforce the behavior
6.do clickers and treats need to be used for ever behavior, forever???
No. Once a behavior is learned and put on cue, there's usually no need to click, as the animal understands the behavior. You can replace the treats with pat or praise or toys, when we go somewhere new I might bring out the clicker and treats and if I have a tidbit of ham while I'm making a sandwich I will ask him for something and reward him for it.

You can use the fundamental Pringles of clicker training in areas if everyday life, a messy spouse, a boss that's always in a bad mood and on your butt, the newspaper boy who doesn't throw your paper in the right place, etc. Changing your focus from the negative to the positive can be a life-changing event.

The reason I switched from traditional (correction based methods) is I was tired of it, I was miserable, plain sick and tired of hurting my dog and myself to get the behavior I wanted. Plus it took months to train one behavior compared to the ten to twenty minutes it would take clicker training. Boxers are big and are strong and they have an opposition reflex which means if you push on their butt to make them sit they will resist and push back. I was tired of pushing and molding the dog into the position I wanted. It was stressful and I LOVE my dog, more than anything and I want him to have the best life he can have, so I remembered my friend from high school who did clicker training and I got into it. It was hard at first when you aren't sure what you're doing or if you're doing it right and especially when you have nobody to help you.

The first thing you train is very important, the animal will resort back to that behavior in times of stress or confusion, if you train sit first, he will sit when he gets confused. Example, if we come across a bump in the path of our training session am he gets fed up, Rosco will sigh and sit, when he gets back up I give him something easy to do a sit or a wave and click treat and take a break. The first the cues you teach your dog will be the hardest, until he figures out how cues work. So don't get discouraged, just take things slow and always end on a positive note.
Decide which hand will be the clicker hand and which hand will be the treat hand, you treat hand cannot be moving around so find a good neutral location for it to stay until it is called upon, at your side or behind your back. Prepare your treats, count out a specific number of treats in advance so you keep track of the clicks and assess your progress during the session.
Before you go after any behaviors, you want to introduce the clicker. Click (I like to muffle the click at first either behind my back or in the pocket of my jacket) reach into your treat bag with your other hand and deliver the treat. You may end up needing to toss it away from the dog to reset him. Do this 10 times and end session. Yay! He knows what the clicker means! Remember don't go fumbling for treats if you haven't clicked first. It should be two completely different actions. First the click, second the treat. There should be no more than ten seconds between click and treat delivery. Now, I hope that this helps. I feel like I just wrote a book!


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Old 01-23-2013, 02:06 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Clicker Training: Good, Bad, and Can You Use it to Teach an Old Dog New Tricks?

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Originally Posted by XDSmilezXD View Post
So can you click and say "yes" or "good" at the same time? Or will she begin expecting the word with the click to mean approval?
No. Click means treat is coming. If you don't want to clicker train then you can use yes then treat.
Or if it is a learned behavior, like for Rosco if we are playing with agility doing something he already knows, ie, a jump or the tunnel.
"JUMP!" He jumps over it and right when he is jumping over it in midair I say "YES!!!!" And that is satisfying for him, he knows he did good


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