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Old 09-11-2008, 10:43 PM
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Southpaw Southpaw is offline
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Default Clicker training ?s

So... I'm pretty positive I want to start clicker training Lucy.

I don't know if she's just stubborn, too smart for her own good, or if my training just isn't the right method for her... but it is so hard for me to teach her things, and when she does start to grasp something, it's like it doesn't stick with her very long.

She really doesn't know... anything. She knows sit and she surprisingly has a pretty solid recall, but everything else is a crapshoot. Sometimes she does perfectly when I tell her to stay, sometimes you'd think I never even taught her that command. She won't even lie down when I tell her to anymore, she just looks at me with this blank stare. It baffles me because these are things that she at least KNEW how to do, but now she won't for anything.

Clicker training seems like a really logical method that I thought about when she was a puppy (she's now 2), but I kind of shrugged it off because I didn't think she'd be this difficult to train. I'm -hoping- that breaking it down gradually like that will help her learn faster, and help the commands stick in her brain. And hopefully the anticipation of a click will excite her and make her more willing to listen.

So now that I've written a novel--my questions:
Any good books/websites you guys would recommend?
Can you housebreak a dog by clicker training? >_< This is another on/off thing for her. She'll go months without having accidents, so naturally we think she's trained, and then all of a sudden she'll start having accidents left and right.

It's just really frustrating and really bothers me sometimes, because I feel like I work so hard with her, but it never seems to get through to her.
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Old 09-11-2008, 11:14 PM
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Gena Gena is offline
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A few I've got bookmarked.
www.clickerlessons.com
www.clickersolutions.com
www.dragonflyllama.com/ DOGS/ Dog1/levels.html (this is the program I'm doing right now actually)
this is the training tracker that goes with the levels above http://levels.honkersoftware.com/

Both clickersolutions and the levels program have yahoo email groups that go along with them. Clicker lessons has some good articles for crossover trainers and some really basic things to start you off on clicker training. The levels program is pretty intense and covers a TON, but it breaks it down to workable bits. I've not been doing it long...like 11 days to be exact LOL! Already Pedro is a million times more attentive and quicker to learn things. Most days we do 5 or 10 minutes worth of work. Already he's learned "spin" completely from scratch, his sit and down are separated, I can get him to "leave it" on most anything...even the stray cat that sleeps next door. I'm flat out amazed with his capacity to learn when motivated instead of corrected.

And yes, it can be used for potty issues...another thing we were struggling through. If you'd like, I can post exactly what I've done, but it is the same basic potty strategy you've read 100 times.
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Old 09-12-2008, 08:24 PM
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One book that is actually a great intro to clicker training and lots of ways to get started with it is called "The only dog tricks book you'll ever need" by Gerilyn J. Bielakiewicz best of all it's only $7.95 AM and $9.95 CAN.

It goes over the fundamentals of using the clicker, how to shape, capture or use a target to get behaviour started, when to add the cue, rate of reinforcement, minimizing the cue, fading the target and has over 56 different tricks to teach your dog from easy tricks to advanced tricks like go find my keys ( and bring them back to me) as well as a break down of training for different dog sports.

Its a very small book only 190 pages but deffiently a great start to the world of clicker training

All of the sites the other poster listed are excellent online resources as well.

You'll want to practice your clicker timing and treat delivery skills by yourself before starting with your dog as it takes a few repetitions over a few days to get skilled at just getting used to holding it and this way you can focus on your dog when you get started and not worry about fumbling over your treats.

One thing I want to stress, but it's in the book: Don't move your treat hand until after you click, unless you want your dog to start ignoring the clicker and all of the valuable information its relaying.


Also, forgot to add, yes you can most certainly use it for house breaking by bringing your pup to a consistent spot everytime and clicking and then giving a treat when he does it correctly. Just ignore accidents in the house, it's not the puppies fault, just increase how often you take him/her out and click and treat when she does.
Keep us updated

Kayla
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Old 09-12-2008, 09:15 PM
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I think clicker training could certainly help with grasping issues. I'm not sure what methods you used before but any method using molding (pushing the dog's butt into a sit, sweep his legs to make him lie down, pick up paw to teach him to shake etc.) makes training really hard to remember, after all they just stood there, you touched them and they got food, they did not have to think, if anything you were just desensitizing them to handling. of course you may have not molded but I don't think any training requires as much thinking from the dog as clicker training. And the more she thinks the more likely it will stick right?

If you want you can train everything without ever once using a bribe (so no need to fade the visual treat later) but if you need to you can use one, whatever works for you.

For simple tricks and commands "The Power of Positive Dog Training" by Pat Miller gives instructions on clicker training commands.

Also you may want to try not to stick with one command for too long keep sessions short and once she has some cue to the command (either hand signal or spoken command) you can start teaching two at a time to keep her from getting bored. Start the session with the one she's been learning, then go to start the new one and end with the old one again. This may keep her from getting bored. If you find it confuses her then of course go back to one lesson per session. and don't forget to jackpot responses that are a little bit faster and closer to perfect.

