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Discussion Starter #1
I was reading about boxers and that they do better with reward training and clicker training. I really don't know much about clicker training, so was wondering if I should buy a clicker and read on how to use it or if I don't know what I'm doing will I just make things worse?

My puppy has been doing pretty good with rewards as far as basic commands like sit, come and it nows if I say stay it will stay in a place until I say come, but of course I have treats. Should I continue using treats or look into clicker/treats combination?
 

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We trained our first dog with just luring and rewards. We took our recently adopted 2nd dog to the same class we took our first dog to, and although she did okay, I decided to try clicker training with her. (We think she may be part boxer, FWIW.) Wow! It's actually kind of amazing to me how much more quickly she picks up on things than with the more "traditional" method. And both she and I find it really fun!

The thing I like most about it is that it teaches her to figure out WHY she's being clicked for something and then to repeat that behavior, rather than just blindly following a command. She's a fearful dog and I really think it's helping her become more confident and think through situations rather than just reacting to them.

Someone on here recommended "Click for Joy" to me and I am more than happy to recommend it to you. It's a very good beginner book.

One other thing...you might find that your dog is afraid of the clicker at first. A lot of dogs seem to be. I put bandaids and cotton balls over the dimple in the clicker to muffle the sound and have been slowly removing them to make the clicker louder.

Good luck and have fun!
 

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Discussion Starter #4
We trained our first dog with just luring and rewards. We took our recently adopted 2nd dog to the same class we took our first dog to, and although she did okay, I decided to try clicker training with her. (We think she may be part boxer, FWIW.) Wow! It's actually kind of amazing to me how much more quickly she picks up on things than with the more "traditional" method. And both she and I find it really fun!

The thing I like most about it is that it teaches her to figure out WHY she's being clicked for something and then to repeat that behavior, rather than just blindly following a command. She's a fearful dog and I really think it's helping her become more confident and think through situations rather than just reacting to them.

Someone on here recommended "Click for Joy" to me and I am more than happy to recommend it to you. It's a very good beginner book.

One other thing...you might find that your dog is afraid of the clicker at first. A lot of dogs seem to be. I put bandaids and cotton balls over the dimple in the clicker to muffle the sound and have been slowly removing them to make the clicker louder.

Good luck and have fun!
I was actually even wondering if I can make a clicking sound with my mouth twice? I do this when I call her, but wondering if I do this every time I give her a treat or should just get a clicker?
 

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I was actually even wondering if I can make a clicking sound with my mouth twice? I do this when I call her, but wondering if I do this every time I give her a treat or should just get a clicker?
Technically you could do it that way, but I think it'd just be easier to get a clicker. It doesn't even have to be a clicking noise, you can use anything... you could use the cap of a salsa jar or something and push in that thing in the middle, or you can just use a word like "yes!" I just prefer an actual clicker because it's a distinct sound that never changes (unlike your voice would) and you can get a wrist coil for it so it's not too burdensome to carry around.

I personally love clicker training. I have a boxer pup myself and she picked up on it really fast. I'm using it right now to teach her to walk on a loose leash--she was a horrible puller, and in just one walk of using the clicker, I had her walking nicely at my side.

You can keep doing what you're doing, but some things are just easier with the clicker to pinpoint the exact moment. Don't worry about screwing things up. I'm such an amateur at all this, but I haven't ruined my dog lol.
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
I just looked at one video online on how it works, but I might be wrong. I thought you start out making a clicking sound and feeding the puppy treats, you have to make the same sound or clicking and then give her a treat, so she starts to associate the sound with treats.
So I"m guessing that if I give her a command and she does it, then I make a clicking sound after she performs the act and give her a treat. So she'll get used to hearing that noise. So then when I make the noise after the command it will trigger her to follow the command easier?

I can see that if I gave her a command of "come here" and when she comes, I make a clicking sound and then giving her a treat that eventually if I just say come here and then make the clicking sound, she'll start to come?

Not sure about how this would work with a leash though. I'm guessing I should probably read that book that was recommended. The puppy pulls a lot, but I've been using a nylon training (choke) collar, which seems to be helping a lot.

oh, I meant to comment on making the sound with my mouth versus a clicker. I just thought making the sound myself would be easier, never have to look for a device and if I take the dog to the park or can't find the clicker.
Of course i don't know much about clicker training, so my thoughts could be way off.
 

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Yes, you can absolutely use the click sound you're making with your mouth as the "clicker." If that's what you prefer to do, go for it. Like the previous poster, I prefer the clicker only because it's always the same volume and it seems to me that I can react faster with the clicker than with a word or a click of my tongue. You can also use a ballpoint pen and have those laying around the house.

