Originally Posted by Airman1stclass
I don't have a release word but I sometimes say yes or good. Im trying to do clicker training. So when training him im not sure if I should only click when he does what I ask or also give him praise. I don't want to confuse him which I probably am. And unfortunately I have only been training him in the living room. But that is why I have started walking around trying to get him to do automatic sits. Another thing is he sits so slowly. Not sure if there's anything I can do about that or not. I will stop with the verbal cues and start using only hand cues. I'll find those on YouTube or something. Thanks for all tje advice.
If you're already using yes as your verbal marker, I'd use good as your "that's it, but keep doing it" word, so he's not confused, especially if the marker ends the behavior. It would be the same with the clicker. Not everyone uses a marker that way, but many do, so figure out what makes sense to you and stick with it.
It's still a good idea to train some sort of release word that's separate from your marker, even if it's just a "all done" cue to let him know that a training session is over. But for me, there are times when I want them to wait until released (in the car, at a doorway, before I throw a ball, while I'm setting the food bowl on the floor, etc.), and they're not getting a treat, it's a real life reward - access to something they value. A marker ALWAYS means a reward is coming, and usually that's a food or toy reward, so this just tells them they're free to go do what they want.
Many people don't also praise when using the clicker since the clicker is the sound that tells them they're doing it right and a reward will follow, but I personally tend to praise a lot too. Keep in mind that you're going to start phasing out the click/treat once a behavior is learned and generalized, so the praise can continue without actually having to keep rewarding them.
Definitely stop only training in the living room! Pick a different room every day and work on everything there. When I taught the automatic sit, I'd have the puppy walk next to me around the house or outside (you can use a wall or a fence to keep him lined up properly) with a treat lure, then I'd move the treat up in front of her nose to lure her into a sit, then mark and reward. