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Colt is not chaining things together, but for the past few days he has been offering down now in his "wait" out on the trails. I use wait when he is getting too far ahead. Down is his default and not a problem I suppose, but it might be when I want that "wait " to stay a stand at ready later in whatever dog sport we take up.

 

You need to decide what you want "wait" to mean. If you want it to mean "stand-stay", then I would recommend using a new word out on the trails with Colt for his default down/wait.

 

On one hand, the down behavior might not transfer into a sport context. For some reason I've never understood, my husband has always told Speedy "sit" to mean "drop the frisbee". Somehow Speedy understands that "sit" means "drop the frisbee" when he's playing frisbee, but he knows that it means "sit" in every other context in his life.

 

So, Colt might understand "wait" as "stand-stay" in a sport context, even though he understands it as a "down-wait" on the trails. Still, it might become very strong if you use it on the trails, so I would recommend that you phase in another word in that context and then work your "wait" as "stand-stay" in indoor training sessions. Once the difference is very clear, you might take it onto the trails, but honestly, I probably wouldn't bother.

 

He will also heel himself on our walks at times, smiling up at me. Is he offering behaviors to get a treat? Or his he offering behaviors because he likes to please me?

 

Who knows the whys and wherefores of these amazing creatures. In that context, it sounds like a nice moment of connection and enjoyment of one another's company. He might offer it because it has been reinforced in other contexts, but it also just might "feel" right at the moment.

 

It actually feels like the latter. I have been giving him a little pat and a "what a good heel" when he has done this and then carried on with my walk and in very short time he'll go out to a loose leash, but I feel like I might be confusing him because Dog knows I clicked and treated for the past two weeks because we were working on the "heel" and "loose". He understands both and will give both on cue whether I have treats or not now. I have been fading the clicker on our walks.

 

Am I handling this appropriately?

 

Sounds like it's working to me. I wouldn't change it unless there is something that you don't like about the picture.

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Really good idea to find an instructor who knows what he/she's doing in clicker training. That is one of the best ways to learn the skill. Are you using any books? I really like Click to Calm by Emma Parsons which is marketed towards aggressive/reactive dogs but works great for lots of behaviors and I think is one of the best clicker primers out there. I also used the Clicker Cookbook (forgetting the author) with Quinn when he was a puppy. It has several useful behaviors to work on. I started clicker training in earnest with the Lhasa and took Helix Fairweather's Cyber Agility course. Even if you don't plan on doing agility, it is extremely useful for learning how to clicker train and it is all very much foundation work. There are weekly chat sessions and also emails for questions and progress reports.

 

I think clicker training is a very effective tool. I use other methods as well, but love how much fun clicker training can be for both dog and human. I use the verbal marker "yes" probably more than an actual clicker, but as soon as my dogs see we are doing a training session (which might last a minute), they are excited, engaged and happily offering behaviors. Well, both Quinn and the Lhasa. Not the Sheltie, though we have fixed a couple of bad habits (extreme nuisance barking in the yard and reactive barking on walks) through positive reinforcement. She was trained for years through traditional methods and has never done well when we've tried shaping. If I ever get another Sheltie puppy, I'll be interested to see how it does with clicker training. My Shelties have been the original "Just tell me what you want and I'll do it" kind of dogs and I don't believe it is solely because of their early training experiences.

 

Right now I've just got the "Clicking with your Dog" in the Karen Prior series-- very easy straightforward one step lessons (with pictures!) to train specific basic obedience and some tricks. I wouldn't have thought it worked so amazingly well until I used it to get Robin to fetch the ball by just clicking every time he touched it. Within a few days he was bringing it directly to me. He's a smart little pup and seems to work best without language getting in the way so the clicker it is! I"ll look into the click to calm -- it might be beneficial to use it with Brodie as he is timid and reactive to other dogs.

 

Liz

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You need to decide what you want "wait" to mean. If you want it to mean "stand-stay", then I would recommend using a new word out on the trails with Colt for his default down/wait.

 

SNIP>

 

Who knows the whys and wherefores of these amazing creatures. In that context, it sounds like a nice moment of connection and enjoyment of one another's company. He might offer it because it has been reinforced in other contexts, but it also just might "feel" right at the moment.

