Clicker Training - Heres How!

Valuable training articles posted by Victoria and other Positively members.

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Post by emmabeth » Mon Feb 09, 2009 11:30 am

Yep - click him for doing what you DO want him to do.

So for heel work, you could use a target stick (for a small dog, palm of hand for a taller dog) and click for targetting that... which is of course placed where you want your dogs head to be as you walk.

For 'not jumping up'.. click your dog for sitting, or keeping his paws on the floor, whatever you want.

The idea is that you focus on what you DO want.. rather than allowing him to do the wrong thing and then having to 'correct' that. Its much easier to get something right if someone teaches you what they want from you, than it is to guess by a process of elimination, working your way through all the things they DONT want you to do!

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clicker.

Post by tarabee16 » Tue Feb 24, 2009 6:50 pm

Wow. This is awesome. I'm so glad you posted this. I am new to this site. I love 'It's me or the dog" & I have a puppy named Bella that will be 6 months old tomorrow. We just got her in January & she's doing pretty well, but I just bought a clicker yesterday & I'm hoping it works even better. She already sits ALMOST every time I tell her to & she stands when I have a treat for her. So I think it's going pretty well, but anyway thanks for posting this about the clicker! Helps a ton!! :D
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Re: Clicker Training - Heres How!

Post by Pawzk9 » Wed Apr 08, 2009 10:44 pm

[quote="emmabeth"]Clicker Training.

The other methods is called shaping, this is where you don’t lure at all, you wait for a dog to offer the behaviour naturally, or at least the first part of it.

Again using the sit youd just wait around until your dog sat and hopefully click at the same time as he sits, and then reward it.

Progress in the same was as for luring, but wait for the dog to offer the behaviour.

Now, some dogs are great at this, and it really does stretch their minds. Other dogs are not so great and if you use this method first they may switch off.

****
Just joined the forum. Overall a nice clear explanation of clicker training. I wouldn't really consider capturing a sit "shaping", though I have sometimes shaped downs by first clicking a dog for looking at the floor, lowering shoulders, etc. To teach the dog about a clicker, I like to play a couple of easy games (and don't bother to charge the clicker.) Game number one is the name game. Say dog's name, the instant he looks toward you, C/T. I can use this as a basis for many skills the dog will need. The second game I teach is targeting. Using back of fingers or a target stick, I put it in front of their face and let their natural curiosity impell them to explore it, which I can C/T. Targeting I use as a basis for go-outs, retrieves, recalls, etc. and it can be as effective as a lure, without running into the problem of needing to show the dog food to get a behavior. This looks like a pretty fun place to share training tips, and I look forward to it!
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Re: how to incorporate.....

Post by Pawzk9 » Wed Apr 08, 2009 11:02 pm

manda.sue wrote:Any suggestions on how to incorporate clicker training with the heel command? In other words, I'd like my dog to walk with me on our walks (next to my left hip) instead of walking me. Also, how could I use it to train him not to jump on people when he greets them?
***
I play "follow the leader" off leash in a controlled, non-interesting environment (hallways are GREAT!) I just walk, when the dog catches up with me, I click and treat, then start walking again. Pretty soon you won't be able to lose that dog, and then I start clicking for the dog being closer to the exact position I want. I also don't go with my dog if he's pulling.

To teach him not to jump on people, give him an incompatible behavior (sit is a good one). He can't sit and jump at the same time. I also play a game where the dog is on leash, and if he jumps up on me, I turn and leave. Since he wants me to approach, not leave, he quickly figures out how to keep his feet on the floor. However, I do NOT use a clicker for this. The click "ends the behavior" for most dogs. So, if I click the dog he might then jump on me, and I still have to pay him because the clicker promised a treat. Better to be able to leave if he jumps up, and try again. Of course, you need to practice this game with a number of people so he knows it isn't just one person's rule. When I treat for this, I am careful to deliver the treat from under the dog's chin, so he's not thinking about jumping up to get it.
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Post by manda.sue » Thu Apr 09, 2009 8:45 am

That is awesome Pawz! Thank you so much! I tried the heeling in the house like you suggested and it works great! (Especially since my house is designed in an O shape. Bjorn's been excellent with changing directions and keeping up.

As for the jumping, I have posted a sign outside of my door. It may sound silly, but this is what it says:

DOG TRAINING IN PROGRESS! PLEASE READ BEFORE ENTERING!

Please knock for entry. Allow me to invite you in and NOT my dog.
Disregard and ignore my dog for the first ten minutes of your visit, please.
If my dog jumps on you, please exit so we may retry. Please have patience.
Do not acknowledge or pet my dog until all fours are on the ground. If he jumps at this point, turn and ignore him until he is calm again and on all fours.
If my dog climbs on you while you sit on the furniture, stand and turn and ignore once again. Praise when he is again on all fours on the floor.

