Clicker Training - Heres How!

Valuable training articles posted by Victoria and other Positively members.

Moderators: emmabeth, BoardHost

User avatar
Pawzk9
Posts: 222
Joined: Wed Apr 08, 2009 10:18 pm
Location: Oklahoma City
Contact:

Post by Pawzk9 » Wed Sep 30, 2009 12:57 pm

emmabeth wrote: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.

I probably wouldn't actually consider what you are talking about as "negative punishment." For one thing, punishment makes behavior less likely to occur. So I use it for behaviors I really would like to end - "look, if you jump on the person, she leaves and won't give you cookies" "if you pull on the leash, we go further away from that tree you want to sniff".

It may be a minor extinction burst ("but . . . that always worked before!"). Brilliant Canadian trainer Sue Ailsby calls it the "Hey, Stupid!" moment. "Hey, stupid - did you not see me do that? Here, let me make it bigger for you."
Sandy in OK
www.positivelycanine.com

User avatar
Pawzk9
Posts: 222
Joined: Wed Apr 08, 2009 10:18 pm
Location: Oklahoma City
Contact:

Post by Pawzk9 » Thu Oct 01, 2009 11:39 am

theardentdog wrote: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:

I agree that there's a difference between how I talk about it with my students or people who don't know operant conditioning and how I talk about it with others who know the lingo. I consider it to be sort of a short-hand. If I say "positive reinforcement" or "negative punishment " to someone else who has studied it, I expect them to know what I am talking about without a long explanation. (Surprising how often even people who understand the terms tend not to be on the same page though - witness the exchange between Emmabeth and me about negative punishment. Not everything falls neatly into a category, but overall, I still find it useful.)

To my students, I say "Dogs tend to do things that have been rewarded" and it's the same theory, in simpler terms. I like that I CAN use the shorthand on certain forums (including this one) and figure if people don't know the terms, the worst that is going to happen is they will skim over my post. The best that will happen is they'll do an internet search for that term and learn something new today.

I do use a clicker to teach many things. I find it is more salient, precise and consistent than the spoken word. For the reasons why, I'd suggest reading Karen Pryor's most recent book "Reaching the Animal Mind" which contains lots of theory as to why this may be so.

For really simple stuff, I can click or not click. But for really complex behaviors and free shaping, I can't imagine using anything BUT a clicker with the same degree of success.
Sandy in OK
www.positivelycanine.com

User avatar
Mattie
Posts: 5872
Joined: Tue Jan 09, 2007 5:21 am

Post by Mattie » Thu Oct 01, 2009 12:05 pm

Pawzk9 wrote:
I agree that there's a difference between how I talk about it with my students or people who don't know operant conditioning and how I talk about it with others who know the lingo. I consider it to be sort of a short-hand. If I say "positive reinforcement" or "negative punishment " to someone else who has studied it, I expect them to know what I am talking about without a long explanation. (Surprising how often even people who understand the terms tend not to be on the same page though - witness the exchange between Emmabeth and me about negative punishment. Not everything falls neatly into a category, but overall, I still find it useful.)

I was taught never to assume that people understand what you are talking about so always check, this came home to me one day when someone was going to take her Stage 1 riding and stablemanagement exam, one of the things they had to do was mount a horse properly. You would think that someone who was at the stage of taking the exam would know how to do this, wrong, this lady hadn't a clue. I was testing her for her exam the following week and if I hadn't done it properly this wouldn't have been picked up. In the middle of this test exam, I had to teach her how too mount a horse. This should never have happened but it did because nobody thought to check her knowledge when she first came on the course. I didn't work at this place, I was there just for the test.
[url=http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v312/Nethertumbleweed/PIXIE.jpg][img]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v312/Nethertumbleweed/th_PIXIE.jpg[/img][/url]

theardentdog
Posts: 4
Joined: Sun Sep 27, 2009 6:05 pm
Location: Merrimack, NH
Contact:

Post by theardentdog » Thu Oct 01, 2009 1:11 pm

I was also taught not to assume anything, but we all get lazy once in a while. I'll try not to in the future.

Pawz: I believe that how you think about a phrase, word or technique has a strong influence on how you put it into practice. "Unpleasant" has a rather awful connotation to me, while the words "not pleasant" are less so.

I will have check out that Karen Pryor book. I have Don't Shoot the Dog which I find very useful to help me with my more difficult clients and teaching situations.