Sounds like it's working to me. I wouldn't change it unless there is something that you don't like about the picture.

 

Thx Kristine. I'll will give the "wait" some good hard thought. He understands stand so maybe simply "stand" instead of "wait" would work elsewhere. I do like the downing on his "wait" on the trail.

 

Really looking forward to my class and to getting involved in a dog community through agility or herding.

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After years of working with the clicker, my dogs see the clicker and they know they are going to be trained or we are going to play together in some way. They know that they get very few "free" clicks and treats. The presence of the clicker means that a new move or exercise is going to be introduced. Or we are going to sharpen up something that they already know. Or we are going to play a shaping game.

 

The presence of the clicker puts my dogs into "training mode". That's not to say they won't be in "training mode" without the clicker. I don't use it every single time we train. But it is a clear predictor to them, when I have it, that we are going to do some work together.

 

Yes, treats are part of that, but so is learning, responding to cues, putting things that they have learned together, and mental work on their part. Sometimes it means music and dancing. Sometimes it means Agility. Sometimes it means heelwork. Sometimes it means something that probably seems quite random to them.

 

I guess it's not an arrangement that would suit everyone, but I love the attitude that my dogs take on when I have a clicker out.

 

Clicker progress -- decided to take back control of the TV room today! I bought a couple of mats (just occasional rugs to start out with) and set Robin up on the bench seat beside the fireplace close to my recliner (note we have padded seating all along that wall on either side of the fireplace;, he's not going to catch his tail on fire or anything :rolleyes:- plus we rarely use it) and Brodie's in front of the coffee table with about six feet between them. Brodie is where he can see Ken and Robin is close to me. Ladybug is out of this whole thing; she's either on Ken's lap or beside his chair and letting the three of them jump all over him is a major problem. He doesn't realize it but he's become the prize in a game of who can stay on his lap the longest.

 

I had to bait Robin to jump up on the bench - hard to believe he hasn't previously explored this area yet! But once he got the idea he could get up there, he caught on real quick that he didn't get treated if he jumped on Ken's lap (which Ken has been allowing all along, so his job was to NOT pet him) and Robin soon discovered that he did get rewarded with a click and a treat when he jumped on his mat, plus I was close enough to pet him. He settled down nicely with a bone, then Master Brodie, with whom I haven't used the clicker decided he was feeling left out and wondered why he couldn't get up there for a treat. I showed Brodie his mat and did a little work with him. Robin stayed on his mat while Brodie very quickly caught on to his mat and with the cat in the "time out crate" because she kept smacking Robin for hopping onto his spot, we had peace in our little kingdom for most of the evening.

 

 

Question: Now that they're getting the idea that they each have a spot, what happens if one wants the other's spot? Do dogs respect each other's space or should I expect some squabbles and trading of space. Should there be assigned seating, so to speak?

 

Liz

 

PS -- Made contact with a great Karen Pryor clicker trainer....saving my pennies because she likes to come to the house to work with the dogs in their own environment.

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Now I've got the damn clicker and no one controls the TV except me. *Evil Grin*

 

 

I had a long talk with my trainer Lori yesterday on clickers and one thing the made perfectly was that it is not for everyone or every dog. The big thing about clickers is timing and she said that some people never really get it despite the amount of time they put in to it. As a result I'm going to take a clicker class when I can afford it and see if it will work for us. But considering I taught Jin the A-frame and bridge on the agility field in 30 mins I'm still wondering. He seemed to learn both of those very quickly.

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The big thing about clickers is timing and she said that some people never really get it despite the amount of time they put in to it.

 

I won't dispute this. There are some skills that some people simply can't get. I will mix up my left and right for the rest of my life even though I actually "know" which is which. So, I wouldn't consider it out of the realm of possibility that there are some who really will always be "all thumbs" when it comes to the clicker.

 

The one thing I hate to see, though, is when people don't even try because they think they won't be able to master the skill. When I first started learning to type in high school, I really struggled. Years later, it is so second nature to type that it's as effortless as speaking for me.

