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Discussion Starter #1
I've been trying to start clicker training with our new dog (we've had her for a month now), but there's one problem. She is a huge scaredy cat when it comes to noises, and the noise of the clicker scares her! I'm at the stage of clicking then treating, but every time I click she jumps away and gets so scared she doesn't even want to take a treat without the click anymore. Any suggestions for how I can teach her that the sound isn't scary and means good things??
 

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The don't use the clicker - it's simple. Use a word instead.

Or use a ball point pen or a picante sauce jar lid that pops.
 

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just train her without a clicker then. if you want to use a clicker later on you can wait until shes more confident and try it again. b ut for now what kind of behaviors are you trying to teach? i'm sure you can find a thread on here or video online to show you how to teach it using only the treat and no clicker involved
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for the replies everyone! I should have mentioned that I've already taught her sit, down, up and stay using treats/hand signals, but I have heard so many good things about clicker training that I thought it would be fun to try. Obviously though if she's scared of it that's not very fun for her! Maybe I will see how she responds to a ballpoint pen, the clicker I have is one of the metal ones and it is pretty loud. Thanks again!
 

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If she's afraid of all novel noises, you can, as suggested, use a verbal marker. Just keep is upbeat and consistent. A lot of people choose "yes", but it can be any word you like, and it probably should be a more unique word than yes, but I've never found that to be a problem.
 

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if you want to still try using a clicker most of the metal ones have a switch on the back to make the click louder or softer so you could try to get one of those. you could also get a 'clik stik' which is the softest clicker i've had , it is also a target stick so you could use it like that too .

i think it would be easier to keep training her without one until she is more confident about new things. you want the experiences with the clicker to always be positive
 

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In the short term, it's probably easier to train without the clicker, but in the long term, you want her to get comfortable with new noises, even if you never use the clicker again.

There are two easy ways to reduce the volume of a clicker: you can put it inside a sock, or you can palm the entire clicker, using the meaty part of your hand to muffle the sound. Try using a muffled clicker from a distance during meals. Put her into a sit/stay, set her food dish down, then click once while she's eating when you're about 15 feet away. She might be startled, and stop eating for a moment, but she'll get back to the food soon enough. Gradually click from closer in.

Once she's used to the sound of the clicker, try with another noise - a bell, a whistle, a kazoo, whatever. Just get her used to the idea of not freaking out whenever there's a new sound.
 

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I was going to recommend the iclick clicker too. I've used it with great success with our spooky, shy and jumpy hounds. The sound is softer, but still distinctive. Plus, b/c the clicker button is on the outside of the clicker, it's more versatile (I can put it under my foot or click with my mouth if I need to). This is really a great product!
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Independent George, That makes a lot of sense about acclimating her to new sounds. She has had a lot to adjust to since we brought her home because she had never been an inside dog before. All the normal household sounds (flushing toilets, opening doors, even the ceiling fan) made her jump that first week. She is pretty comfortable in the house now - before she wouldn't ever fall asleep inside unless she was in her crate and she's stretched out in the middle of the family room right now. :) But new noises still startle her.

I think I will get an iclick. The one I have is just a basic metal one I got for 99 cents at Petco and it's pretty loud. I bet she will respond a lot better to a gentler click. And the iclicks are still really inexpensive.

Thanks for all the suggestions! I love this forum!
 

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I have an Iclick and use it at trials because it's softer. It's nice.

But if that still bothers her, just use a word. It's easier than the clicker anyway cuz you always have your voice with you!
 

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If you have one of the box clickers just put some tape over it, it muffles the sound, then just wean the tape off slowly.
You could even put it in your pocket, if the dog's not afraid of the click with it muffled then, slowly make it louder.
 

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Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
Update: I got an iClick and she is still afraid of it. I even put it under my arm and clicked against my body - I could BARELY hear it and she still jumped away from me when I clicked. I'm going to try to desensitize her to it slowly - I've been tossing her treats when I click since she won't come close to me while I have the clicker. Is that a good strategy? I'll try doing it while she eats her meals too like Independent George suggested.
 

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Don't worry about using a clicker, it's not a magic be all tool anyway.

Use a word, like "yes" or "bingo" or something. Works the same way.
 

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Don't worry about using a clicker, it's not a magic be all tool anyway.

Use a word, like "yes" or "bingo" or something. Works the same way.
Use words you dont normlly use.
Such as "Das Gut" or some other foreign word.
Use one thats not too short its undistinguishable, but not too long that it confuses the dog.
EDIT: Bingo is a great word.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I decided to keep on working on the clicker with her, and she's doing great! I'm doing 3 sessions a day of clicking and treating (using chicken, her favorite), about 20 clicks and treats in a row. At first I had to be on the other side of the room and toss the treats to her, but now she'll come right up to me and the clicker doesn't phase her at all. Woohoo! Thanks for all the advice everyone!
 

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I decided to keep on working on the clicker with her, and she's doing great! I'm doing 3 sessions a day of clicking and treating (using chicken, her favorite), about 20 clicks and treats in a row. At first I had to be on the other side of the room and toss the treats to her, but now she'll come right up to me and the clicker doesn't phase her at all. Woohoo! Thanks for all the advice everyone!
Woohoo!!! Congratulations - the best part is, not only has she gotten used to the clicker, you've in fact already 'charged' it. The click already equals yummy treats.

How is she doing with the other noises? Is she getting better?
 
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