User avatar
Mattie
Posts: 5872
Joined: Tue Jan 09, 2007 5:21 am

Post by Mattie » Thu Oct 01, 2009 3:08 pm

theardentdog wrote:I was also taught not to assume anything, but we all get lazy once in a while. I'll try not to in the future.
I am lazy more than once in a while :lol:

One instructor used to say that everyone who teaches should learn something new every 2 years so that they can remember what it is like to be a beginner, it is something that I will forget at times but try not to.
[url=http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v312/Nethertumbleweed/PIXIE.jpg][img]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v312/Nethertumbleweed/th_PIXIE.jpg[/img][/url]

User avatar
Pawzk9
Posts: 222
Joined: Wed Apr 08, 2009 10:18 pm
Location: Oklahoma City
Contact:

Post by Pawzk9 » Thu Oct 01, 2009 4:19 pm

Mattie wrote:
theardentdog wrote:I was also taught not to assume anything, but we all get lazy once in a while. I'll try not to in the future.
I am lazy more than once in a while :lol:

One instructor used to say that everyone who teaches should learn something new every 2 years so that they can remember what it is like to be a beginner, it is something that I will forget at times but try not to.
Which is the main reason I started doing Musical Freestyle with my dog. Talk about something different (and for me, intimidating - I am NO dancer). Imagine my surprise when I discovered how much I like it - and titled at our first competition - an international event!
Sandy in OK
www.positivelycanine.com

bunny
Posts: 14
Joined: Sun Dec 06, 2009 9:28 pm

Jumping on the table

Post by bunny » Mon Dec 07, 2009 9:05 am

My dog has a tendency to jump up on the table while I am eating. He has been trained in the clicker method, but I was using a spray bottle to get him to stop jumping up. I am changing that technique after guidance from these forums. Now when he jumps up to lick at my plate, I give him the command "down" and when his bottom touches the ground, he gets a click and a treat.

Here's the problem- I feel like instead of training him to sit on the floor while I am eating, I am training him that if he jumps up and sits down, he gets a treat. Does this make sense? I am trying to do a "stay," but he can't do that for extended periods of time, and so after a few minutes, he is back to the jumping up. I am also trying to distract him with a tennis ball, other toys, but he loves to eat even more than he loves toys, so that only lasts a minute or so as well.

What's the best method here? Am I using the clicker incorrectly in this situation?

emmabeth
Posts: 8894
Joined: Tue Oct 17, 2006 9:24 pm
Location: West Midlands
Contact:

Post by emmabeth » Mon Dec 07, 2009 9:14 am

You are using the clicker correctly, as in he does as you ask you click and reward...

But yes its quite likely he will learn that he jumps up... gets told down.. downs and then gets a treat..

So - practice that command (btw i wouldnt use 'down' for getting off somewhere/someone.. id use off, that way then 'down' means lie down.. because sometimes you want them to 'down'... whilst ON something, like a vets table..) elsewhere... when you arent actually eating..

Practice all the things you could possibly want him to do when you are eating away from the 'meal at a table' situation... then at the table but when you arent really eating.. so that you proof these behaviours.

I think for actually eating a meal I would have him wait behind a babygate so that he doesnt get to practice jumping up, being told to get off, then being rewarded for getting off..

When you have broken the habit of jumping up (by putting him elsewhere) AND he has learned really well some other behaviour (such as lying on a particular mat and waiting for a certain length of time) then you can consider allowing him back into the same room as you whilst you are eating.

So yes the clicker can help you sort out these new behaviours that you can then use when you are eating... but also yes i think you are right that clicking him for getting off in this instance isnt going to be seen like that by him, hes going to think the routine is 'get up... get off.. get rewarded'.

In other situations where you require him to get off something it should be fine (and. not all dogs are this smart hehehe!)

User avatar
Noobs
Posts: 2536
Joined: Fri May 23, 2008 3:43 pm
Location: New York, NY
Contact:

Post by Noobs » Mon Dec 07, 2009 9:17 am

I would suggest don't train him while you're eating. Teach him down using the clicker, and then teach him "stay" using the clicker with no distractions. Start with just one second then c/t. Then after a few reps, 2 seconds, c/t. Then after a few more reps, 3 seconds, c/t.

Then take a step back. Give him the stay command, wait 1 second, c/t. Make sure you treat by stepping back toward him to give him the treat, not by calling him to you to get the treat. Then 2 seconds, then 3 seconds.

