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okay, I'm going to start training Dakota with her reactiveness towards dog with a clicker. She's overly excitable in her greetings and lacks manners! How do I start? Do I first introduce the click in the house? First I have to find a extra tasty treat that she won't blow off when she sees a dog. Some suggestions please how I start all this because for some reason I can't grasp the concept of the clicker!!
In short, the concept of the clicker is that it's more consistent and more immediate than any word that you can speak (like "good" or "yes"). When you see some behavior you like, click and then treat. The click "marks" the behavior you liked, and the treat should always follow the click. Even if you click by accident, you should treat anyway. Your click should end whatever behavior you're marking (that is, it should come just as the dog finishes performing the behavior). Timing of the click is very important (this will take practice on your part), but don't worry if you're a little slow in giving the treat, because the dog knows it did right the second it heard the click. If you're cueing a particular behavior (like sit, for example), the dog should remain in the sit position as you feed the treat.
I would "charge" the clicker at home, which is presumably a non-distracting environment. You just want the dog to realize that click=treat. After you've charged it, ask for a simple command, click and then treat.
I've never dealt with a dog reactive dog before, but I would highly recommend the book Control Unleashed - there are some great exercises in there for DR and DA dogs. One that a lot of people like is called "Look at that!" Basically, you would approach other dogs slowly and from a long distance. You stop every so often and reward the dog for not reacting. It's very important to keep the dog below threshhold - don't get so close that she flips out and reverts to the old behaviors.
As for treats, hot dogs and cheese are very popular. Very few dogs will turn down small pieces of leftover chicken, beef, or other meat. Treats available at pet stores are more convenient, but they tend to be more expensive, and many dogs prefer moist/tasty treats over dry crunchy stuff.
Above all, clicker training is a way to bond with your dog. Many people find that dogs catch on much quicker and learn faster. Have fun with it! I know that clicker training saved the relationship between me and my dog, who was out of control when I adopted her at 7mo. Good luck!
Check out the website www.clickersolutions.com for lots of info on clicker training and also the videos on Youtube by Kikopup.
As for working on the reactivity, a clicker is a great tool for this..but I would start at getting the clicker basics down with the dog first..teach him some fun stuff, develop YOUR timing and get a good sense of "clicker savvy' with your dog before taking it on the road. Working on reactivity with or without the clicker also involves working on WATCH ME, and self control exercises so that you can have a dog that understands what you are expecting of him once you DO see a dog.
The true ability to modify your dog's behaviour starts with a good foundation.
Thank you for replying She's starting to get better at sitting and waiting before greeting even if it takes us 4 starts and stops to reach her "friends" I tell her to relax and it's helped but I still have the problem of her greeting at the very last second with a bulldozing sniff to the other dogs butt and they get offended when she uses so much force to sniff their private areas So every time we greet when I get her sit and relax then click and treat? Also, when walking past other dogs she isn't necessarily going to meet, do I keep walking, tell her to relax, click and treat? I wouldn't really need her to sit
Part of that is you needing to watch and split second timing (hence the recommendation to work on OTHER things with the clicker first..lol).
For the time being, the sit to greet behaviour can stay like you are doing but the SECOND you think she is going to give a proctology exam, you turn and lead her away. No clicking, just remove her. Use an UH UH while you are noticing the too intense sniff so she has an idea WHAT just prompted the removal from her "reward". Eventually you should be able to get a more reserved butt sniff...
For walking by, if what you want to do is keep going than you can train and cue a "leave it" or "watch me" and use the cue, click as soon as she turns her head away or looks at YOU (depending on what you've asked for). Make sure that the rewards are ready to go to...delivery timing is also very important to help keep the connection.
Keep clicking at home on new and novel behaviours so your dog can work to succeed.
Thanks! She does know "leave it" command for sure and she is learning the "watch me" Sometimes I think I'm confusing her and myself. My mind isn't as sharp as it used to be,lol. It seems like I have to analyze everything to death and it drives me nuts!
Another question, her guarding instincts in our front and back yard are starting to concern me, I want some of it sure but I'm a little iffy. Tonight when we came home our neighbour was standing next to the fence that divides our properties, it was starting to get dark and I let her out of the truck and she ran up to the fence growling until she realized who she was then she was licking her and all happy, is this a good thing? I thought she would of been able to recognize her before we even got out of the truck, not the greatest eyesight or still immature in her young age?? Also, I noticed a couple of times when she meets little dogs and their barking their head off at her she has growled at them, is this normal? Sorry for all the questions but I've never had a dog like her before. Sometimes she seems very sure of herself and mature then other times she's like a rambuctious kid
Yes, you certainly want to get a hang of the clicker before you start taking it on the road. It's not difficult, but it does take practice, and it's necessary to understand how it works. Clickersolutions is a great website as previously mentioned.
For walking by, if what you want to do is keep going than you can train and cue a "leave it" or "watch me" and use the cue, click as soon as she turns her head away or looks at YOU (depending on what you've asked for).
As an alternative, you may want to follow the "look at that" protocol as outlined in "Control Unleashed". This is what we did with Libby, and it worked wonders! I would get a copy of this book and do that instead. (There are many "look at that" threads on the forum, so I won't get into it here)
~Trish and the Brittanies:
Libby Ataboy's Snake Charmer FDJ CGC OTD
Sawyer Ataboy's New Sheriff In Town
Thank you for all the tips, and I'm for surely giving this a go I just finished reading a blog called " A Girl and her Dog" and could of been reading about us! except Dakota doesn't get excited hearing dogs bark or even seeing dogs bark at her from a fence across the street, the other dog has to be walking too from across the street and especially if their puppies or little dogs and yet we can walk past cats. She's a little curious with black cats. She's even seen horses and is aloof! strange. Anyway, thank you again and wish us luck, if we can get through this I'll be able to take her anywhere!!