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We have two dogs. We took our first dog through 2 non-clicker obedience classes. Tonight we are completing our 1st non-clicker obedience class with our new dog.

However, I've become intrigued by clicker training and have recently read Click to Calm and Control Unleashed. I think I would like to try it but in a way, it seems counterintuitive (for instance, adding the cue word AFTER they've learned a behavior).

I always enjoy hearing other people's stories and successes before embarking on something new. So tell me what you like about clicker training. And if there's anything you DON'T like about it, let me know that, too.

Thanks in advance!
 

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I love clicker training! I've had great success with using it for all three of my dogs' obedience behaviors, and for some behavioral modification as well (I'm using Click to Calm with Willow but we're not very far yet).

What I like about clicker training is that my reflex for hitting that button is faster than my reflex for saying "Good" or "Yes", so I have a better chance of having good timing when I train. I also like that the click is a neutral sound, uninfluenced by my current mood, stress level, or anything else, so it always gives the dog the same signal. And, I can hand the clicker off to anyone else and they can train my dogs, and they'll understand the click no matter who is giving it.

I've found clicker training to work well on all different types of dogs, as long as you have a good background in dog training theory you can achieve many things with the clicker. It's been great for my fearful, shy dog (Bandit), my reactive, outgoing and pushy dog (Willow), and my hyperactive, puppylike, has-no-manners dog (Jasper). It's a great method that can be adapted to any dog's needs.

Adding the cue later DOES seem counterintuitive at first, but believe me, it's a great way to make sure you're naming the behavior you actually want, instead of what the dog is offering at first. For instance - say you're teaching your dog to sit, and your goal is a FAST response with a square butt-on-floor posture. Your dog is giving you a slow reaction, sitting lopsidedly with her feet splayed out to the side. If you already named THAT "Sit", it's hard to change. But if not, and you waited until she'd perfected the "Sit" to name it, you get that perfect response you're looking for every time.

At least, that's my understanding of it. Am I making sense? It's hard to explain, but it's a great concept even though it seems bizarre at first.
 

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We have two dogs. We took our first dog through 2 non-clicker obedience classes. Tonight we are completing our 1st non-clicker obedience class with our new dog.

However, I've become intrigued by clicker training and have recently read Click to Calm and Control Unleashed. I think I would like to try it but in a way, it seems counterintuitive (for instance, adding the cue word AFTER they've learned a behavior).

I always enjoy hearing other people's stories and successes before embarking on something new. So tell me what you like about clicker training. And if there's anything you DON'T like about it, let me know that, too.

Thanks in advance!
Because it works. With anything from a dog or cat, to a horse, to a pidgeon to a dolphin to a fish in an aquarium.

What I don't like? Can be a little hard to manage a leash, clicker, and treats with only two hands.

Taught an untrained adult shelter dog to sit with a clicker in 2 days. After trying without a clicker for about a week.
 

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Because using a clicker is very efficient. Dogs learn much faster and understand more precisely what you are trying to teach them. It's almost like cheating.
 

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What I love about Clicker Training...God so many things!

The way my dogs have fun learning, just this afternoon I shaped Kali my ten month old lab/husky to pivot her rear end around in a circle, with her paws on a book. Taught in...about 15 minutes on and off. And she had a ball the whole time, tail wagging, face bright and so cheery.
That's gotta be one of my biggest favs.
The other is how easy it is to use, at least for me. Sydney my aussie hated retrieving, she wouldn't so much as even pick up a toy if she thought I wanted it back. So I clicker trained it, starting with the hold, now it's her favorite thing to do, handing me dropped pens, shoes, socks. We're even learning how to pick up keys.
It feels simple for me, and with Clicker Training I feel I really understand what I'm training my dogs to do.
The other thing I adore about it, is how my relationship with my dogs has improved. I love them with all my heart, and I see the same love back.
 

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You should definitely try it. :) Check out this thread

it seems counterintuitive (for instance, adding the cue word AFTER they've learned a behavior).
Because if your dog doesn't know how to do the behavior, much less what it's called, what good does it do to give a command?

I like clicker training because it's fun and a bonding experience. Two of my four dogs love it, too! I use food with the clicker because it's the easiest for me and my two food motivated dogs LOVE it.

