Why A "click" Instead Of A "very Good"?

Discussion in 'General Dog Training' started by Tâmara Vaz, Feb 28, 2013.

  1. Tâmara Vaz Experienced Member

    After almost 80 tricks with Laika I finally bought a clicker:) !! I bought only because looks like everybody on positive training have one and I wanted to have my opinions based on my own experiences. Remember I have always used only positive reinforcement with a happy marker word instead of a CLICK.
    The fact is I DIDN'T like the clicker at all:(! Reasons:
    I feel far away from my dog during training; (I mean I feel more connect if I talk to my dog instead of pushing a button)
    More one thing to do; (I mean I have to make the signal or lure my dog, generally I also pet her as a reward, delivery quickly treats, watch her actions carefully... )
    I can change "the feeling" with my voice;( I mean if she has made a great advancement I can show my excitement with my voice while saying "Very good!" which acts as a better reward then a regular "Very good", I can increase duration with my voice saying it slowly "Veeeeeeeryyyyy good"... And of course dogs can distinguish between them, they are experts on humans right? )
    You can say that the clicker is for best precision, but if you can click on that moment why you can't say the marker word?
    You can say also that the click delays the treats a few seconds, but a consistent marker word has the same effect. ( The marker word has so much meaning to Laika that when I say it she licks herself).
    The clicker comes from whale and dolphin training where you don't have a natural contact which in dogs training you have!! Isn't it more natural for the dog to hear "Very good" instead of "Click"?

    Of course I know if you use the clicker you aren't "forbidden:confused: " to use the benefits of voice and corporal language, but why not go direct for them? Why put a mechanic click between you and your dog?

    I won't change the "Very good" for a "Click" with Laika, also because she is very used to the marker word; but if I train another dog someday I would like to know more about all that...:unsure:
    I'm not saying everybody should stop using a clicker I am just saying how "'I"" feel about it and I want to know what are your thoughts. In fact I don't even think I am "right":unsure: , because sounds EVERY good trainer I have notice has followed in love with a clicker!
    jeanniecogan and 648117 like this.

  2. fickla Experienced Member

    Have you shaped some "complicated" tricks such as hind leg lifts, limping, pivoting...?
    I love to talk to my dogs while training and I use a ton of praise, even during the shaping phase. Clicker training does not have to be equated with silence in training, it's simply a marker :) I would say that for the majority of tricks and training out there one doesn't NEED the precision of the clicker, but I would personally find it very difficult to shape some of the more advanced tricks without it. My dogs all know the verbal marker yes that I have used for shaping, but I have noticed a big difference in the time it takes them to learn a trick when I use a clicker and when I don't. Of course once the dog knows the trick/behavior I no longer need the clicker.

    Reaching the Animal Mind by Karen Pyror is a fascinating book that dives into the science of training and cites several studies on how the use of a clicker actually causes the brain to respond differently than just using a verbal marker.
  3. Mr-Remington Experienced Member

    I just got into using a clicker when I got Remi. At first I never used my voice, since I read that when you say 'good' it tends to be in different tones and it can come of as good, better, and bad. (Can't remember where I read that.) But I realized I was quicker talking to him, so I would say 'good boy' and treat. BUT when I first started with the clicker I felt like my clicks were delayed and I had to teach myself to click at the right time and not miss the mark I was looking for.

    Remi will zone out when he sees a another dog, so I don't use a clicker on walks, or in class since he won't listen. If I say 'good boy' in a high pitch excited voice, or 'leave it' in a deep tone he listens. I kinda agree with you that it's more personal to use your voice. I can see how happy he gets when I talk to him.

    For far away tricks like 'Go to bed' or 'enough' or 'drop it' I use a clicker. The reason being those kind of tricks he needs to stay calm, and when I talk to him after doing something good I tend to get to excited and it sets him to hyper puppy mode and won't focus. I will talk to him if it's something that's hard for him, and he finally gets it. I get to excited and have to tell him how good he is. (Like when he learned 'go to bed' and realized I wanted him to lay down.) He got excited and came running.

    I guess I tend to use both during most trick training sessions. I don't feel it puts something between me and Remi, it's just to a tool to that helps him learn faster. The click can sometimes pin point a moment in a trick were my voice isn't fast enough.