 

Clicker training requires mechanical skill and mental skill. But the skill required is not beyond the ability of most people. Yes, it requres some practice, but most things that are worth doing do require some practice.

 

There are exercises that one can do to gain the timing and coordination needed to weild a clicker. I certainly didn't become good at it instantly, and I still do work to improve my timing even after years of using this training tool.

 

Also, there are different types of clickers available. The box clicker can be tough to master. I usually recommend that people start with an i-click (button outside). You can even put that under your foot and step on it in a situation where you need to handle a leash and treats. Once one is comfortable with the i-click, the transition to the box clicker is pretty easy.

 

As a result I'm going to take a clicker class when I can afford it and see if it will work for us. But considering I taught Jin the A-frame and bridge on the agility field in 30 mins I'm still wondering. He seemed to learn both of those very quickly.

 

I think that's a great idea. There's nothing like getting good instruction to learn the many nuances of clicker training.

 

I don't use the clicker to teach every single thing even though I consider myself a "clicker trainer". There are some things that I use it for and some things that I don't. You may not end up using it for everything, but I'd be surprised if you didn't find a particular use for it once you've taken the class.

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Question: Now that they're getting the idea that they each have a spot, what happens if one wants the other's spot? Do dogs respect each other's space or should I expect some squabbles and trading of space. Should there be assigned seating, so to speak?

 

This depends a lot on the dog. You might find that they might adopt a "whoever was there first gets the space" attitude, or you might get some squabbles.

 

I wouldn't get involved unless there are problems. If I started to notice squabbles, I would assign seating. If there aren't problems, I'd let them handle it.

 

PS -- Made contact with a great Karen Pryor clicker trainer....saving my pennies because she likes to come to the house to work with the dogs in their own environment.

 

Cool!! When you start working with her, please share!!

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I had a long talk with my trainer Lori yesterday on clickers and one thing the made perfectly was that it is not for everyone or every dog. The big thing about clickers is timing and she said that some people never really get it despite the amount of time they put in to it. As a result I'm going to take a clicker class when I can afford it and see if it will work for us.

 

I tried first with a box clicker and had no real control over timing -- I think that confused Senneca more than anything, so I stopped. I later bought a nice clicker with a button on top that is easier to use, but I don't know how to undo the the initial experience -- the only thing I seemed to have trained Senneca with the clicker is to ignore the clicks because they don't mean anything.

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I tried first with a box clicker and had no real control over timing -- I think that confused Senneca more than anything, so I stopped. I later bought a nice clicker with a button on top that is easier to use, but I don't know how to undo the the initial experience -- the only thing I seemed to have trained Senneca with the clicker is to ignore the clicks because they don't mean anything.

 

You could try a doggie zen type thing. Start with something amazing - roast beef or something she will go nuts over.

 

Close the food in a fist and hold the clicker behind your back in your other hand. Let her sniff, paw, nibble, etc. Once she pulls back even the slightest bit, click, pause for a second then give her a piece of the food. Feeding from the fist hand is fine, or you can give her a bit (of the same stuff) from a bowl or something. This will serve to show her that a click means a treat is coming, but also that something that she does makes the click happen.

 

One thing that's important - let her figure out what you want. Refrain from saying "leave it" or anything like that. For this to give a new meaning to the click, the dog must figure out on his or her own what is desired.

 

Repeat for about 5 reps and quit.

 

Do this for about a week (don't skimp - give it a full week!) and then try loading the clicker as usual. After that, use it for a week or so to mark behaviors that she knows really, really well.

 

By then she should really understand what the click means and you can try some simple shaping, etc.

 

If you try it, I'd love to hear if it makes a difference.

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You could try a doggie zen type thing. Start with something amazing...

 

...If you try it, I'd love to hear if it makes a difference.

 

Poor Senneca is wearing an e-Collar right now -- she somehow managed to get herself a nasty gash on the thigh -- and is wallowing in self-pity. Once she can go without the collar (a couple more days at the most, I think). I'll have one more try.

 

BTW: I had to google "doggie zen" to find out what you were referring to. I seen the term before, but never understood what it meant. Learned something today, as well.

 

And completely off-topic, but I have learned a lot about training from my foster, Rhys bach. No, not from me training him; but from watching him training random people at the park to throw his ball. I'm seriously impressed how he mastered the art.