What I don't like about it is that the dogs get so eager to "do the right thing" that they try all these different things to try to hit on the jackpot. It seems 'desperate' somehow. I don't like that the dog is sometimes frantic or loses interest because he can't figure out what I want.

But I've only gotten a renewed interest lately, so maybe I'll learn what I'm doing wrong.

My views of the world are not imposed on the being who's behavior I'm observing.
Then why bother? You're not just observing, you're shaping, you're capturing, you're imposing your views all right. If you were just observing, the dog wouldn't get trained to do anything. You're training. You're imposing your world view on the dog. You're just being passive in your method.
 

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I like it because you can mark a "wanted behavior" the second the dog does it. This is assuming your timing is good. I like it because the dog "gets it" and tries hard to please and get the reward. The dog (at least mine) seem to enjoy working during clicker training sessions.

What I don't like is.... I could really use an extra hand at times. LOL I am old and not the most coordinated person in the world. lol
 

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I use the clicker for some things. It's good for eye contact, and heel. Just because I can time it better.

I use a CR word a lot - it works the same way.

And luring, shaping, all that works fine. Training is a balancing act. LOL
 

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Then why bother? You're not just observing, you're shaping, you're capturing, you're imposing your views all right. If you were just observing, the dog wouldn't get trained to do anything. You're training. You're imposing your world view on the dog. You're just being passive in your method.
I don't understand your implications at all. The question was why *I (me personal)* like clicker training. No one cares about your assumptions on what my training is...that was not the question.

I will say this...there's nothing "passive" about my training, and anyone who would make such a claim based on one statement has other fish to fry, but none that should/will be fried here. *hint*

However, allow me to clarify the statement you so care to muddy... I like clicker training because observation *is* critical in analyzing *my* timing, *my* criteria, and *my* rate of reinforcement - all things effecting learning. You're right *I do* impose my world view, but you assumption of where I do that is misplaced. It is not on the dog (the dog's behavior is always voluntary in OC), it is on *my* timing, *my* criteria, and *my* rate of reinforcement. That's why *I* bother.
 

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I like clicker training for a lot of the reasons already mentioned... it's simple, efficient and the dogs have fun doing it.

I also like clicker training because of how creative you can get with a clicker. With luring, molding or aversives, you can get a dog that will sit, stay, down, come, heel... pretty much anything required for basic obedience. But only with a clicker can you teach a dog to do things like open the fridge, bring you the remote, clear up his toys and so on. Anything that a dog is physically capable of doing can be trained with a clicker once you know what you're doing. Not so with other methods.
 

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I like clicker training for a lot of the reasons already mentioned... it's simple, efficient and the dogs have fun doing it.

I also like clicker training because of how creative you can get with a clicker. With luring, molding or aversives, you can get a dog that will sit, stay, down, come, heel... pretty much anything required for basic obedience. But only with a clicker can you teach a dog to do things like open the fridge, bring you the remote, clear up his toys and so on. Anything that a dog is physically capable of doing can be trained with a clicker once you know what you're doing. Not so with other methods.
i'm pretty sure you can teach your dog to do anything, without a clicker too. a clicker probably makes things come along faster but that doesnt mean its doing anything that is 'impossible' to other methods.
 

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^I don't know. I guess I could have substituted "clicker" with "shaping". Only with shaping can you teach a dog to do things like open the fridge, get you your mail, and so on. I don't know where I would start teaching a dog to do these things with different methods.
 

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i'm pretty sure if you can teach the commands like 'get it' and 'drop it' withluring and treats it wouldnt be too far away from teaching your dog to get other items around the house or pull on a rag to open something. many people teach fetch without a clicker, and lots of dogs pick up if you call certain toys certain names. you just string it all together, just like how you would do with clicker/shaping methods.

it might be easier with a clicker or faster but definitely not impossible
 

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im pretty sure MOST people think of clicker training as training using a clicker to mark, and not voice or other things. any training includes some sort of marker to show the dog what you want, or dont want. if using any sort of marker meant 'clicker training' to the masses then we wouldnt be discussing this. if it was the same then why dont we turn around and ask the OP what they like about clicker training, since i'm sure he/she has already done it!

im just saying that you dont HAVE to use a clicker to train your dog to do things. it might help but it is not required.
 

