Clicker training an adult dog?
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Thread: Clicker training an adult dog?

  1. #1
    Member fredsmom's Avatar
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    Clicker training an adult dog?

    So we took Fred to his first training class a couple days ago (a beginner's course since he had no prior obedience training before I adopted him), where we learned to "load the clicker", except the clicker was a spoken word. (I chose "yes") However, Fred doesn't really seem to be responding or reacting to the word, and we've been having some trouble with consistency in our daily training sessions. He is very food motivated, so that's good, but I was thinking of using an actual clicker as it might be more precise (I can click immediately when he does the action) or have a more consistent sound, and hopefully this could help us with shaping (we've been working on "shake"). However, as he's never been exposed to a clicker before, I reckon it might take a while for him to associate the clicker with treats. Does anyone have any tips for clicker training an adult dog? Thanks.

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    Senior Member ireth0's Avatar
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    Re: Clicker training an adult dog?

    My dog learned how the clicker worked pretty quickly, I don't think you'll run into any trouble because your dog is an adult.


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    Re: Clicker training an adult dog?

    Not really a tip, more of a thought I suppose ...

    Sometimes, words as markers can lose their salience because most people have a habit of talking to the dog as they're training. When shaping, I find that clarity rises sharply and the best progress is made when we either 1) use a clicker, or 2) try our best to remain otherwise silent, if using a verbal marker.

    I would try briefly loading the clicker, and then utilize it. For an adult dog who's heard nothing but human words/grunts/groans for his whole life, the novelty itself could be both useful and inspiring.
    Last edited by petpeeve; 02-08-2017 at 07:31 AM.

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    Senior Member Kathyy's Avatar
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    Re: Clicker training an adult dog?

    Sassy was about 5 when I discovered the clicker and it took a while before she figured it out. At first it mostly seemed like a click always meant a bit of food was coming where with praise I might not have something which is a good thing. You will know he likes it when he gets all wiggly when it comes out and you will know he gets it when he starts throwing behaviors at you when he sees it. You will know you get it when he is all eyes on you waiting to see what is going on when the clicker comes out. It is never just about the dog!

    Just grab a small handful of kibble or treats, have a short session daily and inside a week you will be at stage 2 and by the end of the classes be at stage 3 I hope.

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    Senior Member Pomom's Avatar
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    Re: Clicker training an adult dog?

    I started clicker training when Sybbie was 3 1/2 and Pippin was 15. They picked it up quite quickly with some loading sessions. What took longer and what Sybbie still struggles with is offering new behaviors. She doesn't experiment to try to get that click. So there can be challenges depending on what sort of early experiences your dog has had but learning that a click means "you got it" is easy.

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    Re: Clicker training an adult dog?

    I use a clicker for my dogsitting dog but not my own dog because my dogsitting dog apparently uses a word other than "yes" and I don't know what it is. He's also an adult and has been through some training, but he picked up the clicker pretty fast. (I like to teach him stupid tricks while his owner is gone because I cannot physically tire the dog out >_>)

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    Senior Member LeoRose's Avatar
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    Re: Clicker training an adult dog?

    I think a clicker might be a better choice than a verbal marker right now. t's faster than a verbal marker, and it's consistent. I use "yes" as a verbal marker, and I know that I use different inflections during a session, whereas when I use a clicker, it's pretty much the same sound every time. When I'm first teaching a behavior, I try to use the clicker.

    Are you using luring, shaping, or a combination of the two? I tend to do a lot of luring, but I'm getting braver about shaping lately.
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    Dog's age is not an issue. Even using a word as a marker is not an issue. Typically the issue is lack of experience and clarity on the part of the handler coupled with a dog that is not hungry and training sessions that go on too long.

    I have never had a hungry, food motivated dog take more than one or two sessions to learn "Yes!!" or "Click" equals "food is about to be delivered."

    Try not feeding the dog for two meals (night and morning) and then feed the next meal with the marker followed by food. Also, say nothing else.. just the marker word and immediately follow it with food.

    You might try feeding all the dog his food when training (intermittent thru the day) and not feed in a bowl at all for awhile. There is no rule that a dog must eat out of a bowl.

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    Senior Member elrohwen's Avatar
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    Re: Clicker training an adult dog?

    I don't think loading the clicker (or marker) word is necessary. It's kind of an older theory and most trainers aren't recommending it anymore. I would start with simple behaviors and use your "yes" (or a click if you want to get a clicker) and go from there and I think you'll see him starting to recognize the marker.
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