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So I adopted an abandoned dog last Saturday (was left in my cousin's yard) who the vet says is 1.5.

He's a mutt of few things: http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10101376209771406.3068697.2500302&type=1&l=b2291d751b

And is very trainable...he responds to all the basic commands and is super around people and other dogs.

I bought a clicker to help get some more mileage out of him, but the very first time I clicked, with a treat in hand, he immediately gets a terrified, stoic look on his face, backs off and shows no sort of emotion.

I'll call his name repeatedly, put the treat right in front of his nose, pet/rub him, but he shows zero response of any sort.

This goes on for at least 10 minutes until he goes back to normal, but is still shier than normal.

Traumatized...both me and him, I try again two days later and the exact same thing happens instantly.

I'm new to dogs so I'm not sure how the previous owner got him this way, but is there any way to "reset" this to try to get him to respond positively to the clicker? Or do I just have to resort to other methods..and if so is there anything like the clicker?
 

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He's adorable! And good for you for rescuing a dog :)

So, if it scares him that much, it would be pretty hard to retrain it. It sounds like he's pretty darn scared, so I'd just drop the clicker. You don't need a clicker, and actually, you can do a mark word just the same. The reason people use clickers is all about timing, so instead you could excitedly say "Yes!" and use that as his marking word? Really, a clicker is just a tool to tell the dog the exact second he does something right.

~IJMB
 

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I might try an i-click (which has a softer, less metallic sound,) or a tongue click, or short word marker. Be sure to keep the click away from the dog's ear if you use an i-click.
 

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You dog is exquisitely sensitive it seems, which can be good news for the trainer.
I would hand feed him his next meal, using the click charging up exercise. Look/click/treat.

If your clicker is too loud for him, try a ball point pen, try the 3rd drawer down in your kitchen, as this is where dead pens get buried in my house. (if you are determined to use a click sound that is). No need to buy another.

I use a vocal sound instead of a click, i use "YES" said neutrally. this is both my dogs marker. I have heard every argument there is against using verbal marker vs clicker. And i say to this, sod off, you seriously underestimate dogs intelligence if you think it cant get this!
 

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You can try a different kind of marker like others have said, such as a softer click or a simple quick "YES" or "K".

Another way to approach it is to just randomly click click click click throughout the day in random situations and have absolutely nothing happen; don't say a word about it and don't look at the dog. The idea is to teach the dog that the click means nothing. Obviously, there's the risk that the dog ends up traumatized from it, but I'd guess that risk is small.
 

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What type of clicker did you get? Is it more like this http://www.petsmart.com/product/index.jsp?productId=11325954, or this http://www.petsmart.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2751377?

If it's the second type, they tend to be significantly louder than the others. I actually have that exact clicker in the second link. And it scared the crap out of my dog at first. Thought I was going to have to forgo clicker training altogether but then I read somewhere that you can just put several layers of tape on the dimpled part of the metal. The more layers you put, the quieter the clicker gets. So I tried it and my dog immediately wasn't scared of it anymore.

I'd recommend trying that (again, if that's the type of clicker you are using) before giving up on the clicker. As it really is an excellent tool to have IMO.
 

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What type of clicker did you get? Is it more like this http://www.petsmart.com/product/index.jsp?productId=11325954, or this http://www.petsmart.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2751377?

If it's the second type, they tend to be significantly louder than the others. I actually have that exact clicker in the second link. And it scared the crap out of my dog at first. Thought I was going to have to forgo clicker training altogether but then I read somewhere that you can just put several layers of tape on the dimpled part of the metal. The more layers you put, the quieter the clicker gets. So I tried it and my dog immediately wasn't scared of it anymore.

I'd recommend trying that (again, if that's the type of clicker you are using) before giving up on the clicker. As it really is an excellent tool to have IMO.
It's the first one...I'll give that a try or do it with a pen, thanks!
 

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I use a vocal sound instead of a click, i use "YES" said neutrally. this is both my dogs marker. I have heard every argument there is against using verbal marker vs clicker. And i say to this, sod off, you seriously underestimate dogs intelligence if you think it cant get this!
Certainly, you can use a verbal marker and the dog will "get it." But in the early stages of learning (or to isolate a moment in free shaping) clicker is definitely quicker.
 
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