    I don't even know if any of this made sense but I tried to explain why I use a clicker. :)
    jeanniecogan, Tâmara Vaz and Mutt like this.
  4. 648117 Honored Member

    I only use the clicker when first teaching Holly a trick. I've noticed that half the time when I "click" I also say "good" at the exact same time so the "good" ends up covering the click, especially if she finally "got it" and I'm jackpotting. I guess that gets around the problem ;)
    Although I still like to use the clicker just in case my "good" is too slow and I guess I often end up only giving a "click" when it's a nice try but not good enough for a "good!" at the same time.
  5. Mutt Experienced Member

    Because a with a click you are able to mark the behavior more precisely. Which will make it easier to teach more difficult tricks.
    The click always makes the same sound, while your voice changes (less excited/more excited/harder/softer).

    Though I also use my voice very often, but if we have just started with a complicated trick I use the clicker.
    Often with your voice you just aren't quick enough and when teaching a headmovement for instance the desired behavior may only be offered for a split second
  6. Mr-Remington Experienced Member

    Thats what I was trying to say but I rambled! :ROFLMAO: I like the way you said it better.
    jeanniecogan, Tâmara Vaz and Mutt like this.
  7. threenorns Well-Known Member

    i use the clicker when it's a complicated trick, such as leg weaves, where i have to shape it gradually or especially if it's a trick that requires some distance. for example, leg weaves - it's easier to click when his nose approaches the correct position than say "good!!!" bec then he's actually looking up at me trying to figure out what was so "good" as he gets the treat.

    something like roll over, however, clicker is overkill - totally not needed since the movement is its own click.

    i am not a fan of the clicker much myself - it requires far too much split-second timing and with dandy, i don't even get that long: it in the time it takes me to click, he's already on the other side of the room.

    dandy seems to know how to work it, however - there's been times when i can see him casting about or moving his head/butt/etc trying to elicit a click.
  8. Mutt Experienced Member

    Boef does this also.
    Whenever she is lost and doesn't know what to do next to get a treat she will make the most crazy headmovements :ROFLMAO: When my sister saw this once, she was like: what in dogs name is Boef doing???:eek::confused:
  9. Tâmara Vaz Experienced Member

    Yes, I have taught some "complicated" tricks. She knows limping and one hind leg lift. (Which trick is pivoting?)
    And maybe I get the book from Karen Pyror;) .
    jeanniecogan likes this.
  10. Tâmara Vaz Experienced Member

    This could be very useful, because sometimes I couldn't get her to calm down probably because my voice "sets her to hyper puppy mode" just like Remi:) .
  11. Tâmara Vaz Experienced Member

    I see the changes in my voice as an advantage: If it's a regular trick as sit, down a normal voice will do it. But if she finally got a hard trick a super excited voice is better... While the same sound doesn't make a difference between several training situations.
    jeanniecogan and threenorns like this.
  12. Mutt Experienced Member

    But if Laika is completing the same task several times the way you want her, chances are that your don't sound as excited as the first time, if you get what I mean. Your voice might also excite your dog because you are being so excited (which will make it harder to do tricks which require precision/calmness. :)
    jeanniecogan and Tâmara Vaz like this.
  13. Mutt Experienced Member

    Pivotting, is the rearend awarness trick (frontpaws on an object and cirkling around it with the hindlegs). ;)
  14. threenorns Well-Known Member

    i call that one "mark", lol. it was so funny to see what happened once i started working with his back end: before, if he had to go backward, there was a lot of head whipping side to side as he tried to see what was going on behind him. now, it's like his caboose has its own conductor - the back feet just start moving then he'll casually glance over his shoulder.

    sometimes it's me that doesn't have the "hind end" awareness: i was working on the reverse leg weave over at tim horton's but every time he backed up between my legs, he'd just come forward out again. this happened 3-4 times and i was "wtf!?" i said to a lady watching "he's got this down cold at home, i don't understand what's wrong?"

    "might be the butt stop behind you," she replied and sure enough: right behind me was a small container, about 2-1/2ft high, for the purpose of stubbing out cigarettes. every time he backed up between my legs, his tail would brush it and he'd come forward again.
  15. Mr-Remington Experienced Member

    I find that most dogs I've seen will get worked up when you use an excited voice. I think it's cute since they know they did something right, and you're rewarding them with verbal praise (and sometimes physical, like a pat, belly rub.) Which for dogs like Remi is just as important as a treat.

    I think you've done an amazing job with Laika without the clicker. Not everyone has to form to what others are using, as long as Laika is responding well without the clicker than keep marking a trick with your voice. :)
  16. threenorns Well-Known Member

    i find that an advantage, though, bec there has to come a point when it's part of the behaviour set - after all, you can't break out the brass band and dancing girls every time he sits on command, kwim?

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