Starting with a clicker... coupla' questions

Discussion in 'General Dog Training' started by sara, Feb 17, 2009.

  1. sara Moderator

    So my previous rescues have not been the type of dogs that clickers could be used. one is soooo badly abused that it has taken 5 years to get some semblance of normal. the last one is deaf. I did use a similar thing called a visual clicker (thumbs up) but I didn't do much with it. it was used more as a good! than a clicker... well kinda the same thing I guess lol. Scout is very OCD about lights so a flashlight or a lazer pointer can't be used as a visual clicker. I just adopted a Terrier mix. he has an amazing story. but basically he came to me because they thought he was deaf, and he is horribly dog aggressive and cat aggressive. He was a stray in the worst part of Houston, Texas. well, he ended up with me, 1800 miles away in Alberta Canada. it turns out he is not deaf, it was an allergy to a bad flea infestation. and I have been able to get his dog aggression out of him. I haven't introduced cats yet....

    I am mostly just training manners right now, and using NILIF (nothing in life is free). but I have started loading a clicker. I have used it to work with his sit, down and shake a paw. it seems to be working really well. he looks immediately for a treat when I click. I just want to know if I am doing it right. I started by saying his name and clicking when he looked at me then treat immediately. after a few days of this, then I started asking for a sit. I clicked as soon as his butt hit the ground. after a few more days of both, I introduced the down, luring him into it and clicking as soon as his elbows hit then treat immediately. tonight I introduced the shake a paw, clicking as soon as his paw hit my hand, then holding it for a second, then giving the treat. He is doing well, but I am still having to half lure the down, but it's only been a couple of days, and as Ollie is only 6 months old, i am keeping his training short. a couple of times a day. I also take him for socialization to a pet store a couple of times on the weekends. I use the clicker when he is there as well.

    Is this appropriate? am I doing it right? is there anything else I should be doing before adding more commands? I have no problems with my deaf dog, she is amazing and I have done demo's with her on deaf dogs. she knows 43 signs and is one amazing dog. I dont see having any issues with Oliver (it should be easier for him as he can hear lol) but I want to do it right from the start, and not have to retrain if I screw up.

    Thanks for your help

  2. Jean Cote Administrator

    I think that you are doing great, it sounds like he is learning quickly. It has only been a few days and he's already figured out how the clicker works, that's an accomplishment on it's own. :)

    You probably don't need to use a clicker in the store unless you plan to train him there. A clicker is only needed to train the dog to perform a behavior. But I assume that you are taking him to the store for socialization? Just getting the people there to give him a treat for sitting is all that's needed. :)
  3. maven New Member

    Sounds like you're both getting it down :) He is a lucky guy.

    I do take my clicker with me and use it to help calm. My 6 month old is pretty much afraid of everything, but the clicker helps keep him from getting over stimulated. When he hears it he'll bring his focus back to me.
  4. sara Moderator

    I train in pet stores. the distractions there are so good for working with a dog. He does focus really fast in the store once I start using the clicker in the store. He is such a good boy, his dog aggression was so bad and has been totally turned around. he now looks to me for "advice" when he is nervous of another dog. He was supposed to be a foster.... that lasted 2 days lol
  5. fickla Experienced Member

    I think you're doing a great job! And training at a pet store is really good for distraction work and socialization. A clicker doesn't really change the way you change, it just helps with your timing and makes it clearer to the dog what the reward is for. So you're doing it just fine!
  6. sara Moderator

    Ok thanks for the feedback! I am really excited about this dog, I see lots of potential in him. I just want to make sure I do everything right from the start.
  7. snooks Experienced Member

    the only thing i might add to this very nice work is when you introduce a verbal or hand cue for the behavior. don't wait too long. when you see the dog making decisions to do the behavior it's time for the cue, or when you think he will probably do it.

    i would get this down to the cue/behavior point in low distraction before i went to the pet store and then i would work it all over. drive way, yard, parking lot, pet store so that the dog generalized the behavior everywhere. some dogs do it very fast and some must be exposed. generally you'll have quicker success starting low and working high, since there will be a higher rate of success and accomplishment for the dog--hence greater motivation.

    i only mention this because you didn't...you may already be doing it. keep it up!!:dogrolleyes:
  8. sara Moderator

    yes, I do start teaching a behavior at home, then in the park by my house, then we move on to the pet stores, then to the dog park.... Oliver will not be going there for awhile yet, as I dont want any bad experiences for him. I put him in a puppy class at Petsmart.... not because I need someone to teach me what to do, but he needs to socialize with other dogs who aren't going to freak out at him. We are way beyond what they are teaching in the class.... but it's fun to watch the puppies and their inexperienced owners.... Its amazing how young a dog is when they start ruling the roost! Oliver is a very special puppy I taught him in 5 min. to touch his toy with his paw. then later that day we expanded on it to touching with either the left or right paw. Its a good thing to start with, and a base with alot of tricks. I'll expand from there. it's weird tho, working with a dog that can hear. I am still getting used to it, and signing all the time to him and talking to my deaf dog.... I confuse even myself sometimes! lol
  9. snooks Experienced Member

    At least with a deaf dog you don't have to worry when you call him the other dog's name. I do that all the time esp late and in the dark since they are very very similar looking. At least they aren't teenagers telling me what a dork I am like I did to my parents when they called me my brother's name. LOL :dogwacko: They just look at me like what are you talking about I'm not supposed to do that b/c you didn't cue me.
  10. sara Moderator

    My mom took it one step further, when I was a kid. I have one sister and we had 2 dogs. my mom would often go through all 4 of our names "Sara er, Lauren, uh Patches.. BENJI" lol it was too funny... yes we made fun of her lol She still once in a while does that.... with the original names as well as the 3 current dogs.... "Sara, Patches, Zoe, OLIVER" too funny, and My sis just got a puppy and was down for the weekend... My Mom now has to learn a whole new name... it is really funny. like you said, at least the deaf dog isn't getting confused!
  11. sara Moderator

    Update. I think Ollie and I have def. got the hang of the clicker. Ollie will now touch a toy with either his left or right on command, crawl accross the living room, touch my foot (left or right) with either his left or right paw, shake hi five and wave (left or right) and beg. funny, I had both Ollie and Scout crawling across the living room in sync... sorta lol, and both waving their left paw at me. Zoe was in the background, sitting with her paw in the air like "me too!" (which is her nick name lol) I am going to start shy with him this weekend. he loves doing things with his paws, so I started with those types of tricks. I think the sky is the limit with this boy, he just LOVES learning! His obedience is coming along well too. he has amazing focus for a 7-8 month old puppy.
  12. fickla Experienced Member

    That's great! You should post some videos of their training, I would love to see it! Nice job
  13. tx_cowgirl Honored Member

    Wonderful. :) Glad to hear you're both catching on!

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