Boxer Breed Dog Forums banner

1 - 8 of 8 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
278 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I'm working with Jaxon inside for reasons of less distractions.  Jaxon sits on command 90% of the time.  I've read a little on clicker training and decided to try to use a "click" with my tongue until I can buy one.  I started working with Jaxon on the sit command that he is already doing.  I say sit, he sits, I click.  I did cut out the treat aspect of clicker training.  I don't have a reason really, just that I wasn't giving a treat, just a click.  He's doing well, but he did already know this command.  So I moved on to the down command, but as soon as I say down, his butt pops up.  It's somewhat amusing, somewhat frustrating!

Any advice?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,302 Posts
how old is Jaxon?

Try using a luring technique in combination with the "click" your using...

Liz and Lilly
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,552 Posts
If you cut out the treat, then you're really diminishing the power of the click. The click is not the reward - it does not, in and of itself, reinforce the behavior.  The click is the secondary reinforcer, and it marks the behavior - it says to the dog, "Yes! That's what I wanted!", but it doesn't do anything to make the dog more likely to repeat that behavior.  You need to pair the  click with a primary reinforcer (it doesn't have to be a treat, it could be praise or pets or a toy or a game or whatever the dog finds reinforcing - treat is just shorter and easier to type), so that the dog learns not only what you want, but what's in it for the dog to do what you want.  

Much as we sometimes hate to admit it, dogs don't work because they love us; they work because it pays off for them.  This may be in terms of food/treats/toys/games, or it may be in terms of affection, or it may be in terms of not getting yelled at - the point is, doing what we want must be more rewarding for the dog than not doing what we want.  If you're trying to distract a dog from chasing a squirrel, for example, chances are pretty good that giving him a pat on the head just isn't going to cut it. ;)

Here's a good article on basic clicker training (there are a number at ClickerSolutions, as well):
http://www.pawsitivesolutions.net/behav ... ining.html

For the down, I wouldn't even use the word yet.  Work on teaching the behavior first - words will only confuse things at this point.  Down is a hard one for dogs, so start with baby steps; if you're teaching down from sit, first click/treat for any downward movement of the front half of the body; then for a bend to the elbows; then for more movement toward the floor; then for elbows on the floor; then finally for chest on the floor.  You don't want to increase criteria too quickly - generally you want at least 80% reliability before you move up.  Once you have the full behavior, at an even higher reliability, you add the cue.

The technique above would be called shaping the down.  You can lure the down - I've never really been able to do this correctly, but other people can! ;)  You hold the treat in front of the dog's nose, bring it slowly down to the floor, then slowly drag it forward until the chest hits the floor.  Or, you can capture it - keep a clicker and treats handy, and whenever the dog lays down, click/treat.  Soon he'll start offering the behavior in hopes of a c/t. :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,134 Posts
Thank you for explaining the clicker/treat method.  I was not familiar with it before.  The link was most helpful.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
61 Posts
Down is easy to train, and very easy to get them to do on their own.

Start off with a treat they really like..  Have them sit, treat them. Then move the treat towards the floor, then bend your wrist back, this will make them turn their head to the side still trying to reach the treat, and ultimately they will lay down to get their nose into your palm for the treat.

After a little repetition of that, they will figure out what you want and be doing it on their own.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
278 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
Jaxon is only 12 weeks old.  It's almost as if he believes the word down means up.

Jennifer thank you so much for that site, that was extremely informative.  I did not understand the concept of clicking and treating.  It seemed to me, pick one or the other, but that explaination makes a lot of sense.  I'm not sure I understand clicking so repeatedly on the down.  It seems confusing for him to know what exactly he's doing right.

I only work with him for 5-6 minutes at a time.  He'll sit over and over as I ask and then I praise.  For the down, I wasn't showing any reaction because he wasn't doing it so he wasn't getting praised, but I wasn't be negative either, just repeating the command.  After a couple times of attempting down, he'll just wiggle his rear and get up close to me for attention, like ok, enough just pet me :)

That site says to use "special" treats for heeling, should I use special treats always?  It also says to wait until feeding time at least to start, is that just initially to understand the click/treat or is that everytime?

One more...should I wait and use a real clicker tool since that will be more consistent.  It will be another week before I can get one, we have no pet stores in my area.

Thanks again!!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,552 Posts
I'm not sure I understand clicking so repeatedly on the down.  It seems confusing for him to know what exactly he's doing right.
Sorry; you don't click all those different positions in the same training session.  When shaping, you have to break the behavior into smaller steps - so for the first few training sessions, you don't really care if he lays all the way down, you just want him to get the concept of some downward movement.  Then you increase the criteria, and for the next few sessions ask for a little bit more downward movement (this would be the elbows bending, for example).  And so on.

You might want to try - or at least read about - 101 Things To Do With A Box, which takes you through shaping without having any preconceived notions of what the "correct" behavior is.

For the down, I wasn't showing any reaction because he wasn't doing it so he wasn't getting praised, but I wasn't be negative either, just repeating the command.  After a couple times of attempting down, he'll just wiggle his rear and get up close to me for attention, like ok, enough just pet me
:)  Smart boy!  He doesn't know yet what the command means (you could be saying "frooglegook" for all he knows),  so he figures he'll just try something else that has worked in the past.  

That site says to use "special" treats for heeling, should I use special treats always?  It also says to wait until feeding time at least to start, is that just initially to understand the click/treat or is that everytime?
You want to use treats that will hold his interest and be reinforcing all the time; generally speaking the 'harder' the behavior, the yummier the treats (and the hungrier the dog).  This is very much a matter of "know thy dog", though - some dogs get too excited about certain foods, or too focused on eating when they're really hungry, and this is not conducive to effective learning.   Once a behavior is learned, you can mix up the treats - have a bag of assorted yummies, so one time he gets a Cheerio and the next he gets a piece of hot dog - this can increase reliability sometimes more than consistent liver would.  Think of a slot machine - if you win $1 some of the time and $100 some of the time, you'll probably be more likely to keep playing than if you got $100 every single time (and certainly moreso than if you only got $1 every time).

One more...should I wait and use a real clicker tool since that will be more consistent.  It will be another week before I can get one, we have no pet stores in my area.
You can start without a 'real' clicker, and switch when you get one - you'd just want to charge the clicker.  Some options aside from a tongue-cluck would be a retractable pen, a Snapple or baby food jar lid (with the 'pop up' center), or a pocket stapler (no staples, of course) - these also make a sharp, consistent, distinctive sound.  (These are also good options for dogs who are sensitive to the clicker sound.)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
278 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
Thank you very much Jennifer.  You have been very clear explaining this clicker method to me...you have no idea how much I appreciate it!!!
 
1 - 8 of 8 Posts
Top