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Clicker training question

Discussion in 'Dog Training and Behaviour' started by Sorrels Mum, Mar 30, 2011.


  1. Sorrels Mum

    Sorrels Mum PetForums Junior

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    I had a go with the new clicker today but Sorrel doesn't like it at all. She isn't a nervous puppy normally but seems very startled by the click noise and wouldn't take the treat.

    I'm obviously doing something wrong so I put it at the back of the cupboard.

    I know it's early days but should I try again, getting her used to the click noise from further away for instance, or do some dogs just not take to it?
     
  2. Rolosmum

    Rolosmum PetForums VIP

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    Some clickers are much louder than others, the danger of getting too quieter one is that with any other sounds at all it is hard to hear the clicker.

    Can you start of by giving her a treat to get her calm and then trying with the clicker and giving her a treat, very few dogs are afraid of the actual clicker but there are a few that are.

    You can also mark a behaviour using a sound or word, if you can be completely consistent in the way you say the word or sound and only use it for the replacement of the clicker click. iyswim.
     
  3. newfiesmum

    newfiesmum Banned

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    I did see one on Its Me or the Dog who was frightened of the clicker. Perhaps you could try a word instead. Or a hand gesture? I doubt you will get anywhere if she is afraid of the noise.
     
  4. Rottiefan

    Rottiefan PetForums VIP

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    Try dampening the sound by clicking in your pocket or putting some blue tak over the dimple on the clicker. Make sure you're using high-value food (cheese, chicken, hot dog etc.,) to make it irresistable.
     
  5. shibby

    shibby PetForums VIP

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    You could try clicking a retractable ball point pen? It will be quieter and just as easy to carry around. Or a metal lid off a jar that makes a click noise, you might find one on a pasta sauce jar or something. Failing that, a word works just as well :)
     
  6. leashedForLife

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    i have yet to have any animal not get accustomed & learn it means "good-stuff is ahead" -
    cats can be much more sound-sensitive than dogs, so i often start with a clicking-pen first, & switch to a
    box-clicker at a distance after they already have the idea: click of pen = good things soon,
    or click = right answer & reward.

    i agree with RottieFan, a wad of stickum [like artists-tack putty] on the dimple which secures the metal tab,
    or a cotton-ball inside the clicker-box, or masking-tape wrapped around the box & covering part of the hole,
    will all reduce the volume & make it less startling - but i'd start with the dog ===> over there about 12-ft or so,
    & toss the goodie to the dog - something small but stinky & visible.
    U can also put it in a pocket, behind one's back, against one's body, etc, in addition to the mufflers.

    as the dog gets comfy with the Click!, the dog will close the distance on her or his own -
    i would still NOT ever click the box-clicker near an animal's ear or head, tho!
    even if they do not 'mind' it, the sound is bad for ears at close-distance, so put it behind Ur back for close work.
     
  7. RobD-BCactive

    RobD-BCactive PetForums VIP

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    I saw a plausible suggestion to dampen sound with electrical insulating tape to, which sounds like it should work well, so long as you don't seize up the clicker :)
     
  8. Twiggy

    Twiggy PetForums VIP

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    Use "yes" said in a sharp excited manner instead. It works equally as well, but try and say it in the same excited tone every time.
     
  9. RobD-BCactive

    RobD-BCactive PetForums VIP

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    This definitely works. But I really had case during a training session, where today where the "yes" marker became troublesome and interfering, and I wanted that "unique precise sound" of the clicker.

    In past I have experiemented with making the click myself with tongue in mouth, as messing with a clicker box does seem like overhead; but somehow that clicker does seem the most effective tool for really teaching something, or revising and sharpening up.
     
  10. Twiggy

    Twiggy PetForums VIP

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    This definitely works. But I really had case during a training session, where today where the "yes" marker became troublesome and interfering, and I wanted that "unique precise sound" of the clicker.

    Explain...?
     
  11. RobD-BCactive

    RobD-BCactive PetForums VIP

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    I really can't that easily! I know it's maddening, but I had my Clicker indoors and I decided to go inside and fetch it. It was to do with, when the dog looks for rewards and the need to encourage him, when he was on the right track.

    The Click signifies absolutely that he's done it, and has earnt the reward. I found I did not really want "yes" to be reacted to in same way, so it was confusing him.

