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Old 12-18-2012, 03:34 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default bashed for clicker training

I was calling a few training programs in the area to decide which I will use when the pup attends formal classes. I explained that I had been using the clicker at home and was teaching him the basics along with a few fun tricks. We've been getting pretty good results with it and I found it to be easier than a marker word (mostly because I'm a talker and found it hard to just use one word to mark at the right time). The guy I talked to said that no real, serious trainers use clickers and I should put it in a drawer and forget about it. What if my pup ran into the street and I didn't have the clicker, he'd be hit by a car...

I found this off putting to say the least and won't be calling him back, but from my understanding, using a clicker won't make the commands weaker. My dog will still come without the clicker (first, because I would only click when he's coming, but also because it's only used when I'm training, not every time I say a command). Is there any real correlation between using a clicker and having a dog that doesn't listen as well once he's grown? Is there any noticeable difference in the obedience of dogs trained by a clicker and other positive methods?

(My pups only 3 months old, so there's lots of learning going on, but not corrections or real formal obedience training. )
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Old 12-18-2012, 03:43 PM   #2 (permalink)
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From what he said to you, you know more about what a clicker is for and how it's used :-)
Good thing you won't be calling him back!

I have (and still do) use a clicker for years (along with not using one and using a marker word). "Serious" trainers use marker words and clickers are no different. I actually prefer my students use one when they start training because marker words can be difficult for them to use properly.

Sounds like you are on the right track :-)
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Old 12-18-2012, 04:15 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jessac View Post
I was calling a few training programs in the area to decide which I will use when the pup attends formal classes. I explained that I had been using the clicker at home and was teaching him the basics along with a few fun tricks. We've been getting pretty good results with it and I found it to be easier than a marker word (mostly because I'm a talker and found it hard to just use one word to mark at the right time). The guy I talked to said that no real, serious trainers use clickers and I should put it in a drawer and forget about it. What if my pup ran into the street and I didn't have the clicker, he'd be hit by a car...

I found this off putting to say the least and won't be calling him back, but from my understanding, using a clicker won't make the commands weaker. My dog will still come without the clicker (first, because I would only click when he's coming, but also because it's only used when I'm training, not every time I say a command). Is there any real correlation between using a clicker and having a dog that doesn't listen as well once he's grown? Is there any noticeable difference in the obedience of dogs trained by a clicker and other positive methods?

(My pups only 3 months old, so there's lots of learning going on, but not corrections or real formal obedience training. )
I teach clicker training but it took several years before I was comfortable using it in my classes since it requires a complete turn around in thinking. My own dogs that I have clicker trained from day 1 have been the most obedient dogs I have ever had because there is no force involved and they are happy to listen because it is rewarding and not to avoid punishment. The trick is to wean them off the clicker as soon as possible so you have to do it right and go to a trainer who knows how it works vs the ones that bash it and just let you know that they haven't kept up with the newest insights.
The APDT is the site to go to and find a trainer in your area.
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Old 12-18-2012, 05:02 PM   #4 (permalink)
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The trainer probably got that Ed Frawley owner of Leerburg kennels. In one of his training videos he states that a clicker you will not have with you always, but you will your voice.
He uses markers for his training, but does not insult the clicker method. I have had to use both methods with different dogs. Some respond to clicker training real well, but I do prefer the marker method with a word instead.
I have used clickers to train other handlers especially children. If I have a young child learning how to handle a dog, and they are not sure when to use the marker word. I will stand by with the clicker. Once the child hears the click they then give the marker. It's a bit tricky to get the timing down, but it can and is being done. I don't think any trainer should put down any technique because its not what they use. It's a proven method and it does work, but its not what I like prefer to use. The goal with clicker training is not to get them dependent on the clicker sound forever, but to allow them to recognize the sound with a command and eventually work away from the clicker by replacing it with marker words and rewards.


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Old 12-18-2012, 05:07 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I won't always have my clicker, but neither will I have my leash or electric remote.
These are tools we use to train the dog.

There are ineffective trainers using all of them. There are fewer (at least in my area) clicker/marker trainers, so it may be harder to find a knowledgeable and capable trainer using the clicker.
But good training is good training, no matter what is in the hand
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Old 12-18-2012, 05:13 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Bashed for clicker training that is crazy. I used the clicker with Kaylee when she was 3 months up to 5 months old because we no longer needed it. I used it for specific things on our walks that I trained her for. It came in very handy when we worked on cars, observation, and marking her in busy areas. My opinion on clickers... There is nothing wrong with clicker training but you have to be careful to how, when, and why you click etc. Some people click at the wrong time for the wrong thing and reward the wrong behavior. So I took my time and worked slowly not for the dog but for myself to make sure I was marking it right. I am not a professional trainer I consider myself to be the average pet owner.

My experience when I was hunting for a trainer for Kaylee I ran into some interesting things. I felt the people who immediately ran off all the things they do not use and methods they were against I decided not to go with. Many of them gave me a lecture about what they do not do instead of listening to my wants, needs, and questions. I want to know what you do and how you do it. Not a lecture on what you will not use or what I should not be using. You can not tell exactly what has been done until you meet me in person with my dog. Verbally history helps but seeing is believing, lol. I was looking for some one who was into using positive reinforcement training but was not against using other equipment or training methods if it is needed or the owner wants to use. I found a trainer who listened to me and what style of training I have done with my dog. I found someone whose methods used are nearly the same as my own.

When I started the classes we fit right in and there was no confusion with the training. The best part about it the classes were small and about 2 hours long so each of us had help and pointers for our individual dogs after the first hour of group session lessons.

What makes sense to me some trainers have specific methods and style they use which is fine. How I approach it is are they on the same path as me and is this specific trainer's methods are what I want use with my dog. If the answer is no then I keep searching until I find the one. I will contact the trainers and ask to attend a class by myself to observe and then talk to them in person to get a real feel of what they are about. So I wish you luck on finding the right trainer for you!

Last edited by KayleeGSD; 12-18-2012 at 05:15 PM. Reason: typos
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Old 12-18-2012, 05:26 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I got ripped for using a clicker by one of our really old-school instructors. In her opinion a marking word was the same thing and the bonus of that is that it is always on you. I used a clicker for a while, but then just got tired of always having to remember it, and when you don't remember it you're still resorting to praise and marking words anyways.

It works great...when you remember to use it, and after my boy was about 6 months old, it got really annoying trying to remember it.
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Old 12-18-2012, 05:30 PM   #8 (permalink)
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People all use different methods of training...that guy was a jerk (for censorship purposes) I wonder how much business he loses because of his attitude
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Old 12-18-2012, 05:32 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I cross off trainers on my list if they bash other training methods. Too close-minded for me. Clicker training is great for introducing new things. Once they get the concept I usually switch to a marker word to proof.
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Old 12-18-2012, 05:45 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Personally, I hate the clicker for training a dog ... LOVED it with my parrots! I found my voice much more productive with dogs.

Echo knows when I'm getting the clicker out we're having a "fun" session and gets really happy!

Would I bash someone for using it? Or preferring it?

ABSOLUTELY NOT .... that it not a professional trainer - real pros NEVER bash other methods ...

You're not missing out on anything at all for not calling him back.

On another note ... congrats on using it already with your 3 month old pup ... sounds like you are already off to a great start!
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