Perfecting My Timing--HELP!

Discussion in 'General Dog Training' started by tx_cowgirl, May 8, 2010.

  1. tx_cowgirl Honored Member

    So, I need some assistance. I've been working with Mud on some service/assistance tasks, and quite frankly I don't have enough hands. For instance, I recently taught her to take my socks off and pick up anything I drop.
    Well, with the socks I had clicker in one hand, treats in my lap, and had to hold one hand out for her to give me the sock. So click....lapse in time while I put either clicker or sock down and fumble for a treat, then reward while Mudflap stares expectantly at me. Surprisingly enough, this is working. Mud is patient and is getting the concept very easily. She learned the sock trick in about 3 tries, despite my fumbling. Now we're just perfecting the return of the sock.

    With picking up anything I drop, I have clicker in one hand, treat bag hooked on my pocket, and one hand ready to receive the item she's returning. I have tried putting a few treats in the same hand as the clicker, but there's still a time lapse between clicking and resituating the clicker to give a treat.
    With both tricks, I have tried putting the clicker under my foot so I can click and have plenty of hands--I got this from one of Supernaturalbc2009's videos; it was something she suggested. Personally I'm having issues with this, lol, I just can't seem to position the clicker/my foot right to click at the right moment. As for using a marker word to replace the clicker, honestly I don't think fast enough for this. I've tried, lol. I'm so concentrated on the behavior and guiding Mud in the right direction, by the time she does it right I'm thinking "YES! She did it! OH WAIT, marker word!" and by the time the message gets from brain to mouth, it's too late. Lol.

    Like I said, she's not having any problems getting it, but I know I could do better. Any suggestions?

  2. jackienmutts Honored Member

    Ok, I'm a little bit confused - but if I'm picturing/interpreting this correctly, you're asking how to click/give Mud the treat, almost at the same time when she's giving you what she picked up for you (cuz you're out of hands)? ... is that what I'm understanding? Sorry, I got a bit confused. Because, if that's what you're asking, that click marks the exact second she's done what you've asked, and if she's clicker-wise, you've just told her "that's what I wanted!" - so she knows she did it, and the treat is coming. If Mud truly understands "oh, that's what she wanted, I did it!" and the treat then comes, even a couple seconds later (cuz you have to then get it and give it to her), she's gonna get it .. altho I know, oh, to have just one more hand, sometimes. I think just using the clicker and repeating/clicking/rewarding the behavior every single time, she's gonna get it - and you won't need that extra hand (cuz you know Border Collie's are smarter than we are .. isn't Mud a BC?) :msngiggle:
  3. tx_cowgirl Honored Member

    Lol, right, trying to treat faster, if possible.

    She is getting it very easily, I just have always learned that you should treat very quickly...of course she does understand click means she got it right, but she doesn't actually get the reward until a second or two later. With tricks that do not require so many hands, I have no problems at all clicking and treating at lightning speeds with perfect timing.

    I videotaped our 3rd session of the sock trick and 1st/2nd session of the picking up stuff, and watching it just drove me crazy. I just felt like I needed to be rewarding much sooner. But maybe I'm being too hard on myself...after all, Mud is definitely not having any trouble picking up the tricks. I'll try to get it up just so everyone can see what I'm talking about and decide if I'm being too hard on myself, or if there is something I can do differently.

  4. lueta New Member


    I do not think you need to have the treats in your lap :p.

    Try putting them in a pot on the table, and when you click, you get close to the boat and reward for your dog. It also serves to train your dog with no food in sight. =)

    good luck!
  5. tx_cowgirl Honored Member

    The treats in my lap are simply for accessibility. I have the treat bag next to me, and a handful of treats in my lap. Having the handful of treats there means I can reward faster. Treats or not though, she'll do it just for the enjoyment she gets out of performing tricks, so I'm not concerned with her expecting food at all. She just wants to work--the treats are just an extra perk to the job. ^^ Lol.
  6. srdogtrainer Experienced Member

    I know that it makes sence that you need to get the treat to your dog right a way...but, once they understand how the clicker works and that a treat is coming, the anticipation of the treat can actually be more rewarding then the treat itself.

    If however it is really important to you to get the treat to your dog faster, I would practice all the movements without your dog. Maybe put the treats and clicker next to you on the table with your hand over the clicker ready to click with your finger. Then you can click and not need to put the clicker down but grab a treat and present it. You may even be able to hold a treat in your hand while having your pointer finger on the clicker and be ready to give the treat as you press the clicker.

    Some games for improving timing include throwing or bouncing a tennis ball and clicking when the ball reaches its peak. Maybe you could practice this and also practice delivering the treat. You could either practice giving the treat to an invisible dog or putting treats in a jar...etc. I think there is another game where you time yourself for a minute and see how many treats you can get in the jar. I don't remember exactly how it is played but you can either be creative and make up new games or search for them on the internet. There are probably some on Karen Pryors website.

    Good luck with your training!
    new bear likes this.
  7. tx_cowgirl Honored Member

    I am the queen of clicker timing games, lol. ^^ Since this post, Mud has perfected both of the tricks mentioned. I really wasn't concerned with her getting it at all; she thoroughly understands the meaning of the clicker, but watching myself on video really drove me insane. I just wanted to yell, "GIVE THE DOG A TREAT ALREADY, GEEZ!" Lol, I guess I was too hard on myself. But did do several things to improve my timing, although I never did get coordinated enough to speedily click-drop item-treat treat treat in a second's time, lol. Ah well. Obviously Mud didn't mind, as she picked both tricks up in just a couple sessions.

    Thanks a bunch for the tips! :dogsmile:

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