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A clicker when properly used with well timed clicks is just more efficient at communicating to the dog the exact desired behavior. That the exact behavior the dog is doing is desired and earns a reward. That's what I like about it. You can shape almost any behavior if your good.

You can do the exact same thing with a consistent well timed word but consistency is harder.

There are many things I train that I would have a harder time doing with a clicker, just because I don't want or need to carry one around with me always, and to me training is always happening all day whenever me and the dog interact.

Simple things like naming the room every time we go in it, saying "lets go in the house" every time we go in the house, "drink some water" every time the dog drinks, saying "do your business" every time the dog is about to relieve "smell it" when I hold something down for her to smell, "look there" when I point to something she'll want, "take it" for things I want her to take (starting with food/toys) etc. etc. all day all the time for lots of mundane actions and places that over time become conditioned just by consistent repetition, as well as naming each toy every time I pick it up to play and go get it every time I toss it, go find it every time I hide it and bring it here every time the dog does and just building on each thing as she starts to understand it.

Those things come in handy when I want to teach "go get X and bring it here" and X can mean anything she knows the name of, or even just something she's sniffing at the time i can say "get it, bring it here". Or I can say "go in the house" and the dog gets it. No need for a clicker. It's just the way I self taught myself to train years ago.

I talk to my dog a lot, but try to be very consistent in what I say and when and eventually the dog learns a lot that way, we learn to communicate. My dogs life is constant mental stimulation, I am always challenging the dog to think and learn.. I end up with a dog that responds to basically what appears like normal conversation to most people. I also talk in dog as well when it'll get the message across quicker, like an alert bark, a whine, body language etc. to get the response I want to condition to a cue or help the dog understand. Try to picture a 50 year old 6'4 guy on the floor play arching like a dog to to teach a dog to play with a human.. ;) Maybe I'm crazy but I get results.

I also observe closely and reinforce the dogs communication with me by consistently reinforcing her attempts to ask for things in a way I can understand and approve of. She paws the back door, I say "backyard?", and then repeat "backyard" when she goes out the door, every time. Anytime the dog wants something I go out of my way to figure out what it is, and to get her to come up with a way to tell me, specifically I try to teach "show me" when the dog wants something to let her know I want to comply and to offer me behaviors until I understand. Then I reinforce those to give her one more way to communicate back to me.

I've had Hope about 2 months and she's already well housebroken, learned what the words leash and ball are, is getting pretty conditioned to relieve on cue, and learned "go get it" as well as sit, down, shake, and to target my hand, to target where I point to a degree, and a decent recall by voice and whistle, to go to the door and paw once to go out and "lets go inside" only the first "sit" was learned by clicker to get her started because being asked for a behavior for a reward was foreign to her. She's now playing with me and learning how as that seemed foreign to her as well. She seemed pretty void of human interaction.

I will definitely go back to the clicker for more tricky concepts that almost require shaping later though for sure. It's a great tool but it's not the end all be all of training IMO.

I've taught dogs to open and close doors, turn off lights, take something and put it on the coffe table etc. and all sorts of things before I ever even heard of a clicker.

The rewarding part is when you tell a dog something it's never done before, like a behavior chain of three commands it has never chained that makes it think for a minute, you see the light bulb come on, and off they go to do it!
 

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TxRider, that is a perfect explanation of how I and my husband usually train! I was amazed as I was reading your post at how you explained exactly what we do. A lot of my communications with my dogs is conversational because we both do our best to communicate on the other's level and language. And I have videos of my husband play-bowing. LOL You are not alone!

I have noticed that many people call all reinforcement-based training "clicker training". I don't know why or how it has become synonymous, but I've heard it a lot. I think it's very confusing, especially for beginners. But if that's the case, nearly everything I've ever taught my dogs has been through "clicker-training" even before I owned a clicker. :D

I agree that anything can be taught without a clicker, but the clicker makes it a lot easier to mark a specific behavior.
 

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Opening the fridge, bring this bring that, open this open that have been taught for years way before the whole clicker thing came along. Good trainers that know how to explain things to the dog in a way they can understand have still been good no matter what time period they were in.
 
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