    Good enough? I just hunted down the clicker, which I 'd mislaid and got on with it, rather than made notes. I just was thinking to myself, "I see exactly what they mean now by 'the unique soiund'",.
     
  12. Sorrels Mum

    Sorrels Mum PetForums Junior

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    Thanks everyone for your advice. Will give it another go and try muffling the sound.
     
  13. Twiggy

    Twiggy PetForums VIP

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    Thanks for the explanation and yes the clicker does make a unique sound.

    I tend not to use them for competition dogs because they are banned at obedience shows in the UK (for obvious reasons).
     
  14. RobD-BCactive

    RobD-BCactive PetForums VIP

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    Really, but the clicker is meant for training new things... so if you have the behaviour smartly on cue, then you work without the clicker. I would presume, luring with a food treat would not result in top marks in compeiton either; hopefully stimulus via shock collars is also banned!! :)

    Does anyone feel that clicker trained dogs, rrely on the clicker later to respond to cues?
     
  15. tripod

    tripod PetForums VIP

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    Nope, I use the clicker to teach new behaviours, proof establish behaviours, for free shaping (sometimes have no idea when behaviour will turn up!), for revision and for differential/variable rewarding of established behaviours.

    I think its also worth mentioning that my markers are charged with all sorts of rewards from kibble, treats, ear scratches, tummy rubs, off leash time, op to greet others, getting leash on, opening the door, sniffing and so on.

    I use a verbal marker also and my dog certainly has an equal 'understanding' of both.

    For beginner trainers (basic obedience) I tend to teach them to use a verbal marker (YESSSS!) rather than a clicker. I find they have enough trouble holding the leash, treats, watching the dog and so on without giving them something else to hold on to!

    Back to your original question, I think, just like any training methodology it needs to be used correctly.
    But even if there is a reliance its not as bad as there being a dependency on lures :nono: (not saying either is good, just one is a lesser of two evils!).
     
  16. RobD-BCactive

    RobD-BCactive PetForums VIP

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    Me neither, I've tended to use it for new behaviour, for revision or indeed proofing. The crispness of the click, compared to "Yesssss!" is what helps my dog to understand what I'm rewarding.

    So for instance if I click, when the ball's offered within reach of hand, or bonus to hand directly, it's proving clearer than my past attempts by shaping & capturing the "bring it to me" behaviour, which I think has been viewed differently by the dog, causing later difference of expectations and a "trainers block". The verbal markers can be confused with encouragment, when the dog is "warm" rather than cold, where a clear "no reward" marker can be issued to signal error.
     
  17. tripod

    tripod PetForums VIP

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    There is work to support the claim that using a clicker as a bridge is more effective and efficient. (I will dig up the link or original if you like?)

    Consistency of tone being a major contributor to its success.

    But that's also why I like to use the YESSSSS sound as its a sound that may be consistent coming from a person, particularly the sssssss sound.
     
  18. RobD-BCactive

    RobD-BCactive PetForums VIP

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    I'm not disagreeing with you, that's actually exactly what I did with the pup last summer. Just, I am starting to bump into the "limitations" of that approach, and see what the Clicker proponents meant by "unique sound" and preciseness, simple seeming words but takes some "blockage" to really get the advantage of that maddeningly minimalist click.

    I kind of do wish that warm voice, words and tone, would be best, but that apparently cold click, a single binary digit (bit) of info does have the advantage of simplicity and no ambiguity!
     
  19. Twiggy

    Twiggy PetForums VIP

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    The reason that clickers are not used at dogs shows is because most people clicker train to some extent these days and you can't have handlers clicking away warming their dogs up outside the ring when dogs are working, it wouldn't be fair.
    I believe at Crufts this year one of the big dog food manufacturers were having a clicker session at their stand just beyond the ring when the obedience championships were taking place and the judge had to ask them to stop.
    You said yourself a clicker makes a very distinctive sound!!
     
  20. Twiggy

    Twiggy PetForums VIP

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    But that's also why I like to use the YESSSSS sound as its a sound that may be consistent coming from a person, particularly the sssssss sound.

    Totally agree and another reason why its easier to mark with 'Yes' instead of a clicker when we're training our dogs is simply because on many exercises you don't have a hand free for the clicker in any case. ie dumbbell in one, toy in the other.
     
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