Clicker Training - Heres How!

Valuable training articles posted by Victoria and other Positively members.

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Re: Clicker Training - Heres How!

Post by ankoi » Thu Sep 23, 2010 5:03 am

I'm having a little problem with the clickertraining.. I taught Tami to spin and he knew it really well, at least I thought so.. I'm teaching him to play dead, which he knows already remotely well. The problme is, that he has forgotten how to spin! Everytime I ask him to spin, he plays dead. I used the shaping method to teach him to spin and with the playing dead I used luring at first (to get him to fall on his back) and then shaping (to get him to whine/howl at the same time). Do I have to start over with the spinning or just ignore him playing dead and wait for him to spin (no matter how long it takes!!)?

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Re: Clicker Training - Heres How!

Post by Christie » Thu Sep 23, 2010 3:35 pm

since i am having my own issue on clicker training my advice to you is if there is a clicker training instructor in you area ask him or her.

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Re: Clicker Training - Heres How!

Post by Noobs » Thu Sep 23, 2010 3:54 pm

Go back a step in the spin training, don't do play dead yet until you've proofed the spin. He might be getting confused. It's also possible that your sessions are too long and he's getting tired. I went a little too long this morning and after Murphy performed a figure 8 several times around my legs, he went under my legs behind me and then back up front through my legs again instead of out the side.

So just take a couple of steps back.

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Re: Clicker Training - Heres How!

Post by Blansten » Thu Sep 30, 2010 3:00 pm

Moe and I have started on clicker training yesterday. When he got to the point where he would look to me for a treat after the click I started with his normal routine. Does it make sense that I started with Sit, it's the command he knows best and I thought it might help reinforce the Click/Treat combo plus help me get my timing right. We went from that to Down which he does with a lure but has not connected the word to the action yet, this is really puzzling me because it has not thus far taken him that long (2 weeks) to connect a word to an action. He even got Leave It in 4 days (he takes some time to get things but once he's got it he doesn't forget).

I am also hoping this can help reinforce his house training, we are still having accidents (my fault). I have been using verbal praise with this but I am not sure it has all clicked for him yet.

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Re: Clicker Training - Heres How!

Post by chay » Tue Dec 21, 2010 6:58 pm

so gypsy has taken to clicker training like...well, a dog to clicker training :lol:

i might be overthinking it but just wanted to clarify WHEN i should link up the request (i.e. the word "sit") and when she actually delivers / click / treat

i use the "shaping" method (food luring is too exciting for her, she goes nuts and completely loses focus) - she knows i am wanting something from her, so walks around excitedly / spins in circles / lays on her back for tummy scratches etc

how often should i repeat "sit" before i wait for her to do it? i.e. i know she isnt going to link it up straight away, but should i keep asking her to "sit" or is that teaching her that it is ok to sit on the third ask, instead of the first?

hope that makes sense...just as a side note, as food is way too exciting for her as a reward she gets huge emphatic GOOD GIRL!'s and hugs and tummy/butt scratches instead which she just loves :)

thanks in advance!

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Re: Clicker Training - Heres How!

Post by emmabeth » Wed Dec 29, 2010 12:49 am

You shouldnt need to repeat a cue at all... as yes, if you do then you 'poison' it and it becomes 'sitsitsit' that means 'sit' or the third/forth etc repetition, and not the first.

Action first, get the action rock solid. Then add the cue AS it happens to start with and then gradually move the cue ahead of the action until the word really is a cue for the action.
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Re: Clicker Training - Heres How!

Post by chay » Wed Jan 12, 2011 11:16 pm

emmabeth wrote:You shouldnt need to repeat a cue at all... as yes, if you do then you 'poison' it and it becomes 'sitsitsit' that means 'sit' or the third/forth etc repetition, and not the first.

Action first, get the action rock solid. Then add the cue AS it happens to start with and then gradually move the cue ahead of the action until the word really is a cue for the action.
i thought as much - thankyou emmabeth!

we have got "sit" (just one!) down-pat in the lounge room, backyard, hallway AND the threshold of the carpet/tiles into the kitchen...actually sitting IN the kitchen when asked though is our next challenge :lol: any time i even open my mouth to speak, she acts like i have bascially said "why don't we have THREE DINNERS TONIGHT??" and dances around, checks the floor / under the dishwasher / her bowl (just in case she missed more food being put in there...) - i mean why else would we be standing in the kitchen unless there was food involved, right? :P

thanks again for the advice!

