Clicker training

Discussion in 'Off-Topic & Chit Chat' started by heidib860, Feb 27, 2008.

  1. heidib860 New Member

    Okay I have a question,

    I've been reading the first lessons in the classroom and they talk about clicker training.
    Does most people here use clickers. I did go buy one but I am wondering if I start doing clicker training do I use the clicker all the time. Like when your doing something around the house and you just want the dog to sit or down and your not actually in training?

    Or do you just use the clicker when your doing your training time and the dog is learning new things, (until the dog learns it)?

    Currently Max is motivated with treats/praise so I pretty much use treats and then when he does something really good or there is a breakthrough I give him lots of praise. But I can see where he gets confused on the words. He seems to do better with hand commands then words so I use both?

    Any help, guidance, or thoughts on this would be appreciated. I am hesistant about starting clicker training until I now about this so as to not confuse the dog.

  2. hockey390 New Member

    You will only use the clicker while engaging in training. I would imagine if you don't get an action very often that you want to train you might carry it around, but the concept is that you have a very consistent method of saying "correct". It won't get confused if you teach it that click = treat.

    Once you've taught the dog that when you click, it gets a reward, it will start to recognize when you are training just by seeing the clicker.

    But to simplify your question, no, you do not have to carry the clicker around anytime you want the dog to do a command. You shape the trick using the clicker in training sessions and then match a verbal/hand command to the trick. Often times trainers using a clicker will only use the clicker while starting a trick and stop using it as soon as possible. But that will be up to you =)
  3. szecsuani Experienced Member

    If you start training a trick with the clicker, you only have to click for the behaviour, until the dog learns it. After that, you don't have to use it. (or at least I do this):)

    And I always teach the trick with hand signals, and I try to make them smaller and smaller by the time, and after a longer timer, the command will be enough.
    OK, an example. When I was teaching turn around, I did a big circle with my hand, leading the dog into turning around, and said the command. After she knew this, I made a smaller circle, while I daid the command. Repeated about 5-6 times, then another smaller circle repeating the command, and so on, until I only had to move my finger, and say the command, and she turned around. And finally, after 2 or 3 days, I only had to say the command.

    Alright, I can't speak clearly today...
    So if this didn't make sence, feel free to ask. :) ;)
  4. nereis Well-Known Member

    Just to agree with what the others have said. You just use the clicker to pinpoint what they have done right, so the dog knows exactly what it is being praised for. You still praise with treats and praise :doghappy:

    I'll use sit as an example just because it's easy to explain. When you've lured the dog into a sit, the second his bum hits the floor you click and praise him. After a few repetitions, he'll work out that putting his bum on the floor gets him praise. Then you can progress in training to asking for longer sits before clicking, or just click really fast responses. Once you've trained it to the level you want, you can fade out the clicker.
  5. leema New Member

    You only have to carry the clicker around the house if there is something you want to capture or there is 'problem behaviours' you're trying to capture the alternative 'good behaviours'.

    I prefer to have set training lessons, otherwise the dog may become demanding of work. You might use to use a cue to say "We're going to train now" and then a cue for finished. I use "Do you want to do some training?" which is a bit dumb, but she's beginning to learn it now. :)
  6. heidib860 New Member

    But to simplify your question, no, you do not have to carry the clicker around anytime you want the dog to do a command. You shape the trick using the clicker in training sessions and then match a verbal/hand command to the trick. Often times trainers using a clicker will only use the clicker while starting a trick and stop using it as soon as possible.

    Thank you hockey390 for your help. I really do apprieciate it. I think this will definately help Max out. It makes a lot of sense. I have never trully understood clicker training before this site and always shyed away from it because I didn't understand it.
  7. heidib860 New Member

    No this makes perfect sense szecsuani. Thanks. Wow 2-3 days that's quick. How long do you typically on a training session? I guess the dog's attention would probably have a large part to do with that question.
  8. heidib860 New Member

    Thank you so much for your help. You've all made me feel so much better about clicker training.
  9. heidib860 New Member

    Thanks for the suggestion of the cue to start training.

    How long do you usually train for? I definately want it to stay fun and have him look forward to it so I can get the most from the training sessions.

    You all have been so helpful about this, so supportive and have given me the confidence and information that will help me clicker training. I thank my lucky stars for finding this site.
  10. leema New Member

    My training sessions typically go for 10 minutes, though most people recommend shorter sessions. I train twice a day and my puppy only gets her meals during these training sessions. She is always keen and often doesn't want to stop. :D

    We also have a finish session cue... With Mac it's "okay". For Clover, I am using okay but she doesn't understand. :p I throw food all over the floor and say "find" and walk away. I am cautious about using negative punishments at the end of our training session.
  11. hockey390 New Member

    When I end a training session I usually notice that the dog is either losing interest, or has done 3-4 very good repititions and I like to end on a good note. So to finish I get all excited, jump around a little and then play a quick game of tug. This probably sounds silly to some, but... I love it.
  12. heidib860 New Member

    Thank you everyone for your help.
    I started clicker training after I had read your posts. I started with the sit command which he already knows somewhat but I wanted something that was a little easier for both of us so we could get used to it. Very difficult getting used to watching the dog, figuring out what to do next and clicking the clicker. I know it'll get easier but it was funny when I was reading the posts it seemed simple enough. Boy oh boy it's difficult to coordinate everything to make sure your getting it right.

    Max was so cute though. He really got the fact of doing behavior and clicker = treat. I really had his attention, he was really glued to me which hasn't happened before. I definately had to keep it moving along though so I didn't break the attention.

    He was so cute he didn't want to take his butt off the floor after I was done with the sit and was doing the lure again to get him up on all four feet.

    Although he was really rough on taking the treat from my fingers. I think I should put the treat in my palm and have him take it out of my palm.
  13. Jean Cote Administrator

    LOL I can so picture your dog doing this!!! :D Clicker training is fun and it's sooooo easy once you understand how it works.

    There is a lesson called Accepting Treats in the classrom Level 1 or 2, you should check that out. :)
  14. hockey390 New Member

    Ya I would suggest the accepting treats lessons.. When I first got here I was so excited to get started with training that I tried to skip over a few of the.. lets put it.. not as fun lessons.

    After I started doing more complex tricks I realized how important those first few really are and went back and started from lesson 1. I realized this when I was trying to do a lure trick and my dog just kept on biting for the treat. If the dog bites for it then you'll instinctively give them a negative reinforcement for whatever they just did, even if what they did was right, such as sit.
  15. heidib860 New Member

    Max was much better this evening. He so much wants to please. I started at the beginning and read through every thing. I have to say these lessons are very well thought out and are totally step by step. Very easy to understand.

    Max was better at taking the treats. I also think because last night it was right before dinner time and I'm not sure if he put two and two together that we would also get his dinner. But my fingers are not sore tonight.

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