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I've been doing a lot of research on clicker training and so far I think Nala and I could greatly benefit from it! I also plan to check into some obedience classes this spring... I've already talked with the trainer, he's just waiting for the weather to clear up and warm up a bit before beginning classes again.

So anyways, what are the good and bad things that you've come across in clicker training? Is it something that needs to be constant, or once you've got a base established you can leave it except when training? I'm just looking for some things to help me better understand what it is, what it does and just how much we could benefit from it.

Thanks.
 

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http://www.dogforums.com/3-dog-training-forum/33841-free-clicker-training-course.html

There is nothing intrinsically bad about clicker training, though I'm sure you'll hear excuses from those who do not fully understand the method. I take that back, I can barely chew gum and walk at the same time, so holding a clicker while training is difficult for me, but that only gives me more reason to phase the clicker out quickly.

IMO, using the clicker for acquisition of behavior should be consistent and constant to reap the full benefits of it. This does not mean once the behavior is acquired you'll need the clicker to reinforce behaviors the dog already knows.

The click itself is simply a bridge between what the dog is doing (what you want), and the reward (what the dog wants). The click is meant to help the dog see if I do 'this' good things follow. If good things follow after doing 'that', the dog is more likely to repeat 'that' in the future.
 

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I've run into a few snags with clicker training. The main thing I"m running into is that you have to have fairly sharp reflexes sometimes to catch the behavior. I was trying to teach my dog to walk on a loose leash and was trying to click him every single time he looked at me. He would glance at me and by the time I started to click he was looking away again.

The other issue I ran into with my other dog is he now associates the clicker with food on the floor. I click and he immediately starts sniffing the ground for spontaneously growing hot dogs.
 

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I've run into a few snags with clicker training. The main thing I"m running into is that you have to have fairly sharp reflexes sometimes to catch the behavior. I was trying to teach my dog to walk on a loose leash and was trying to click him every single time he looked at me. He would glance at me and by the time I started to click he was looking away again.
Shape the look-at-me in your home. Expand your criteria from glances to stare-downs. Then take it out on leash for a walk...in your home. Then the backyard, then the front yard, then down the block. Progressing no further than your dog will offer the behavior. Over time the quick glances you get on the road will be something you can reward within your mechanics. This isn't a clicker problem as much as it is a mechanics problem.

The other issue I ran into with my other dog is he now associates the clicker with food on the floor. I click and he immediately starts sniffing the ground for spontaneously growing hot dogs.
Have you thrown a lot of hot dogs on the ground? How do you typically reward the dog after a click?
 

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well I definitely am not as quick as I used to be but clicker training has always been a benefit for me. I don't always use it like some of the others on this board but I do use it when introducing a new behavior. I use it for trick training like roll over, play dead etc...
I do think it is very important to have good timing. Clicking at the wrong time is rewarding the wrong behavior. Sometimes just taking a step back and thinking about what it is you are doing and how you can get to your goal is all it takes. I think clicker training is great as far as making the dog WANT to work for you. well, for treats but, whatever it takes. :)
 

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Shape the look-at-me in your home. Expand your criteria from glances to stare-downs. Then take it out on leash for a walk...in your home. Then the backyard, then the front yard, then down the block. Progressing no further than your dog will offer the behavior. Over time the quick glances you get on the road will be something you can reward within your mechanics. This isn't a clicker problem as much as it is a mechanics problem.
I may try this. I was trying to train the dog to walk by my side on a slack leash. Part of this is the dog looking at me as we walked of course.

Have you thrown a lot of hot dogs on the ground? How do you typically reward the dog after a click?
I typically reward the dog with pieces of food on the ground. I've tried handing the food to him and he will bite my fingers. I only had to get bit once or twice before I learned that that was not a behavior I enjoyed. He's a 10 year old dog who has probably never been handfed by a human before. He's also somewhat food aggressive/assertive. He will snatch up any morsel he finds. I've tried to teach him sit using the clicker but his butt only touches the ground long enough for him to jump and lunge at the food.
 

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I may try this. I was trying to train the dog to walk by my side on a slack leash. Part of this is the dog looking at me as we walked of course.
You have to walk your dog so I understand the need to take it out on the road quickly. If you find yourself in a moment where your dog is glancing away too quickly slow down the walk to a crawl...many dogs will try to figure out the heck you're doing and offer a longer glance. Or, be the tree, stop, and wait for the behavior. It may not seem like you're getting anywhere on those first few walks, but if you have to stop less and less with each walk, that's progress.