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Re: Clicker Training - Heres How!

Post by LisaCNH » Thu Jan 20, 2011 4:56 pm

This is great advice, thank you. I am just starting clicker training with my dog. As I posted on another thread, I have the book "Clicking with your Dog" by Peggy Tillman and a Karen Pryor Clicker book, which I got from our library.

My Germ Shep/Lab mix dog is highly intelligent; but is taking longer than our poodle to understand the command "touch" with her nose, and clicking/rewarding. I am taking my time, and setting training sessions really short when I see her frustrated. I reward her with lots of praise in addition to the click/treat when she gets it. She is working it out, and I think in a day or two, she will have it down for good. Then we will work on a different behavior like "shake" with her paw.


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Re: Clicker Training - Heres How!

Post by cher61 » Tue Apr 19, 2011 9:14 am

I wonder if this will work on my dog's yelping? I have a clicker and he knows what it is. I have trained him to sit and leave it with the clicker. But I have just got it a week ago and haven't tried it on the yelping. Wonder how I should go about using it for yelping? Should I ignore him (I usually do) and when he quits, click, then treat? I've got to do something to stop the yelping. It use to be just when my husband or I left and came home and company arriving, but now it is sometimes for no reason, it seems. When we talk to each other after a time of silence (hubby playing game on comp. and me watching TV) he will yelp.
It gets on my husbands nerves so bad that he has threatened to give our dog away or take him to a shelter. We are the only ones he has known for 3 yrs. He was 7 weeks old when we got him, so he knows no other Mom and Dad.
Please give me some suggestions on the clicker for the yelping.

I think I have this situation figured out. Thanks to those who have made suggestion.

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Re: Clicker Training - Heres How!

Post by burn870 » Tue Jun 21, 2011 11:47 am

are you supposed to eventually stop using treats? Once the dog learns the command do you still click and treat? where do you go from there?

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Re: Clicker Training - Heres How!

Post by minkee » Tue Jun 21, 2011 2:16 pm

I answered a similar question in a different thread yesterday, and I'm going to just copy paste that answer here 'cos I'm lazy!

You will always have to reward your dog. Rewards can be treats but they can also be toys, getting to go sniff, chase a ball, etc etc. The only hard and fast rule is that YOUR dog has to find it rewarding! It doesn't mean you'll always have to carry food around with you, as your pup grows you can use "life rewards" over treats, but with a learning puppy a little piece of food is the kind of immediate feedback that really aids learning.

To begin with you will want to reward EVERYTHING your pup gets right. This reinforces all her good choices and makes the behaviour more likely to reoccur. This applies to things you ask for (eg. sit!) and for things she does on her own (eg. chilling out on her bed). You can reduce the amount of rewards you hand out as you raise the criteria. For example, to begin with, as your pup is only a wee thing, you will be rewarding EVERY time she puts her bum on the floor when you've asked her to sit. Once she's gotten the hang of this 100% you can do a few different things:

1. Use "differential reinforcement". This means that you give the best behaviour the best rewards. So when she really attends to your 'sit' command and does it straight away she gets a good reward. When she does an average sit she gets some average praise!

2. Raise the criteria. You'll still be rewarding her, but you'll be asking more of her for that reward. The main components of this are the 3 d's: Duration, Distance, Distraction. So now wait till she has been sat for a few seconds before rewarding. Then a few seconds more. Then a few seconds more again. Next get her to sit at a distance away from you and reward THAT behaviour. It's much more tricky than just sitting! Finally throw in a few distractions. Raise the criteria one at a time, don't rush it. It's a life's work! What easilyconfused suggested, chaining a few commands in a row, is raising the criteria too.

Finally, there's a big difference between the REWARD and the LURE. I try and fade the lure by the 3rd attempt or so, because we want the dog to follow the command and directions given by us, not just be blindly chasing after the food! There's a nice video on that part here:

So you will ALWAYS have to be rewarding, and quite right too! Why should the dog not get any nice things in life? You won't have to reward EVERY action, however, and the reward won't always be food treats. Life rewards are much more satisfying.

