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Thread: Clicker versus Voice for Marker Training Reply to Thread
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Topic Review (Newest First)
08-20-2014 05:19 PM
Squeetie I'm pretty new to training, but I'll throw in my 2 cents for fun. Like most responses so far, I use the clicker when Red is learning a new behavior or when I want to improve his performance with an already known behavior. I switch to a voice marker when he behavior is more understood (and when I just don't have the dang clicker with me!). I also use voice markers in situations when the clicker gets him too excited (for us, this is when we're working on not crying when other dogs are around and when we're working on calming exercises - this way, he doesn't pop out of his calm state because of the CLICK, and instead gets rewarded after a softer/less jarring/calmer verbal marker).
08-20-2014 04:44 PM
JanaeUlva
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mister C View Post
. . . Gib_laut's comment above gives me pause on using emotion in the marker. I don't want the dog to ignore the low-key verbal markers. Maybe the solution is an even-keeled verbal marker and a variable other reward (pets, play, etc) for particularly good performances?

My dogs don't ignore or misunderstand a voice marker said with a different inflection. Just like they don't ignore a command in a different tone, unless I've conditioned them to think of a certain tone as "optional" which I wouldn't do
08-20-2014 04:41 PM
lauren43
Clicker versus Voice for Marker Training

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mister C View Post
Thanks ApselBear.



So what do you charge the clicker with when training students? Maybe you shouldn't answer that question.

With people you don't even need the reward because you can explain what the clicker means. However it will have more value to the students if they are rewarded.

I like the clicker because of accuracy and precision. The dogs are never going to hear a clicker unless it's in my hand (or I guess they could in training) but what I'm trying to say is with a clicker they will not be indirectly marked in daily life. Now I know this is generally not an issue.

And if you have a dog that understands cues quickly and has no problem figuring out the behavior you are marking then I have no issue with a verbal marker. If you were trying to get a dog to stick out it's tongue on cue it maybe something you'd need a clicker for (depending on how fast you are and how fast your dog sticks out his tongue)...
08-20-2014 04:20 PM
Mister C
Quote:
Originally Posted by ApselBear View Post
I started out with a clicker when he was a pup, but I realized I was getting similar results with voice markers. I couldn't tell you where the clicker is now.

I will say the clicker was just a tad more precise on shaping, but not enough to make any real difference for me.

Maybe I should go looking for the clicker and use it with my students, they ignore my verbal cues pretty often... this could be fun.

ETA that I don't currently intend on any competition, trialing, etc.
Thanks ApselBear.

So what do you charge the clicker with when training students? Maybe you shouldn't answer that question.
08-20-2014 04:18 PM
Mister C
Quote:
Originally Posted by wolfy dog View Post
I use the clicker and treats to teach behavior and later, once it is what I want it to be and ingrained, more casual with "good" or play.
Many use the clicker too long and dogs (and owners too) become dependent on it; not performing unless they know you have the clicker and treats with you.
Interesting. Thanks for your perspective wolfy dog. Do you think dogs become also become dependent upon voiced markers? I suppose so.

I am just starting to fade treats for Sit! command. At 5 months, Linus is pretty consistent and does it with all three Ds (distance, duration and distraction) combined. I am still using treats for Down!, Place! and stays but will start fading that too in time.

I guess I should fade the marker at some point but not sure when--seems too early just yet at months old.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JanaeUlva View Post
I'm not giving all kinds of different inflections when I verbally mark. But yes, sometimes emotions (positive emotions) do slip in. However, I just haven't seen an issue with that. Just like my commands, for the most part, are spoken with the same intensity and volume. But sometimes it helps to use a calmer command, a sterner command, a happier command. Depending on the state of mind of the dog, is one example I can think of. When I first start working my male I have to keep everything low-key or he goes into overdrive. He still understands the command and the marker word even if they sound different sometimes. Anyhow, I like it this way more than the clicker (and yes I have used a clicker and changed up to voice markers). Again, just my experience.
On my solo, early morning walk I use very softly spoken commands and markers. My idea is to increase his focus on me while the neighborhood is quiet. It seems to be working as he was showing some of his best OB work during those walks. But maybe it was the lack of distractions.

On the flip side, when Linus finally caught his first frisbee I threw a huge party for him. The "Yes!" was really amped for that performance and he got a bunch of pets and happy play time too.

Gib_laut's comment above gives me pause on using emotion in the marker. I don't want the dog to ignore the low-key verbal markers. Maybe the solution is an even-keeled verbal marker and a variable other reward (pets, play, etc) for particularly good performances?
08-20-2014 04:16 PM
ApselBear I started out with a clicker when he was a pup, but I realized I was getting similar results with voice markers. I couldn't tell you where the clicker is now.

I will say the clicker was just a tad more precise on shaping, but not enough to make any real difference for me.

Maybe I should go looking for the clicker and use it with my students, they ignore my verbal cues pretty often... this could be fun.

ETA that I don't currently intend on any competition, trialing, etc.
08-20-2014 04:03 PM
Mister C
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gib_laut View Post
If you are marking for correct behavior why does it need to be variable? You realize the point of marker training is the ability to capture the behavior right?

If you think about it, if you have a high pitched mark followed by a regular mark it takes the dog longer to learn then a consistent mark. If my dog does good I'm going to praise him. I'm not going to suddenly go into a high pitched mark.

If you only act super happy during the high pitched marks then the regular marks slowly loses its value.
That makes a lot of sense, particularly the last sentence. Thanks Gib_laut.

I guess I have been managing people too long where a variable reward can produce better results more quickly. Or maybe I am fooling myself on that one too. LOL.
08-20-2014 04:01 PM
JanaeUlva I'm not giving all kinds of different inflections when I verbally mark. But yes, sometimes emotions (positive emotions) do slip in. However, I just haven't seen an issue with that. Just like my commands, for the most part, are spoken with the same intensity and volume. But sometimes it helps to use a calmer command, a sterner command, a happier command. Depending on the state of mind of the dog, is one example I can think of. When I first start working my male I have to keep everything low-key or he goes into overdrive. He still understands the command and the marker word even if they sound different sometimes. Anyhow, I like it this way more than the clicker (and yes I have used a clicker and changed up to voice markers). Again, just my experience.
08-20-2014 03:50 PM
wolfy dog I use the clicker and treats to teach behavior and later, once it is what I want it to be and ingrained, more casual with "good" or play.
Many use the clicker too long and dogs (and owners too) become dependent on it; not performing unless they know you have the clicker and treats with you.
08-20-2014 03:32 PM
Gib_laut
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mister C View Post
Interesting.

My assumption was that the variability of my voice is an advantage as it permits me to give stronger/weaker feedback for great/ok performance. Your post seems to imply the opposite.

I'm one of those dogs that need to know why before I understand something completely. So, why is the perfect consistency of a clicker better than the feedback-variability of my voice?

Please understand that I am not being snarky or disrespectful in my question. I truly want to learn and understand.

Marker training is the foundation upon which so much is built so understanding this concept thoroughly is important to me.
If you are marking for correct behavior why does it need to be variable? You realize the point of marker training is the ability to capture the behavior right?

If you think about it, if you have a high pitched mark followed by a regular mark it takes the dog longer to learn then a consistent mark. If my dog does good I'm going to praise him. I'm not going to suddenly go into a high pitched mark.

If you only act super happy during the high pitched marks then the regular marks slowly loses its value.
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