Me And My Pup Asher

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself' started by JoAnne, Apr 11, 2011.

  1. JoAnne Well-Known Member

    I've been a dog triner for more years than I'd like to reveal but this is my first attempt to train using a clicker and although I've read about it previously and understand the concept...Asher DOESN'T!

    I'm starting from square one and my clicker is loaded but he'll rarely pick up an object and when he does more times than not he just walks away with it and drops it. What is a good thing to start with? And any tips or secrets?

  2. wenryder Active Member

    Welcome to DTA! You will find lots of information and help here!

    You say you've never used a clicker before - I do recommend the Classroom section which breaks down how to introduce a clicker into your training. For Obie and I, we introduced the clicker later in his training process, after he already knew a handful of commands. This was helpful, as I would ask him to do a command (sit, for example) and when he did I would click and reward. First things first, associate the click with a "Good job!" and reward, reward, reward! He will eventually clue in that click means good means treat!

    To hold an object, I get my guy to sit in front of me and hand him an object, as soon as he puts his mouth on it, he gets a click and a treat. After several of these, get him to hold it for longer, then he gets a click and treat.
  3. JoAnne Well-Known Member

  4. JoAnne Well-Known Member

    Thanks, I'll try that with the things he already knows. He knows what the click means, just that sometimes he drops whatever he picked up when he hears the click for his treat. Are some items better to start with and some NOT good? I tried somethings that he seemed to just want to hew on.
  5. sara Moderator

    He's supposed to drop the item when he hears the click, otherwise he cant get the treat;) The click signals the end of the behaviour. start out small, work up the length of the hold, then work towards adding more criteria. (giving it to you, for example)
  6. JoAnne Well-Known Member

    Thanks, I'm trying that. In case you didn't get my last reply.
  7. JoAnne Well-Known Member

    I went to the "Classroom" last night and read sometings I should be doing differently then yesterday night just played 'get it' with things laying on the floor and without making it more than a pick up game. We'll try again today and I keep him hungrier.
    wenryder likes this.
  8. JoAnne Well-Known Member

    Week two, five books and five different opinions. The click is suppose to represent the correct action, not the end of the action, I can now understand why people get confused. I'm finding a lot of people on this forum using it at the end, to mean 'treat time'.

    For the next few days I'm going to try placing it in his mouth and click, while gently holding it closed for a couple seconds, followed by a 'give' as he releases then let him nibble on liver before trying again. He doesn't OBJECT to the dowel rod, I'm sure he doesn't love it yet but it's very small and light.
  9. tx_cowgirl Honored Member

    The click DOES mark the correct behavior. But if the correct behavior is HOLDING something for 3 seconds, then the behavior isn't marked until the end of the 3 seconds, because that's what your teaching. Just an example.

    Another example...I taught Mud to pick up Easter eggs and put them in a basket. I began by teaching her to pick up the Easter eggs---using shaping. Click at first for any interest in the egg until she was grabbing the eggs in her mouth. Then I wanted more, so I asked her to get the egg, then held the basket near her mouth and encouraged her to drop it. So no clicks for just picking up the eggs anymore. Clicks ONLY for picking up the egg AND dropping it in the basket. So yes, it's the end of the behavior, BUT, the behavior is COMPLETE. The behavior I'm wanting has changed, so now she'll have to expand on the original behavior to get the click and reward. Then I gradually held the basket further away, or sat it on the ground and just pushed it towards her a bit. Clicks ONLY for coming to the basket to drop the egg. And when we got to the final step(the entire behavior, all put together), clicks for picking up the egg, bringing it to the basket(even from far away), and dropping it in. When she picks up the egg, she still gets verbal praise. She's still being rewarded for the first step, but no food reward until the whole behavior is done.

    If you were simply teaching him to grab an object, then yes, click for grabbing it at all. But, if you were trying to shape a HOLD, so that he keeps the object in his mouth for a period of time, then the clicking would come when he's HOLDING it. The desired behavior has changed, so you're clicking for something different.

    However, when you're teaching stay, you want to come back to the dog to reward him, not let him break the stay to get the reward. I teach a release word so that NOTHING but that release word means they can get out of whatever position they are in. So clicking for stays should be done as you're coming back to the dog, or when you get completely back to the dog. Not when you're 15 feet away.