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Re: Clicker Training - Heres How!

Post by lakesidefornow » Wed Jun 22, 2011 10:34 pm

I have been thinking about using the clicker training method. A little background on my dog. He is a rescued Beagle about 18 months old. I rescued him last September and it took almost 6 weeks to get him to even sniff my hand. My vet is sure he has been abused (he even has bb gun pellets under his skin) and is also showing some signs of fear aggression. He has come a LONG way since September,,,he is currently curled up right next to me! I have another dog - a collie, hound mix. She is pretty well trained and knows the "rules and expectations".

Huck, the Beagle, knows two basic commands - sit and come.
Here is our problem - He barks like crazy at anyone who comes to the house. I understand he is a hound dog and they are barkers and I am very tolerant of dogs barking. My dad lives next door and if he comes over, the dog goes nuts! He is terrified of my dad (a man who will rescue any animal that needs a home!) and will often "charge" at him barking, but not ever come within 6 feet of him. The whole time my dad is at the house, he barks, he never calms down. If my dad is working in the yard, he will bark the whole time my dad is here whether he (Huck) is indoors or outdoors. He only stops barking if we go to the other side of the house where he can't see us. He sees my dad several times a day. I don't even mind if he barks when he sees my dad coming or when he pulls in the driveway, but after he is at the house, I would like the barking to stop.

Huck loves treats and I believe likes being petted and told he is a good boy even more!
I know the basics of using the clicker and have been reading the posts in this forum. Any specific advise for using it to try to get the barking under control? Or, if I should try a different method, a suggestion would be appreciated.


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Re: Clicker Training - Heres How!

Post by superj » Wed Oct 05, 2011 11:47 am

In trying to clicker train a dog who does not like it/growls/tries to walk between me and another animal when I (not other people, just me) pet other dogs, when would I click? Also, my reward would be affection because I don't want to use food around other dogs but wouldn't this perpetuate the problem since he wants me to show only him affection around other animals? He doesn't care for toys (and if he did, I wouldn't want to risk him being territorial with them around other dogs) so I'm not sure what another reward would be. Obviously, I need help on how to practice this. Thank you for any advice.

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Re: Clicker Training - Heres How!

Post by Suzette » Wed Oct 05, 2011 12:01 pm

My guess is that he is resource guarding you when he steps between you and another animal that you're trying to pet. I will be interested to hear what the trainers and behaviorists have to say on this. In the past, one or two of my generally friendly dogs still didn't like me petting other dogs in their presence, so I simply didn't do it. I honestly didn't feel the need to 'train this out' of my dogs as petting other people's dogs wasn't a necessity and they were otherwise fine in the presence of the other dog. :D
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Re: Clicker Training - Heres How!

Post by emmabeth » Thu Oct 06, 2011 11:08 pm

Superj - I think you need to take a step back, quite a big one.

First of all it is in no way wrong to listen to what your dog is saying, take it into account and heed it for many reasons.

He does not like you petting other dogs - why, he fears something to do with this set up and whilst we can only guess what those reasons might be, it could be he fears losing you as a resource, he could fear other dogs getting 'his' rewards/fuss etc, he could fear the proximity to other dogs when you are not paying attention to him....

Whatever it is, it is indicative of a lack of confidence and a degree of anxiety - you are unlikely to find a reward in that situation because he is too stressed, so don't clicker train there.

Clicker train at home, boost his confidence in you, improve his self control as well. Then do those same things in other locations including parks and on the street.

During that time, do NOT fuss other dogs, if other dogs approach, walk away, because the more he does this the more he reinforces his belief that he needs to do it, the better he gets at it.

Eventually when he is happier, more controlled, less worried, you can ask him to do something that rules out the possibility of him having a go at another dog, so you could ask him to sit, or do a send away, or just wait, whilst you say hi to another dog.

But personally, as long as my dog isnt over reacting when another dog comes near me, I am quite happy NOT to fuss other peoples dogs - I have my own dogs for that!
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