Keep us updated and tell us how she likes her first session!
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Old 09-12-2008, 10:05 PM
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Quote:
One book that is actually a great intro to clicker training and lots of ways to get started with it is called "The only dog tricks book you'll ever need" by Gerilyn J. Bielakiewicz best of all it's only $7.95 AM and $9.95 CAN.
Wow, I forgot about that book, I actually read "the only dog training book you'll ever need," and though I was a bit skeptical about the title, it's pretty much true.... Of course if you want to do advanced training you'll need more information, but for JQP and a normal dog, it's definately the only book you'd need.
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Old 09-12-2008, 10:06 PM
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You guys are great, thanks!

Sit is really the only thing I've had to mold her on (and I didn't do it too forcefully, a light push always got her to sit), when I taught her to lie down I would put her in a sit and then I'd have her follow a treat into a down.
My method, I think, has always been pretty similar to clicker training, minus the clicker.

Part of what makes it so frustrating is that Molly has always been sooo easy to train and it is so easy to reward her... she responds very well to verbal praise, treats, or just a scratch behind the ears, and I guess when we got Lucy I was expecting her to be just as easy. But Lucy is VERY food specific and will only accept certain treats, a lot of things she just turns her nose up at.

Anyway, I'll make it a plan to go buy a clicker tomorrow, and we'll see how it goes! At this point I think anything will be more beneficial then what we're doing now, it certainly can't get worse!
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Old 09-13-2008, 01:47 AM
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For now, you just need to spend some time loading the clicker...

Click/treat, click/treat, click/treat. Over & over & over. Do it in 5-10 minute sessions, with minimal distractions, as many times per day as possible. Do it during commercial break, while you're at the computer, etc. Perfect your timing. It won't take long for her to perk up at the sound of the click, as the click will become a reward in and of itself. I loaded the clicker for about a week, a few times a day, before I even started using it along with basic commands. It can be confusing/scary for some dogs, at first. I highly recommend buying a clicker with adjustable volume, in case Lucy is sensitive to the sound (Gonzo is ridonculously sensitive to it).

I think the most essential part of training is consistency... you need to practice it on a daily basis, for a long period of time, before it really sticks with most dogs. And you need to continue training; it isn't something that you just do for a month, and that's that. With some dogs, if you get lazy for a month or two, much of the previous training will just go down the drain. So be consistent, and work all of your commands into everyday life.
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Old 09-13-2008, 06:23 AM
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Remember you don't NEED to lure, you can stand there and wait until she lies down herself, or wait until she makes a MOVE to lay down (first for sitting or stretching, then if she slides a paw forwards etc. until she downs). The other thing you can do IS a lure but is not the food, people on the cat clicker group I'm in find it easier to fade it than food. "It" is a touch stick. It's the first behavior we teach cats. You can use any stick about the size of a chop stick but perhaps a little thicker. You hold it out and most dogs will sniff it, so you C/T then remove it and let it appear again, if she sniffs C/T over and over. If she starts sniffing and actually touching it with her nose you can start ONLY clicking those. Once she does it every time you present the stick you can add the command "touch" (or "target", I use that because for Phoebe "touch" is touch something with paw). Once she does that for a while start only clicking her for touching the stick with her nose when you SAY the command.

Later start moving the stick around, have her jump up on something to get to and touch the stick, hold it above her head so she has to left up her front paws to get it. Hold it behind her so she has to turn around. Tell her to touch and then pull it away from her for a little so she has to follow it.

From now on that can be the lure, it does have to be faded but tends to be easier than food.
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Old 09-13-2008, 02:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ihartgonzo View Post
With some dogs, if you get lazy for a month or two, much of the previous training will just go down the drain. So be consistent, and work all of your commands into everyday life.

This is the only part I don't agree with your other wise wonderful post Ihartgonzo, clicker training is fantastic because of the long term retention it creates in subjects. For example I taught Duke to stand almost 7 monthd ago with the clicker, added the cue and then never looked at it again until not to long ago when I decided to enter him in his first trial, we didnt have to do any touch up work. Many university's that are studying operant conditioning have also found long term retention to be a key benefit of this training style.

Nat geo actually did a documentry highlighting this. A cougar that was to be released back into the wild was taught a recall cue, released when it was ready and two years later when the handler went back to check up on how the cougar was doing, gave the recall cue and the cougar responded no problem.

So yes charge the clicker, but no clicker training is not about mindless drilling and repetition to teach, its about letting your dog figure it out and that tends to stick longer.

Kayla
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Old 09-13-2008, 03:04 PM
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That's true... my friend had been teaching her dog retrieve for the past year or so, they practice it about once a month, maybe.... he's progressing just like any other dog who practices it every day.

To be fair, though, ihartgonzo did say "some dogs", so I'm sure she's right.
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