The most important thing to remember is that the "click" sound marks the end of the behavior. So if you tell your dog to sit, you click as soon as their bottom hits the floor. It's basically marking the exact moment that the wanted behavior occurs. So with your example of "come," the books I've read said to click as they're coming toward you and then reward when they get there.

And yes, you should "load" the clicker before you use it for any training. So it's very rapid-fire...click, treat, click, treat, etc. This conditions the dog to that the click means a treat.

Another thing that someone else here told me that was VERY helpful was that you click for the behavior and then reward for position. So, say, you want to train your dog to down. The dog goes into a down, you click, then treat while the dog is still in a down.

Do check out the link that someone gave you above. It's free to sign up, it's got tons of GREAT information and you won't get inundated with emails from them...just one a day for 6 days and then very occasionally after that.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks everyone for the great info
I actually over looked or missed the link that was posted. I'm going to look at it now, thanks again for posting it and all the info from everybody
 

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The most important thing to remember is that the "click" sound marks the end of the behavior.
A point of clarity that I think aids in the dog's learning and your mechanical skill. You don't actually click the end of a behavior. You click the behavior as it's occurring. So for sit, you've actually click as the dog's butt is moving towards the ground.

There's a saying in clicker training that's very, very important that I think clarifies this point even further. It goes...click for behavior, reinforce for position.

What that means in the sit example is, you click as the dog's butt moves towards the ground and feed the dog when his butt is on the ground. This is helpful because, say you're teaching a complex behavior where your criteria has to be very small to work through a long chain of behavior. For example, heeling; the behavior is complex, and I usually start with teaching the dog that his butt moving towards my leg is the behavior, but I also want eye contact, initially.

If I'm being sloppy, I could click for a slight butt movement towards my leg and toss a the food reward on the ground. But, looking for food on the ground is not the next approximation of the behavior, is it? So the "reinforce for position" point, IMO, is equally as important as clicking for the behavior. So I should not toss the food reward on the ground, and where I feed the dog should be at the next approximation of the behavior I want. Very important.
 

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You should be able to do a fine job with just lure and reward. When I teach my pet people I do very little clicker work, just lure and reward, mostly.
 

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I just looked at one video online on how it works, but I might be wrong. I thought you start out making a clicking sound and feeding the puppy treats, you have to make the same sound or clicking and then give her a treat, so she starts to associate the sound with treats.
Yep, that's usually how it goes--you load/charge the clicker. Once the dog starts looking at me (or looking at where the treats are) when they hear the click, I pretty much figure they understand that the noise means a reward is coming, and then I'll move on to actually training with it.

So I"m guessing that if I give her a command and she does it, then I make a clicking sound after she performs the act and give her a treat. So she'll get used to hearing that noise. So then when I make the noise after the command it will trigger her to follow the command easier?
You make the noise while the behavior is happening, not after it's over. So for sit, you do it as their butt is touching the ground; for come, you do it while they're still walking towards you; or for housebreaking, you would do it while they're still peeing. etc. It may take a while for your dog to figure out that the behavior is what got her the reward, so don't expect her to keep offering the behavior in the beginning. When you first load the clicker, you're not rewarding for any specific behavior, so then when you move on to teaching commands with it, the dog has to realize that the reward is now dependent of the behavior.

I can see that if I gave her a command of "come here" and when she comes, I make a clicking sound and then giving her a treat that eventually if I just say come here and then make the clicking sound, she'll start to come?
You might get to the point where all you even need to do is make the sound and she'll come running. But remember to -always- follow up with a reward after the sound.

Not sure about how this would work with a leash though. I'm guessing I should probably read that book that was recommended. The puppy pulls a lot, but I've been using a nylon training (choke) collar, which seems to be helping a lot.
Anytime there's slack in the leash, you click/treat. It's very rapid fire at first, trying to get in as many rewards as possible in a short amount of time to reinforce that behavior, before the dog starts pulling again. Eventually you won't have to reward as often once the dog starts getting the idea that being at your side is what makes you "click." My dog would choke herself on walks too, but she's been much much better since we started doing this.

You'll get the hang of it, the hardest thing for me to grasp was my timing, and even then I sometimes screw that up. I'll be working on teaching stay, and right as I'm about to click she breaks the stay, and then I end up clicking the break. :rolleyes:
 

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A point of clarity that I think aids in the dog's learning and your mechanical skill. You don't actually click the end of a behavior. You click the behavior as it's occurring. So for sit, you've actually click as the dog's butt is moving towards the ground.
Thanks so much for clarifying, CP! I'm still new at this so I don't want to give anyone incorrect info!
 
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