Multiple Dogs... Multiple Clickers?

Discussion in 'General Dog Training' started by Pawbla, Jul 16, 2012.

  1. Pawbla Experienced Member

    Do you use more than one clicker for more than one dog? I know that some people use the same clicker for different dogs (like Kikopup). But wouldn't it desensitize your dogs to it, on the long run, if you train while the other one is present? Or wouldn't it mark behaviours that are not necessarily the ones you need? For example if you're marking one dog and the other one is just sleeping in another room, or barking, or whatever.

    I have about six clickers. The Starmark clicker, four i-click clickers, and a Click-r clicker (my personal favorite), and I think I'm not forgetting any else.

    I imagine they'd learn the difference between different brands, but do you think that they could distinguish between different i-click clickers, for example? They do sound really similar, but a dog's ear is finer.

    What is your opinion on the subject? What would make the dog less confused? Would using different clickers be worth the trouble?

  2. 648117 Honored Member

    I've also always wondered about this.

    Dogs are smart, so maybe they can tell if the click is meant for them or not by whether you are facing them or have recently interacted with them. But I don't know. I haven't got any experience with this.

    Hopefully someone else will be able to give some advice about it
  3. Evie Experienced Member

    Yeah, I've always wondered about this too. I dont want to teach my brothers husky what a clicker is unless I can have some alone time with her as i'm worried that me sitting there clicking and treating the husky will desensitise Evie to the noise. At the moment, she hears that click and she KNOWS it's for her... surely if you train several dogs together they'll start to wonder which click is for them? Especially when shaping new tricks... maybe the dog will then think that that click wasn't for them? because in the past it hasn't ALWAYS been for them?

    Hope that made sense lol, but will be interesting to hear other peoples opinions and experiences.
  4. jackienmutts Honored Member

    I' ve got a few different kinds, and clickers stashed all over the place (just in case .. cuz you never know when you might need one). When I have a session with one dog, the other is quite often laying nearby waiting their turn. It's never caused any confusion on anyone's part. They know when they hear the 'click' they get a reward, that 'click' is always a good thing. If one happens to be asleep and I 'click' the other for something, the sleeping one will always jump up and immed come to see what they're missing. O_o:LOL: I've never had a dog confused by hearing a 'click' not meant for them, or desensitized by hearing it when it's obviously (to the dog) meant for another dog. My guess is, if you're working another dog (Dog A) and Dog B can see that (or is aware of it), he/she won't become immune to that 'click' as their brain is working and thinking - as opposed to just blocking out one more noise (say, on the tv, or in the neighborhood, or outside). That 'click' is a very meaningful noise to them, so they're going to consciously remain alert (and hopefully focused) when they hear it.
  5. Pawbla Experienced Member

    But I assume your dogs are already trained not to interfere when another dog is being trained/fed treats, right? And have always been since you've allowed them to go near the other dog when you're training.
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  6. jackienmutts Honored Member

    All part of training. :) Down/stay for one dog, then whatever with the other dog. Part of their training was learning impulse control/taking turns. Learning impulse control is such a huge lesson for dogs, but such a wonderful thing for them to learn. While one is having their session, the other is in a down/stay - but I'll toss a treat occasionally and tell them they're being very good (they're not just ignored). When starting, a session like that may only last 30 seconds - it's a lot to ask a dog to lay quietly while you're working with and treating another right in front of them. But with consistent work (and taking turns), they do catch on, learn impulse control, patience, and good manners.
  7. sara Moderator

    I dont have that problem with my dogs as only one of my dogs can hear LOL the other 2 use an LED light that's pointed right at them, so they never get confused. But all three are trained to stay and wait their turn while I'm working with one of them.
  8. SD&B Experienced Member

    That's a really good question. I had that issue to begin with. I had to train Barney to do a calm settle while I train Sundog. (Sundog could already easily do that.) Else, he would try to jump into the middle of the training and nothing much good was going on. But now that I've trained Barney to settle while we're training, we can take turns and it is really very productive. The settled dog knows they are just waiting, but that they will get a treat for the waiting. It also allows the settling dog to rest both physically and mentally.

    So, basically, I'm doing the same thing as Jackienmutts.

    Of course, if they hear a click from somewhere else, they come running.
    MaryK, Dogster, Pawbla and 1 other person like this.
  9. Lindsey Well-Known Member

    I've never run into any problem. I do have a million different clickers but that's because no matter how many I have I inevitably will not be able to find one when I want one :D

    My dogs learn who is getting worked with and who isn't. When I'm working with the puppy Didgie, Traveler will go sleep on the couch or lay near by. It's never really caused any confusion other than anger on Didgie's part since she thinks if anything is happening she needs to be involved. We're working on that self control aspect.

    But I haven't noticed any desensitization to the clicker with either of them. The act of training or marking the behavior around here is also typically paired with attention, reward and continuation. So if none of those happen in addition to the click then I think they go "Oh, ok. Not my turn. Carry on!"
    MaryK likes this.
  10. Pawbla Experienced Member

    It's great to hear everybody's experience. I guess we may safely conclude that, at least in the majority of dogs, it doesn't cause confusion. Thanks a lot everybody!
    MaryK likes this.
  11. Pawtential Unleashed Experienced Member

    If dogs could not tell who was being clicked - a clicker class would never work.

    My dogs know by body language, eye contact and obviously reward who I am working with. While newcomer dogs may take a little while to learn to wait their turn - most every dog I know has worked it out pretty quickly both in class and in private in home training with multiple dogs - but there is certainly no harm in having different clicker sounds - they actually make a clicker just for that...


    This article may be helpful too:
    MaryK, Pawbla, southerngirl and 2 others like this.
  12. Pawbla Experienced Member

    I was actually told by an "experienced" trainer that clicker classes don't work because of that!

    Great article by the way! Thanks.
    MaryK likes this.
  13. jackienmutts Honored Member

    Good article Lisa. And clicker classes do indeed work - whoever the 'experienced' trainer was that said they didn't, maybe needs to sit in on one that is working - maybe something is going wrong in theirs. O_o
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  14. MaryK Honored Member

    Interesting thread and very helpful. I am finding that Zeus, my older dog, is very happy to sit and watch Ra Kismet train when we are inside the house, but it breaks down outside, as Zeus will tend to 'wander' in the way, especially when I'm doing heel work with Ra Kismet.

    I guess I'll have to work with Zeus on 'self control' outside. I too was wondering about the clicker causing confusion between two dogs. Glad to know it doesn't:)
    Pawbla likes this.

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