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Hey folks, just wondered if I could get some advice here.

I recently got a dog from a rescue shelter. He's a (estimated) 1.5 year old Red Heeler. for the past few days I've been trying to work with him with the clicker. Basically I'm just trying to teach him to sit on cue. For now he seems to "throw" sits at me. He knows what I'm looking for I believe.

Our typical session goes like this,

I go outside to an excited pooch, so we play for a few minutes (by play I mostly mean me trying to avoid his nails as he jumps on me while I stand still) then when he's bounced all that energy out I'll get the clicker and start our session.

I will walk away from him and he will usually follow me, coming over to sit at my feet. I Click and Treat, then move to another location and face a different direction. Again, he will move to where I am, plop down, and wait. He does this, ohh... 80-90 percent of the time. I think the other times he gets distracted, we don't have a good indoor place to train.. the back yard is the best for now.

He will even hold it for about 5 - 10 seconds.. I can even do a little stomping and jumping and he just sits and looks at me (sometimes.. still working on that.. really seems to depend on his energy level)

I feel pretty comfortable that he will do the basic behavior, but I'm having trouble introducing the cue. After we do a few warm ups, I will add the cue. I try to time it right before I think he's going to sit, and gradually get earlier and earlier, but I'm still not seeing any consistency in him producing the desired behavior on cue.

I guess i'm afraid i'm doing something wrong and don't want to mess him up or something. I've been doing this with him for 3 days now, maybe it should take longer? It just seems that from a lot of videos I've watched this should be one of the easiest things to click, and it's just not happening with the cue.

Any advice would be helpful, I've signed up for the free email course, watched multiple youtube videos on clicker training.. for the most part if it's out there, I've read/watched it. I believe a have a pretty firm grasp on the basics of the technique.. just need some refining.
 

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Discussion Starter #24
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
Maybe it's just the way you worded it, but I find that offensive. It's not exactly nice to tell someone they would understand something if they had done something else... not everyone learns the same... not all dogs learn the same! I don't see how I don't understand... I'm asking SIMPLE questions... I should be getting simple answers! Not being told I'm not understanding... would I have posted this originally if I fully understood clicker training??? No, I don't think so.
 

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Maybe it's just the way you worded it, but I find that offensive. It's not exactly nice to tell someone they would understand something if they had done something else... not everyone learns the same... not all dogs learn the same! I don't see how I don't understand... I'm asking SIMPLE questions... I should be getting simple answers! Not being told I'm not understanding... would I have posted this originally if I fully understood clicker training??? No, I don't think so.

I'm sorry you feel that way. My intent was not to offend or insult you. Not understanding something is simply that. Since the question you were asking had been answered, I surmised you hadn't understood. I could have been more careful in how I worded what I wrote, and for that I apologize.

Here is the entire post in question:

Originally Posted by rosemaryninja
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.
Your response to her:
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.
Your question (which I put in bold) was answered in rosemaryninja's post (also in bold). I, myself, didn't get it - didn't understand - clicker training initially. What helped was to understand the theory first, and then go about it. Watching someone who knew what they were doing helped a lot, too.

Here's an explanation provided in one of the links previously provided by rosemaryninja:

http://www.clickertraining.com/


Do clickers and treats need to be used for every behavior, forever?
No. Once a behavior is learned and on cue, there’s usually no need to click, as the animal understands the behavior. Clicker trainers can maintain the behavior by replacing specially good treats with occasional and less intensive rewards including a pat or praise. Learned cues and behaviors are also maintained by real-life rewards: for example sitting quietly at the door is rewarded by opening the door so that the dog can have a walk. Clicker trainers then save clicks and treats for the next new thing they want to train.
 

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Maybe it's just the way you worded it, but I find that offensive. It's not exactly nice to tell someone they would understand something if they had done something else... not everyone learns the same... not all dogs learn the same! I don't see how I don't understand... I'm asking SIMPLE questions... I should be getting simple answers! Not being told I'm not understanding... would I have posted this originally if I fully understood clicker training??? No, I don't think so.
Chill out a little, on another thread you got upset about dog in back of truck and now this. Remember this is online and you can't read emotions in a reply. Some people (myself included) might have a down your throat, up butt type of replies. This does not necessarily mean bad thoughts it could mean just a business like reply without flowering the answers. You can do what you want but you also could turn people off that could help the problem.