If you do not think you can adhere to these house rules, please let me know at the door, and we can meet outside. Thank you.



Again, it may sound silly, but let me know what you all think!

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Re: Clicker Training - Heres How!

Post by Pawzk9 » Thu Apr 09, 2009 11:07 am

[quote="emmabeth"]Clicker Training.

The clever posh sciencey term for clicker training is ‘operant conditioning’ – which sounds a bit weird.
\\

One more quick note on an over-all very informative quote. Actually operant conditioning and clicker training are NOT the same thing. Operant conditioning is a scientific description of how and why learning takes place. Clicker trainers take advantage of that knowledge to use certain parts of OC to help dogs (and other animals, and humans) learn more effectively. But positive punishment is just as much described in operant conditioning as positive reinforcement. We make a consicious choice to try to use one part, but not another
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Post by Pawzk9 » Thu Apr 09, 2009 11:12 am

manda.sue wrote: As for the jumping, I have posted a sign outside of my door. It may sound silly, but this is what it says:

DOG TRAINING IN PROGRESS! PLEASE READ BEFORE ENTERING!

Please knock for entry. Allow me to invite you in and NOT my dog.
Disregard and ignore my dog for the first ten minutes of your visit, please.
If my dog jumps on you, please exit so we may retry. Please have patience.
Do not acknowledge or pet my dog until all fours are on the ground. If he jumps at this point, turn and ignore him until he is calm again and on all fours.
If my dog climbs on you while you sit on the furniture, stand and turn and ignore once again. Praise when he is again on all fours on the floor.

If you do not think you can adhere to these house rules, please let me know at the door, and we can meet outside. Thank you.

***
I think that's a GREAT proactive approach! If your dog has any tendency to slip out doors, you may want him on leash if you're going to ask people to leave and come in again, so they don't accidently let the dog out. Personally, when working on manners with guests, I like having the dog on leash until the initial excitement wears off. It allows me to ask for good behavior - like sit or down. Or go to your bed. You can even teach your dog (with a clicker) that the door bell is a cue to "got to your bed".


Again, it may sound silly, but let me know what you all think!
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Clicker training

Post by theardentdog » Sun Sep 27, 2009 6:30 pm

Hello everyone. I just discovered this website and had to join.
But I also was reading the first posting and needed to point out something that was mentioned. Consequences of doing or not doing a behavior was either marked or not marked by the clicker respectively. The click and treat was described as accurately as a pleasant consequence while not receiving a click was unpleasant. I'm not sure that that is accurate. Walking away or an "eh eh" (removal of company or verbal correction) would be an unpleasant consequence. A non response is a lack of encouragment for an "unwanted" behavior. If a non click was unpleasant, than a dog learning to lay down remained seated instead than a non click might cause him to "think" that sitting is unpleasant too. Instead a non click is just a further encouragement to find the action that does recieve the click ( and the treat). All positive nothing unpleasant. :D

To be honest I don't clicker train, I find the sound unpleasant (and the technique a bit redundant) My clients are frequently people who have tried clicker classes and didn't have the timing or coordination necessary to be successful. I do teach operant conditioning but my marker is an enthusiastic "Good Job", usually to the owner! :wink:

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Post by emmabeth » Sun Sep 27, 2009 6:44 pm

Mm..... technically not clicking IF the dog expects there to be a click, is a 'negative punishment'... so I would say that it is 'not pleasant', in the same way that expecting anything and not getting it is not pleasant..

But its much more useful than a positive punishment, because a negative punishment means the dog seeks to try harder to earn the reward - a positive punishment and the dog concentrates on avoiding the punishment!

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Post by Pawzk9 » Sun Sep 27, 2009 7:37 pm

emmabeth wrote:Mm..... technically not clicking IF the dog expects there to be a click, is a 'negative punishment'... so I would say that it is 'not pleasant', in the same way that expecting anything and not getting it is not pleasant..

But its much more useful than a positive punishment, because a negative punishment means the dog seeks to try harder to earn the reward - a positive punishment and the dog concentrates on avoiding the punishment!
It CAN be. IMO, that's not the best way to use it. When I first start, I'll split my expectations very fine so the dog gets lots of rapid fire reinforcement. If I don't, the dog is likely to become frustrated or confused, and yes, "not clicking" becomes negative punishment. As they become more likely to do the behavior, I may gradually shift my rate of reinforcement so they have to work longer or harder to get the click. But I want them to keep trying. If they give up and quit trying, then it would be negative punishment (or extinction) and that's not what I want. Punishment makes behavior LESS likely, not more.
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Re: Clicker training

Post by Mattie » Mon Sep 28, 2009 3:48 am

theardentdog wrote: To be honest I don't clicker train, I find the sound unpleasant (and the technique a bit redundant) My clients are frequently people who have tried clicker classes and didn't have the timing or coordination necessary to be successful. I do teach operant conditioning but my marker is an enthusiastic "Good Job", usually to the owner! :wink:

You don't need a clicker to clicker train, having a marker, even "Good Job" is the same as clicker training. A clicker is just a marker to tell the dog he has done what you want him to, just as a word is.