Every time you increase distance, go back to one second. Also give him a hand gesture, like the palm-out "stop", so once you're ready to try while you're eating, you don't have to give him a verbal command with a mouthful of food. :lol:

Another option is management - put him in another room so he's not tempted to mess with you while you're eating. Use a babygate or something.

I know that others will let you know how to train/manage him while you're eating; what I described you should do without distractions or temptations, to set him up for success.

Leigha
Posts: 1211
Joined: Sun Aug 09, 2009 8:02 am

Post by Leigha » Mon Dec 07, 2009 11:30 am

I don't know if this helps, but Bruiser is a big time counter surfer when I'm in the kitchen trying to cook, so I kept a bowl of treats out for me to use, and when he was sitting down nicely I'd just randomly pop a treat over to him. At first I was practically throwing one at him every minute, but then he figured out if he was either sitting or laying nicely he'd get a treat. If he was up on the counter he got ignored and got nothing. If he put his paws on the counter, I just ignored him. As soon as he got off on his own I praised like crazy and fed his face with treats.

It did wonders for his counter surfing--now he generally lays in front of the kitchen baby gate and just watches me. But he's started guarding that area, so I have to figure out what to do about that one now :)

chifan_32
Posts: 10
Joined: Mon Mar 22, 2010 2:01 pm

Re: Clicker Training - Heres How!

Post by chifan_32 » Sun May 02, 2010 10:53 am

im just starting out with a chihuahua ! she needs some adjusting , i think ! anyway any tips on how to get the ball rolling with her on training with clicker ! she has a stubborn head sometimes !

User avatar
forkin14
Posts: 514
Joined: Fri Sep 11, 2009 6:21 pm
Location: Danville, VA / Foxboro, MA
Contact:

Re: Clicker Training - Heres How!

Post by forkin14 » Thu Jun 10, 2010 11:28 am

For a long time I used treats along with the clicker because of how "foody" Cadence is. We just got a toy that she goes absolutely NUTS for, she loves it! So to save money, I was hoping to use both treats and this toy as her reward. Should I still use a clicker when using the toy? We have two clickers that even to me make two completely different sounds, I'm sure Cadence can hear the difference as well, so should I use the different one for the toy? We've never used this one as it was just to be a backup if we lost the first one, but once I realized it made a different sound we've just never used it.

pam
Posts: 11
Joined: Thu Jul 29, 2010 3:56 am

Re: Clicker Training - Heres How!

Post by pam » Mon Aug 02, 2010 7:59 am

I liked the video in Emmabeth's post and really liked it.
Is the trainer using a special clicker, I couldn't see her click and she seemed to be able to use both hands.
One of the problems I found when I tried clicker training was handling a clicker, lead, food treats, poo bags etc on a walk. The other was I was the only one trying it, the rest of the family didn't want to even try it.
I have read Karen Pryors clicker book, and it was useful but to be honest some of the jargon put me off, Click for Joy was a good book too.
It definitely works wonders on some dogs.

emmabeth
Posts: 8894
Joined: Tue Oct 17, 2006 9:24 pm
Location: West Midlands
Contact:

Re: Clicker Training - Heres How!

Post by emmabeth » Mon Aug 02, 2010 9:45 pm

I havent watched that clip for a bit but... either shes got a clicker shes using with her foot, or someone else is clicking for her - Both methods can work well depending on whether you have a friend who knows exactly what you want clicking, or are good with your feet.

I have a karen pryor clicker here somewhere that can be clicked any way up, with a foot, with the palm of your hand... etc etc, because there is a big sticky outty button on it rather than having to fit your finger in a fiddly little hole (which in my case, is usually filled up wtih fluff and dog treats out of my pocket and thus jammed and wont click anyway!).

http://www.canineconcepts.co.uk/item--T ... -kpclicker

Ta da... :D It is really good, if it lands on the floor right way up, step on it. If it lands on the floor wrong way up, stepping on it will STILL make it click (though, I have not tested this with deep shagpile carpet... that MIGHT thwart it... if anyone still has that!)... it is very good!
West Midlands based 1-2-1 Training & Behaviour Canine Consultant

Christie
Posts: 112
Joined: Mon Aug 02, 2010 12:28 pm

Re: Clicker Training - Heres How!

Post by Christie » Tue Aug 03, 2010 10:45 am

I remember when I fist saw the Clicker on 1 of those 30 minute enfold Commercials that I was watching real late 1 night because I couldn't sleep We didn't own a computer at the time & very few people knew what a clicker was at the time I have been hooked on iy every since now I got 4 clickers hanging in my living room next to the french doors. :D

Post Reply