I have never touched a clicker. I have only one thought on dog training in general, if it works, stick it in the dog training tool bag to be used when needed with the appropriate dog. It appears to be a very humane progam that will take time to learn but benefits are there to be harvested. How cool to learn it at a young age (or any age actually) with younger, the more dogs can be worked properly, pain free.
 

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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.
This is an old-timey dog trainer's gimmick and it works very well. If you have a dog who is fast and very responsive, slow your training down. If you have a dog who is lethargic and/or hard to motivate, speed up your training. Getting the dog to match your pace/energy brings you half way to the goal of changing his behavior. The technique seems to work equally well regardless of the training method used.
 

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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.
Eventually when the behaviour is fairly solid, you can get rid of the clicker, but you should still reinforce the behaviour.
To answer your question even more directly: no, you do not need to use a clicker all the time.

Imagine if you were trying to teach a dog a trick. Finally, your dog catches on and does the trick, or does an action that very vaguely resembles the trick you eventually want. Imagine if you could just point at your dog as she did the action, saying "YES! That's what I want! Finally you get it!" That's the click! moment. That's what people mean when they say the clicker is a marker. Once your dog has figured out what you want her to do, you don't need that marker anymore. You still need to reward her for the behaviour, but you don't need the click.

You will go from:
*dog offers a sit* -- CLICK -- treat
to
"Sit!" -- *dog offers a sit* -- CLICK -- treat
to
"Sit!" -- *dog offers a sit* -- treat

Over the span of a couple of weeks, of course, depending on how complicated the trick is.

So as you can see, the clicker is phased out once the dog recognises what you want it to do and doesn't need that "THAT'S it!" signal anymore.
 

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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.
With many dogs you do not want to give the treat with your fingers. There is a trick you can try, when giving the treat, have the treat in your hand with your fist closed. The dog will try to sniff and dig it out with his nose rather than biting it out of your fingers. Then slowly open your hand so he can get the treat. I never hand my girls a treat with my fingers, I either drop the treat or I have it in my hand with fist closed, then when they start sniffing, I open my hand and they get the treat.

Another game you can play is put a treat in your hand, let them sniff, but don't open your hand until they stop sniffing and back away a few inches and pause, then open the hand. This will help in teaching the dog to be more patient.

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.
I don't see any bad things with clicker training, other than bad timing. Your timing may not be perfect at first, but it will get better with practice. And a cool way to practice is to just sit down with your dog and just start clicking different behaviors you like. It can be any behaviors you want, sit, down, turning the head, targeting an object, speaking, etc, etc. And just to clarify for you, you are not asking for any particular behaviors to click, you are just watching the dog, if the dog sits, click and treat, if the dog lays down, click and treat, if the dog turns to the left, click and treat, if the dog touches his nose to your leg, click and treat, if the dog puts his paw up on your leg, click and treat. Just click and treat random behaviors. This way you will not confuse the dog with bad timing, as you are not asking for a particular behavior. Once you start getting your timing down, then you can start working on behaviors that require better timing.

And finally, when you are teaching a behavior and the dog is finally 'Getting It', you can then start to phase out the clicker and use your normal voice marker, such as 'yes', or whatever it may be.

I know the clicker isn't the cue... it's the filler between the action and the reward... I undestand that part.
No, it's not the filler between the action and the reward. It's a whole lot more important than just being a filler. It's a marker. The click is not done after the behavior you are wanting, it is done at the exact moment the dog does what you want. For example, if you are training 'Sit', as soon as the dogs butt hits the floor, you click and treat. If you are targeting, as soon as the dogs nose hits the object, you click and treat. Don't click after the fact, or you will be clicking and treating some other behavior the dog did after he did the behavior you are training. So if he sits and you click a second or 2 after, the dog then may be thinking that you are rewarding the head turn he might have done after he sat, or lowering the head after he sat, etc. Even lip licks or blinking. The click is the marker for that exact behavior, at the exact time it was done.
 

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I use a clicker with my puppies. It's hands off, and I think it really teaches them to offer behaviors for reward, which is what I want.

I also really want them to know that the -click- ENDS the behavior, and they are now free to move about the cabin. :) Since I am aiming for fast, precise obedience for competition, I want then to know when it's over, it's over and reward is coming. If find it helps build drive...
 
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