Good timing can be learnt by dog owners, most are slow at first but improve as they get the hang of it. The dogs benefit by getting rewards, this still encourages them even though they don't know why they are getting it, it does help the dog concentrate on the owner.

What do you mean by operant conditioning? I have seen different versions of this.
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Post by emmabeth » Mon Sep 28, 2009 11:00 am

Pawz, I find it really depends on the dog - ive got one who can take a bit of negative punishment and he uses his frustration to push himself on and get more inventive.

Obviously if we are starting out with a very specific criteria then it doesnt happen because I start out by making it super easy for him to get right, but sometimes we just sit down and see what he can offer me, which he likes!

Another dog, and ive got several like this, would absolutely HATE to get anything wrong and so obviously I dont let them, and with those dogs I would never just sit down and ask them to 'throw shapes' at me to see whats cool and whats not.

When I first start with any dog I do as you describe because I would rather assume a dog needs it spelling out crystal clear than risk the potential fall out from punishment - the dog I do do this with is nearly 10 and I pretty much know him inside out and back to front.

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Post by theardentdog » Mon Sep 28, 2009 8:55 pm

Mattie:
I realize that a "Good Job" is also a marker (hence my mentioning it). I guess what I mean is that I don't clicker train using devices (gadgets), though if you're not using a clicker its not exactly "clicker" training. I find with my clients that if they focus more on what they say, when and how they say it, while focusing on the dog they do improve their timing. Add a clicker, focusing on body posture, and a leash to that and then they start to lose it. Most of my training is done off leash and with small tasty tidbits with play as a reward. (toys for the non food motivated.)

I consider my training positive operant conditioning (management of the environment and rewards for desired behavior to cause the exctinction of undesired behavior) with bounderies, typically a verbal "eh eh/no" or mild physical correction ( ie. sometimes a quick 180 turn to reverse direction on a flat collar for lunging at someone on leash) promptly followed by forgiveness and or reward for a desired behavior. I'm an avid believer that dogs don't read minds as well as they do bodies so we need to let them know if something is wanted or if it isn't. Does that explain my use of the phrase operant conditioning? How else have you see operant conditioning used? Unless you were refering to more aggressive methods?

Emmabeth: Thank you for that distinction. In my mind not receiving something you expect or want is more of a not pleasant rather than an unpleasant. Some of my clients dogs (and even one of my rhodesians) would get up and leave then ignore me for a while if they had to guess what I wanted from them. They just don't do "not pleasant". :lol: In those cases luring and shaping are definately more advantagous to all.

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Post by Mattie » Tue Sep 29, 2009 3:54 am

theardentdog, clicker training is only a small part of positive training and no matter what you are teaching, dog, horse, children etc, the principles of training are the same but adapted to the species. Clicker training suits some but not all, that is both owners and dogs. With my very frightened, brain damaged dog who had been beaten for coming back, a clicker worked well, it taught him it was safe to come to me when he was loose I was then able to expand the clicker to a whistle. Within 7 days he was 90% reliable in recall, 10 days he was 99% reliable. He has taught my other dogs that when the whistle goes good things happen. It took me 4 long years to find the key to Joe's recall and to take the fear away, the clicker done it in less than 24 hours.

For the normal dog owner things need to be kept simple, dog trainers don't train dogs they train the owners and have to talk in a language they can understand. If I get confused with words like operant conditioning etc. think how confusing it is to the normal dog owner. To experienced people they understand right away, but when you are not a trainer but just an owner who has had lots of dogs I find these words often confusing, especially as people use them differently for different things. many people join here but don't post, they trawl through the posts looking for advice, if all they see is the correct words with no idea of what they mean, they we are not helping them.

I am a riding instructor and some of the wording I have used for beginners and novice riders has to be heard to believe, once told one woman who was having problems sitting upright that her problem was her boobs were too big, she never had that problem again, it worked :lol: , they understood what I was saying. As they got more experienced they started to learn the proper words for things, gradually and naturally.
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Post by theardentdog » Wed Sep 30, 2009 6:37 am

Yes how you tell an owner what needs to happen, how they need to do it and why is critical. You can't be to simplistic or they'l think you talking down to them but you do have to be clear. I once had a gentleman client that told me during our first class that if I could explain things to him so that he not only knew what needed to happen but why then he and his family would do it. Turns out he's an engineer and never takes anything for granted. I incorporate that into all training sessions, class or one on ones.
I am less careful talking to other professional trainers since I assume that they will understand and have been there. Though we all know about making assumptions. :wink:

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