Training Question: Praise And Clicker

Discussion in 'Dog Tricks' started by JoAnne, May 23, 2011.

  1. JoAnne Well-Known Member

    I'm unclear about some praise issues. I don't necessarily want to praise Ash for doing something half ass, because of the obvious. So when is praise just encouragement?

    If clicking is just for new behavior, when do I stop using the clicker for it and just use verbal and/or food?

  2. Ina Well-Known Member

    Hi JoAnne,

    you have to phase out the clicker and reward gradually after your dog has learnt the new behaviour SATISFACTORY. For example if you want your dog to sit on a box you will click at first for any movement towards the desired behaviour. Click when he sniffs the box a couple of times. Then you wait for MORE behaviour towards the required goal. Click for paw on box .. then click for both paws on box, then click for any movement to get up on the box. Eventually you will only click if the dog is sitting on the box. You might be happy with that and give it a verbal cue - lets call it SITBOX.
    Once the dog understands the verbal command you fade the clicker and rewards. Only reward every second time, every third time and so on. However I would use the verbal praise every time the dog does the required behaviour.

    However, if you put a DIFFERENT box down and your dog does not understand the command SITBOX because he associated the command with the box he was trained on you have to start all over again. This time doggie will react much quicker, but you can bring out the clicker and treats to practice the same trick with different objects AND locations.

    The clicker is just a tool for your dog to understand that the behaviour that happened EXACTLY when the click occurred is what the trainer wants and a treat will follow. You would not click/reward a STAND on the box if you asked for a SIT on the box.
    Dodge and JoAnne like this.
  3. jackienmutts Honored Member

    JoAnne, clicking isn't just for new behavior - that may be part of your confusion. The clicker provides information to your dog. It tells your dog YES, THAT'S WHAT I WANT!! There's no hard and fast rule, you don't have to fade the clicker after "x" number of sessions. I still do sessions and use the clicker for really simple things like a good 'sit' etc, simply because my dogs enjoy hearing that 'click' - it excites them, they know they've done a good job, and they know a reward is going to follow any second. That 'click' makes them happy, and keeps them working.

    I believe you said you ordered Gail Fisher's The Thinking Dog a few weeks ago (am I right?). If so, check out Chap 8 on Building Behavior, and you might get some of your questions answered and things clarified. I think she explains what the clicker is really doing, what kind of info you can provide with it, how to vary your reward and rate of reinforcement, all kinds of things. I know, I know ... more to read. :eek: I think it may truly help to clarify things for you, tho - kind of help to put all your ducks in a row so things make sense for you. Who ever thought one little noisy piece of plastic could cause such stress, huh? :rolleyes:

    To answer one question you asked, you wouldn't 'click' if Asher gave you a "half-assed" behavior. He'd get nothing, or maybe a "whoops", or "that's nice", but no reward, if he's just kind of slopping thru stuff. You'd wait for that good, sharp behavior, then click/treat. If he's kind of having a hard training session, and finally gives you a good behavior, sometimes a jackpot works wonders, and will get them working much harder (cuz who won't work for a little extra?). Just to clarify, a jackpot would be maybe a whole handful of chicken, as opposed to one piece like usual. Think about that from your dog's point of view. Ok ok, mom wants me to sit and stay, alright fine - WHOA, I got a whole handful of chicken!! What do you want me to do now???? Sometimes a little inspiration goes a long way.

    I hope I haven't added more confusion to the bubbling pot. :confused: I know it seems at first like it's just all so complicated - just clear as mud, huh? It will all start to make sense, and it becomes second nature and so simple. Have faith, you'll get it. Hang in there, you're doing great!!
    Dodge, JoAnne and sara like this.
  4. JoAnne Well-Known Member

  5. JoAnne Well-Known Member

    PRE clicker, I've trained for years and have come to know the pitfalls of praising too soon or for not perfect results eg. not saying good if it really wasn't, but since clicker is a little different... And like you said, he seems to like hearing the click more than just eating the reward.

    Yes I did get that book but haven't read that far into in it because Don't Shoot the Dog arrived from the library's exchange and I had to read it fast, because of the return date. Ooooh, have you/anyone seen the Shaping Behavior with Positive Reinforcement video? I tried getting that from the library also but there are only THREE copies available from libraries worlwide! Two are a Naval base and Brookfield Zoo and the third is in London. I bought a used copy from Amazon and there was only one of those, too. Must be gooood. My mailman and the librarian must think Asher is truly a problem child!
    Dodge likes this.

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