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And completely off-topic, but I have learned a lot about training from my foster, Rhys bach. No, not from me training him; but from watching him training random people at the park to throw his ball. I'm seriously impressed how he mastered the art.

 

Yeah, my pup has that one down too. The second I say 'That'll do" which means I'm not throwing for a bit, take a break, he whips around and beelines it for anyone else with a ball.

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Poor Senneca is wearing an e-Collar right now -- she somehow managed to get herself a nasty gash on the thigh -- and is wallowing in self-pity. Once she can go without the collar (a couple more days at the most, I think). I'll have one more try.

 

BTW: I had to google "doggie zen" to find out what you were referring to. I seen the term before, but never understood what it meant. Learned something today, as well.

 

And completely off-topic, but I have learned a lot about training from my foster, Rhys bach. No, not from me training him; but from watching him training random people at the park to throw his ball. I'm seriously impressed how he mastered the art.

 

Another less-recommended way to teach a dog that the click has meaning requires less of the pressure present in a typical training session. Capture something. Even if Senneca already knows sit and down, if you just sit on the couch reading something or at your computer with a bowl of dog treats and a clicker, wait until you see one particular behavior. Barely be watching her out of the corner of your eye and when you see her lie down, for example, click and toss the treat and then ignore her again. She may not get it the first three or four clicks, just be surprised about the treat raining from the sky... but since she'll have to get up to get the treat, she has another chance to lay down. She'll lay down again, probably coincidentally, after a while, and you can repeat until she's laying down purposefully to get you to click. This was the major lightbulb moment for my dog-- she really understood that she was making the click happen.

 

Oh, and it's really important that the click and treat be separate. Click, short pause, then start moving your hand to get the treat. It's much clearer when the click and the treat are separate actions-- the click predicts the reinforcement before there's any other indication that the reinforcement is coming.

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Yeah, my pup has that one down too. The second I say 'That'll do" which means I'm not throwing for a bit, take a break, he whips around and beelines it for anyone else with a ball.

Rhys bach is worse than that. The moment we enter the park, he runs off and finds a ball and drops it at someone's feet. I have to signal specially to him -- "I'll throw this one, Rhys". Every border collie has to have a mission in life; his mission is to train everyone in the park to throw his ball.

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I'm working on getting Tobey lie down whenever he hears lie down. So we did a bunch of work in the house last night and he did well, but to break up the training, I taught him to crawl. I clicked everything he moved forward on his belly, and soon he was a low crawling machine!

 

Funny how a click and treat can motivate.

 

I'm quite glad I got a clicker, I think it's worth while for anyone to try.

 

Tim

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I just pulled out the clicker for the first time with Blaze the other day. I can't believe I waited this long. We did some simple click/treat and touch hand/click/treat. He got so excited by the middle of our short session. So we ended after about 10/15 minutes of doing that. Then a couple days went by and I pulled out the clicker. We worked on a bow command this time. Within about 5 minutes he was succesfully offering a bow!

 

Clicker hooked. :rolleyes:

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We love our clicker! We don't use it for anything involving stockwork, and I also have completely phased it out for real-world training/drilling of important things like recalls, stays, etc (although those were originally taught with a clicker and I think that gave him a good base for understanding what I wanted and what he needed to do). We tend to go in spurts and use it a lot sometimes and other times it sits on its shelf for awhile. But I would not say picking it up means Odin is excited because he's going to get "bribes"; he's excited because we are going to do some very fun learning together.

 

I've found timing with the clicker, while it can always be improved, is not *nearly* as critical as timing of corrections (which we also use in training).

 

We'll probably be using the clicker a lot more in the next few months, as I'll have to cut down on stock training and pretty soon will put him up for a while (unless DH shows interest in continuing, which I would be INSANELY jealous of - especially if he turns out to be better than me, which is a distinct possibility for pretty much anyone :rolleyes: ). Mine and Odin's other favorite training thing is "doggie dancing", much to everyone's embarassment (except Odin, who doesn't get embarrassed, he just gets happy). I don't call it freestyle because we aren't that polished and don't work up routines, more a collection of commands/tricks that I throw out as seems appropriate to whatever music I want to listen to that day.