    So, depending on the trick, the click can signal BOTH the end of the behavior, and the correct behavior.
  10. JoAnne Well-Known Member

  11. JoAnne Well-Known Member

    Thanks for your sugestions, I'll be trying again tonight.
  12. JoAnne Well-Known Member

    Hold was better this morning, but here's something else that happened. After a pretty sucessful train, he looked over at a dog bone bagle and I cued 'take it' and he did then just sat and stared at me while holding it in his mouh. I clicked like three fast times in a row and praised 'good hold; give' (and then I was so excited that I threw my arms around him and we rolled around on the floor). After it was over though, I started to wonder about clicking fast in sucession, was that a sin? And was it a sin because the bagle wasn't a work object?
  13. tx_cowgirl Honored Member

    Multiple clicks really kill what the click is supposed to mean. Clicks are ONLY for when your dog is going to be rewarded. If the click always means food, then your dog will have a VERY strong understanding of what it means. Multiple clicks are just like multiple commands--dilutes the meaning.
    Asking him to get the bagel is fine, so long as he can give it up on cue with no problems. Otherwise, use other objects first to better develop his give/take so he doesn't become a food thief. :) You can also use ice to practice this---it's okay if they eat it, but it's not super tasty so it's less tempting for them to just eat it.
    tigerlily46514 likes this.
  14. tigerlily46514 Honored Member

    Great advice here. but my dog adores ice, mmMM, he does, goes crazy for ice.
    Great job explaining when to click, Tx!!

    this is so interesting, i have nothing to add, i just wanna follow along.
  15. JoAnne Well-Known Member

    Hmmm, once again I'm confused, as I thought the click meant 'Correct Action', although the multiple clicks were a result of my own over exuberance of him starting to, 'get it'; he seems to understand that it's like a clicker jackpot! And I thought that once he understood the command I was to fade the food?

    By the way, this afternoon's train went pretty well and (I don't know if this is right or not), but now the cue is 'hold' rather than 'take'.
  16. tigerlily46514 Honored Member

    if you click---dog gets treat, no exceptions.

    i've even given treats when i've clicked by accident, ha ha, that's how ingrained i see it.

    when dog solidly 'has it', you then fade the clicker, and you can also fade the treats. (i fade treats a big sporadically, even after i no longer need the clicker).

    I keep all treats itty bitty, to avoid fat dog or full dog. Dogs don't care how big a treat is.
    But, if you want to give "jackpot", you could give BIGGER or HIGHER VALUE treats, or exuberhant verbal praise and affection,
    but, don't click a buncha times. Just one click.

    1 click = treat.
    Multiple clicks are neither necessary, nor helpful. Later on, when you click once, dog might think, "But wait, other trick i earned THREE clicks?? what am i doing wrong to get only 1 click??"

    You will see your dog resond to your enthusiasm, and you will see him also putting together "clicks are good, clicks mean THAT'S IT!!! YES!! and clicks mean TREATS!" but, you dog is plenty smart, to understand allll those things, right before your eyes, with only one click....doncha love that clicker????

    Dodge, tx_cowgirl and JoAnne like this.
  17. JoAnne Well-Known Member

    tigerlily46514 likes this.
  18. JoAnne Well-Known Member

    Thank you so much for explaining which is easier for me to comprehend than just reading yes/no and I need to work on better patience since "I'm" the one learning clicker more than he. I also better start wearing a bait bag so I have treats with me all the time; lazy as a dog should be more like 'dog-owner'. I'm babysitting a lab pup, maybe I can work in a little compitiion.
    tigerlily46514 likes this.
  19. tigerlily46514 Honored Member

    Ha ha, i hear you sister!! Clicking is not quite quite as simple as it seems. Once, on this very dog site, another member told a story, of how she was trying to 'click' her husband into getting a cookie. She'd click if he pointed in right direction, etc etc. I guess they both ended up in peals of laughter, and no cookie was ever delivered....

    It gets easier. I gotta confess, i myself was a member here for some time before i ever tried a clicker. I had resisted using one forever, "I'm doing okay without it", "I don't want to be chained to clicker", etc etc.
    but, WOW, once i ever finally started using one, WOW, did Buddy begin learning tricks wayyyyy faster. NOw i am just big fan of clickers.
    Yeah, i use an old camera case for my treats, it has loop to attach to my belt. And i have a fanny-pack belt also, that i can use for treats...keep treats tiny, and healthy, since your dog is gonna be getting lotsa treats from now on!! ha ha!! I use tiny shreds of real meat, or hotdogs.

    At Tx's advice i also got a stretchy coil band to attach clicker to my wrist. I also have back up clickers, just in case i lose one. The very sight of the clicker coming out, gets my dog happy, and he seems to focus much better, as if he knows, "now i will have to figure something out..there's that clicker...."

    did you know, clicker training is how they teach those killer whales tricks at Seaworld?
    wenryder likes this.
  20. tx_cowgirl Honored Member

    Well said Tigerlily. ^^

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