I typically reward the dog with pieces of food on the ground. I've tried handing the food to him and he will bite my fingers. I only had to get bit once or twice before I learned that that was not a behavior I enjoyed. He's a 10 year old dog who has probably never been handfed by a human before. He's also somewhat food aggressive/assertive. He will snatch up any morsel he finds. I've tried to teach him sit using the clicker but his butt only touches the ground long enough for him to jump and lunge at the food.
There's a rule in clicker training that I don't want you to overlook. The rule is as follows: click for behavior, reward for position. By throwing the food on the ground when you want a look-at-me, you're rewarding for that position. So you're dog is actually demonstrating how intelligent he is. He's a step ahead of you. However, you should be a step ahead of him, and reward the dog where you want him to be in the next increment of your criteria. So, if you want a sustained look-at-me, you need to find a way to reward him with his eyes engaged on you.

Same with the sit, if you want his butt to hit the ground click for his butt moving down and reward him by offering the reward over his head so he has to tilt all the way back.

As for your fingers, you should practice handing your dog food with a cupped hand such that the dog needs to use his tongue to get the reward from you. The first few attempts may not be fun, but resist offering him the reward until he offers his tongue. You should also teach take-it and leave-it in the same manner.
 

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We tried take or leave it last night. He chose leave it and walked away. :( He would lick my hand, try to pry my fingers open with his nose, then would turn and walk away uninterested. I could get his attention again, hold the food in front of him and the process would repeat. This dog acts like he was never fed before. I will try clicking when the butt is going down and see if that works.

I have two dogs and my Spaniel is catching on to clicker training very quickly. He knew sit when I got him, but I've used the clicker to teach down, and we're working on down/stay and sit/stay (he will currently hold both positions for about 20-30 seconds if I'm 3-4 feet away from him). I also taught him to sit before we leave on walks by doing the "door opens when you sit and closes when you get up" routine. I'm very pleased with his progress. There have been some bumps to be sure, but he is learning.

The basset is the guy I'm having problems with. He's 10, has no training at all and as I've said acts like he was never fed before as he wolfs down his food like he's never going to get fed again. If I dangle food in front of him, he will sit for a split second as he prepares to leap. For him, I'd settle with just teaching him to sit and walk on a leash. He's a 10 year old hound and I'm basically giving him a warm bed for his senior years. I just want him to be relatively well behaved while I'm doing it. The Spaniel is younger and I'd like to teach him to do some tricks which I am fairly confident I can do with the clicker.
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
Ok so I could use the clicker to teach the initial "trick" and command then once the verbal part is learned I could work out the clicker? Am I thinking that correctly?

As far as being agressive about treat taking... we've had to "sensitize" some of our rotties to take things nice. That's where I would go back to the beginning and teach him how to take the treats with the clicker before moving to something else. If he cant' take the treat properly, he can't learn the trick either, well he can but it'll take longer because he's too busy looking for the reward... at least that's the way I'm thinking it makes sense. I could be wrong.

Normally what we would do is put a piece of food in our closed hand. Licking is ok... shoving the hand around or using teeth is not. Yes, it's slobbery and nasty, but it really does work to teach them to take things easy. When they start to get too rough and shove your hand or use teeth or paws, just a simple, "Not, easy!" is usually enough to get them to back off. I like mine to "lick and look". They'll lick my hand a few times, look at it, then at me as if saying "is it ok mom?". Then, open your hand and let them take the treat off the flat of your hand. Not bitten fingers that way. Also, be carefull you aren't subconciously pulling your hand away... that actually encourages snapping or bitting for treats. If needbe, rest your hand on your leg, floor or chair you're in.

Just out of curiosity... will your guy catch food if you toss it for him? If you don't want him to eat out of your hand, asking him to catch the treat will encourage him to keep his eyes up rather than immediatly search the ground for growing hotdogs.
 

