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My puppy is now 5 and a half months old, when we first got her Tori was afraid of the clicker. I tried to get her used to the noise but she would always run into her crate so I just accepted that clicker training wasn't an option.

Today I was cleaning out a drawer and found the clicker, I wondered if Tori would still react to it so pressed it once. It was the complete opposite she was very intrigued by it. So my question is basically the title of this thread, is it too late to implement clicker training or should I just keep doing what I'm doing?
 

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Absolutely not too late. I've worked with middle aged and older dogs who transfered quite easily to the clicker. For dogs who have been trained traditionally it can take a little longer, as they've generally been taught to be good little soldiers and wait to be told what to do. But it can be done and some of the results are spectacular. For behaviors she absolutely knows (be aware that she may know them at home, but not in a distracting environment) you don't actually need to click. or click all the time. But be sure she really knows your cue (word or hand signal) before you assume that she's rock solid.
 

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Thank you for the reply, Tori is consistent with most of the commands in the house it's outside with the all the distractions that training takes a backseat for her. It's been pretty frustrating that when she's outside Tori doesn't respond to commands she knows so I was looking for a different way. I'll definitely try the clicker training in the garden first and see how she does. Thanks again
 

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I don't think Jubel had ever been exposed to a clicker before our first obedience class together and he was 3 at the time. No trouble at all teaching him what the click meant and using it for training after. I still don't use it frequently but he had no issue learning with it.

With our agility class our trainer introduced us to shaping exercises and that was more of a challenge for Jubel as he's used to being instructed/lured for new tricks. So shaping was/is a challenge for him but a fun one that he made some progress at while we tried it, haven't done much recently.
 

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If you and the dog are new to the clicker, sometimes it's helpful to tackle a silly behavior first so there's no pressure on anyone. For example, when I first started with a clicker, I taught my new dog to put his hind feet in a box. That way, there was really no pressure to "succeed" and no frustration when it took a little time for both of us to figure things out. Like anything else, there's a "skill" to clicker-training. Your dog will get better at is as you do.

Enjoy the journey! It can be addictive!
 

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Thank you for taking the time to reply, it is very reassuring to know that it's not too late to train Tori with the clicker.

I had thought of trying to use the clicker inside where Tori is great with commands so that she has little chance of fail and get confused. I'm going to see how that goes and if all goes well I'll take Tori into the garden where there's lots of distractions. Hopefully that with the clicker we'll have more success outside than we do at the moment.
 

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Thank you for taking the time to reply, it is very reassuring to know that it's not too late to train Tori with the clicker.

I had thought of trying to use the clicker inside where Tori is great with commands so that she has little chance of fail and get confused. I'm going to see how that goes and if all goes well I'll take Tori into the garden where there's lots of distractions. Hopefully that with the clicker we'll have more success outside than we do at the moment.
Hm, what do you mean by "fail and get confused"? What are you trying to train her to do? The basic point of the clicker is that it's a better way to communicate "yes" and therefore less confusing to the dog. You shouldn't be clicking for behavior that you don't want, in other words. And the first thing you should do is "prime" the clicker by clicking-treating about 10 times so Tori understands that click=treat.
 

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I meant I'm going to use the clicker inside on commands that Tori already knows and is proficient at. That way I wouldn't be setting her up to fail and then get confused as to what I was trying to do. Is that not a good way of introducing clicker training? I've not done it before and as Tori is already very good inside I thought it would be best way but I'm in no way an expert.
 

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I meant I'm going to use the clicker inside on commands that Tori already knows and is proficient at. That way I wouldn't be setting her up to fail and then get confused as to what I was trying to do. Is that not a good way of introducing clicker training? I've not done it before and as Tori is already very good inside I thought it would be best way but I'm in no way an expert.
The way I start a dog o the clicker is the name game - say dog's name and click-treat when dog looks at you. You can just prime the clicker so the dog understands click=treat. But I also want the dog to know that it is something *they* are doing that makes the click happen. Understand that the greater the distractions are, the heavier you need to reinforce. So, Tori may be fine with an occasional click for behavior she knows inside. But recognize that when you take it on the road, your value of treats and rate of reinforcement need to go way up! At least in the beginning. The biggest mistake I see people make is a low rate of reinforcement in a situation which requires a high rate.
 

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Oh, I see. I think that's not a bad way, but I would still start by "priming" the clicker as I described. Another thing I like to do as a basic is use the clicker to train "voluntary attention" - this would work well outdoors when Tori is distracted. You basically click+treat when the dog looks at you/pays attention to you without you saying the dog's name or giving a command. After the dog "gets" this, you can up the ante, by waiting for the dog to sit, again without saying anything, and the clicking+treating when the dog sits. Once the dog gets this, you can add a hand signal or voice command. It's a good little training series to encourage the dog to pay attention to you.
 

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The most important thing to get right with the clicker is your timing. You can usually get away with being a little early but if you are late then you are clicking something unwanted.

Think about the shutter on a camera. When the shutter clicks, it takes a photo of the action you want. If you are a second late the photo may be blurred. Think of the clicker as the camera shutter and try and get the click exactly right.

Another tip is to not put a verbal command on the action until the dog is consistently offering the action you want.

Your rewards need to be a reasonable high value (dry kibble will not cut it) but have some extra high value bits as jackpot rewards and rewards need to get to the dog within 3 seconds of the click.

Remember that when you have trained an action in the house, taking it outside is another new environment and you need to start at the front again. When you take it from the yard to the park, again this is new and you have to start at the beginning again.
 
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