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Old 12-18-2012, 05:58 PM   #11 (permalink)
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I've always used a clicker with all my dogs with great results. The puppy class I chose used clicker training as well, but when I changed venues the new trainer didn't believe in them. I told her I was going to use it rather then a marker word and got a scornful look in return, she asked me to demonstrate so I did a quick "sit" and clicked. "Well, he's quite conditioned to it" and walked away.

Needless to say of ALL the dogs in that class guess who was the snappiest at obedience and who was the one dog out of the eight they chose 95% of the time to demonstrate....DELGADO! Yes I admit I was a little smug
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Old 12-18-2012, 06:04 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shade View Post
Needless to say of ALL the dogs in that class guess who was the snappiest at obedience and who was the one dog out of the eight they chose 95% of the time to demonstrate....DELGADO! Yes I admit I was a little smug
That trainer the OP spoke with is an idiot and I would not go to them. Whether you chose to use a clicker or not, they DO work and good trainers would not be so dismissive.

If you find a better trainer you will be in a similar situation as Shade, they will allow to use the clicker and probably be able to fine tune your use, and you and you dog will be the class Superstars :-)
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Old 12-18-2012, 06:47 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Great job Shade - you deserve to be smug!!! Good one!
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Old 12-18-2012, 06:54 PM   #14 (permalink)
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The trainer was decent enough but I just found her attitude off-putting when she didn't agree with you. It was a "my way or the highway" attitude which I don't respond well to, but it was a six week class and I used it to sharpen his skills and be open to learning new ones.

I don't think we'll ever find a trainer that we agree with 100% and in a group class they have to try and cater to many different dogs and owners but I would hope they would have more then one skill in their pocket or otherwise they'll either be lost or the owners will.
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Old 12-19-2012, 05:35 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Yeah, the guy just put me off so I came to vent on here instead of educating him on how a clicker is really used. I kinda felt like I was in the principals office getting yelled at, but hadn't done anything wrong. Everyone is entitled to their methods and opinion of course, but I felt it was unnecessary to get so negative about it (esp if its working).

As for training, I do use a marker (good boy) but my pitch varies, I laugh while saying it (he's young, sometimes the stuff he does is hilarious), sometimes I'm all "good boy" then "excellent" you get the idea. So for me, the clicker was easier just so I didn't have to also train myself to stop chattering. We only use it when he's learning, so I do just use my voice when I ask him to sit before going outside, before dinner, etc, and I think he gets that when we're training it's different than when we're just asking him to be polite.

Glad to hear you guys have had success with it. I never actually met a clicker trained dog (or really a well trained dog for that matter) so I really had no idea if it worked. It seems to be working, of course, but we've only been at it a short time, so I figured I'd ask on here about long term success.
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Old 12-19-2012, 07:51 PM   #16 (permalink)
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jessac, just a word of caution from my trainer, which never really occurred to me: everyone and their mothers use "good boy", IE: dog jumps up and all happy to see person? the uneducated will normally say "awhhh good boyyy" (I know my mother does) what does this teach the dog? you guessed it. So she advises "YES" which almost always sounds the same no matter your pitch, and people are not so quick to yell YES instead of "goooood doggggg" My marker word is "YES" although I do find myself saying much too often "YES, GOOD BOY" or "YES, ATTA BOY". every day i need to remind myself not to do that...

I usually like to use the clicker to reinforce behavior rather than teach, mainly since I have terrible click timing during normal obedience but I can apply it very well for impulse/wait games.
I wonder if he gets more out of it a clicker when used to reinforce, rather than taught? Would imagine, "hey I know this... *click* i knew i knew this"
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Old 12-19-2012, 08:47 PM   #17 (permalink)
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You make a really good point. I do try and say good boys for when he actually is being good. I actually ignore him when he's jumping and crazy excited so he doesn't get the wrong idea, but my hubs is a softie and can't resist him. I'll pay more ATTN and see if he uses 'good boy' in that scenario (and others). I did hear of using yes, I just found the click to be easier because I didn't have to remember to say 'yes' because it was so not natural to say (which is preciesly you're point, eh?). I'm a first time puppy owner and still learning the best way to train the pup. I'm sure it will evolve as I learn more, start him in puppy class (after the chaos of the holidays) and get better and communicating with my dog. Thanks for the advice, I'm always happy to draw from others experience.

I think it depends on what you are teaching also. Sit, down, etc we taught using lures/verbal praise initially before we got the clicker, so I don't know if he really was taught with the clicker as opposed to reinforced. But for commands like shake (paw) and touch (his nose to my hand) he seemed to learn the verbal cues quickly with the clicker. Sometimes he would try both because the hand signals are similar and he wasn't sure what I was asking, but the click told him which one.

Now if there was a magical training tool to keep him from eating rocks, we-d be in business. (Yes, we're working on leave it. It works for kibble, toys, treats, butt
those rocks and poos outside are just too tasty I guess?!)

Last edited by jessac; 12-19-2012 at 08:53 PM. Reason: edit response
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Old 12-19-2012, 09:07 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Chiming in as another huge fan of clicker training, in case you weren't reassured enough yet. I think the clicker is actually a lot easier than a marker word for most newbies to the method. What I notice is that the clicker has a steeper learning curve initially, but many novice handlers who use a marker word don't actually use it as consistently as they think they are. Of course that is a huge generalization and I'm sure some people are the other way.

As far the idea that your pup isn't going to listen to you if you don't have the clicker, that seems to be one of the biggest myths out there among those who like to bash clicker training. The clicker is a training tool so the dog knows exactly what you want him to do as you're teaching him; once he gets it, you phase it out.

Personally, since I started clicker training, I reached a new level of obedience and training with my dogs. I have some difficult ones too, and I've seriously gotten a level of responsiveness from them that I would have thought impossible before. I've also used it to bring some very reactive and fearful dogs out of their shells--one of them I struggled with for literally years, and within 6 months of clicker training he was like a different dog. I sometimes feel like a broken record because I recommend it for the vast majority of problems people see in their pets, but the simple fact is that I've used it on a variety of dogs with those problems and had wonderful results that I never was able to achieve with other methods.

I mean it isn't a miracle that's going to make even the most reactive dog into a great family dog or whatever, but I think it is the most effective way to bring out the best in a dog. And btw, just to address another thing that trainer said...I know plenty of serious trainers who use clickers, including people in working situations like herding and SAR.
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Old 12-19-2012, 09:21 PM   #19 (permalink)
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One of the first SchH clubs I went to...everyone was using clickers. I was impressed that they were into positive training methods. That lasted about 2 months and then everyone started going back to their old ways. I think they were on board with ME's methods(he was just getting going as 'the trainer'/flavor of the month) but clickers and some exercises aren't always in sync. Especially blind search exercises! So the ecollars were brought out and training resumed....
I like the clicker and it seems once a dog is trained on one, you can always go back and the dog doesn't miss a beat(no refresher course necessary).
For reactive dogs or handlers that are getting anxious or frustrated, a clicker is best because there is no emotion resonating with a verbal marker.
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Old 12-19-2012, 09:35 PM   #20 (permalink)
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I agree that it's not practical for all exercises with a working dog. It's hard to use a clicker when your dog is on the other side of a flock of sheep too. But yeah, laying a foundation with a clicker isn't a bad thing for any work I'm familiar with.
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