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Ok so I could use the clicker to teach the initial "trick" and command then once the verbal part is learned I could work out the clicker? Am I thinking that correctly?
The clicker doesn't give the cue. Read the links I posted. The clicker marks a successful behaviour. It means "yes, that's what I want you to do" and signals that a reward is coming (ie a treat, a toy or any other reinforcer). Eventually when the behaviour is fairly solid, you can get rid of the clicker, but you should still reinforce the behaviour.
 

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I've had great success with the clicker. The tricks are always having one on/in hand and getting your timing down.

Tucker P's been to three 5-week classes in his short life: puppy class, adolescent class (i.e. the teenage years), and basic manners. All of them utilized clickers. The most success I've had with training is waiting for Tucker P to offer the wanted behavior, and click/reward that behavior, without adding a verbal cue. For example, I wait at any door that is closed for him to sit, before I open the door and let him through. In this case, there is no click or treat, the reward is the opening of the door.

My biggest challenges with Tucker P are getting him to "not" do a behavior, like biting me during play or barking for an extended time.

He's great on loose-leash walking and the door sitting. He's pretty good at stay, though we are still working on duration.

I could go on and on....
 

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I've been clicker training my dogs for quite a while now. Sydney, my five year old Aussie started at 3 years old, and we've had great success with clicker training.
For the loose leash walking thing I didn't use a clicker. I just used treats, it kinda went like this-
Dog pulls turn around, treat in hand, when dog catches up wth your leg, treat. I had trouble with using the clicker while doing loose leash walking.
Currently I'm clicker training my 8month old mutt Kali, and we've moved onto doing the Control Unleashed Program. She learned sit and down very quickly, and we've been working on heel.
I always loved watching clicker dogs work, nothing more encouraging than seeing the excitement and understanding in the dog's face when they get their light bulb moment during a session.
 

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Coincidentally enough, we just started clicker training today.

Our first goal is to make him more attentive towards me and less "ohmygosh!wheresthetreat?ismellfood--sniffsniff--gottahaveitrightnow!squirrel!wantfood!--sniffsniff--licklick--wheresthefood?!!"

You know? ;)

Anyway, we had our first training session today, and I used the method described by kikiopup in the first few minutes of this video. Her videos are very good and easy to understand.

I was very surprised at the difference just that one session made. We still have a ways to go, but I could feel a difference in his behavior from just that one session. (Hopefully it actually has and wasn't just all in my head. :eek:)

I look forward to using the clicker for other training.
 

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Our first goal is to make him more attentive towards me and less "ohmygosh!wheresthetreat?ismellfood--sniffsniff--gottahaveitrightnow!squirrel!wantfood!--sniffsniff--licklick--wheresthefood?!!"
If he's already so food motivated try a lower value treat, like just dog food :)
 

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Discussion Starter #19
The clicker doesn't give the cue. Read the links I posted. The clicker marks a successful behaviour. It means "yes, that's what I want you to do" and signals that a reward is coming (ie a treat, a toy or any other reinforcer). Eventually when the behaviour is fairly solid, you can get rid of the clicker, but you should still reinforce the behaviour.
I know the clicker isn't the cue... it's the filler between the action and the reward... I undestand that part. Trying to reword this differently... Once the trick is established, meaning the dog does what is asked on command... like Sit...I can take out the clicker?! Correct? I always reward for proper behavior, not always with treats, but with a verbal (good boy or girl) or physical (belly rubs or pats) reward.

I guess what I'm asking is, do I need to use the clicker ALL the time or just until the intended action is established with a verbal command or hand signal? I've read several different articles and it's just not clear to me, LOL. Sorry.
 

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I know the clicker isn't the cue... it's the filler between the action and the reward... I undestand that part. Trying to reword this differently... Once the trick is established, meaning the dog does what is asked on command... like Sit...I can take out the clicker?! Correct? I always reward for proper behavior, not always with treats, but with a verbal (good boy or girl) or physical (belly rubs or pats) reward.

I guess what I'm asking is, do I need to use the clicker ALL the time or just until the intended action is established with a verbal command or hand signal? I've read several different articles and it's just not clear to me, LOL. Sorry.

You don't really understand clicker training. rosemaryninja gave the clicker training links, and then told you to read the links she posted. If you had, then you'd understand. Maybe watching it will help you - so, here's a couple of video links which should help you, too:

This may help those who don't really understand clicker training:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cnIgC...eature=channel

Here's another video with her little Chi, too.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FGqr9...B6575&index=44
 
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