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I do not use the clicker very much except, when teaching tricks or, a few times, when teaching a new obedience exercise. Timing is defiantly the key to mark the desired behavior. I've been using "Yessssss" to mark correct behavior. When I do use the clicker, it is combined with a "Yessss", and we progress from there.

 

The clicker can become another piece of stuff needed for training. I've been using a play-based, motivational method of training, that works very well for my dogs. It feels as if they are focusing more on me and provides a lot more training freedom, rather than me trying to remember all the stuff needed to train.

 

Having said this I do keep a clicker for use as needed, I just don’t want to become dependant on it. Each trainer/handler should decide what works best for their dogs and how they want to train.

 

Good luck with the training.

 

mobcmom

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One of the things I like about this tool is it's high versatility. It absolutely can be used, as many have said, to start off teaching a behavior. In contrast, for me it has had the most value when working with my dogs on behaviors in the later stages of training.

 

One of the most valuable uses I've found for the clicker is to help a dog get "unstuck" when a problem arises with achieving fluency of a behavior. For instance, my mutt, Maddie, really, really struggled with her weave poles. Just when she seemed to have them down, they would fall apart. After months and years of wires and repetition and various strategies, someone had me use a clicker to help her sort it out. Maddie was clicker savvy, but I had never used it with weave poles. Using the clicker, the problem nearly vanished and she has never lost her understanding of the poles. Sometimes I need to do a refresher with her to sharpen up her weaves, but they no longer fall apart completely. At that time, I would not have thought to use a clicker to help her gain a deeper understanding of her job in the poles, but it worked almost instantly.

 

Recently Speedy and I were struggling with a switch that he was doing from left heel to right heel. He could do the switch, but he was immediatly surging ahead and going into a default circle. To show him what I wanted in a new way, I had him do the switch and I stopped. He looked to me, confused, and I moved him into right heel and clicked. We repeated this until he started to default to right heel. Then I used the click to show him, very precisely, where I wanted him to "land" after the switch. Once he had the idea, he stopped surging and circling. He knew exactly where I wanted him. Although this transition is extremely simple, to Speedy it was a behavior that consisted of several distinct steps, and he was missing an important piece. Once I used the clicker to give him that piece, he understood what he was to do and we were off to the races . . . well, performances, anyway!

 

I've formed the habit, when my dogs get "stuck", especially with something more advanced, of using the clicker to help them see exactly what I'm wanting. 90% of the time, it does the job quickly and thoroughly. Every now and again I need to find another solution, but usually the clicker does the trick.

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clicking on long lead..

 

When Robin pulls on the end of the 15 foot lead, I stop and hold as steady as I can, then click when he takes the pressure off and the lead goes slack. I don't wait for him to look back at me, just wait for the slack. Could that approach work to get it him to walk on a loose lead through the fields? He can circle around me all he wants; I just don't want any pulling.

 

 

 

Liz

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clicking on long lead..

 

When Robin pulls on the end of the 15 foot lead, I stop and hold as steady as I can, then click when he takes the pressure off and the lead goes slack. I don't wait for him to look back at me, just wait for the slack. Could that approach work to get it him to walk on a loose lead through the fields? He can circle around me all he wants; I just don't want any pulling.

Liz

 

Weeeell . . . maybe. This might create a behavior chain, though - dog learns to pull, then let the lead go slack, pull, go slack. Maybe not, but it could happen.

 

You might have better success if actually click before he gets to the pulling point - so, before you stop! I'd want to try to keep the whole thing in motion - the click, continued movement, the reward, continued movement, etc.

 

Does that make sense?

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Weeeell . . . maybe. This might create a behavior chain, though - dog learns to pull, then let the lead go slack, pull, go slack. Maybe not, but it could happen.

 

You might have better success if actually click before he gets to the pulling point - so, before you stop! I'd want to try to keep the whole thing in motion - the click, continued movement, the reward, continued movement, etc.

 

Does that make sense?

 

Yes, it does. Thanks. What I was doing didn't feel right - like I was rewarding him for pulling.

 

Liz

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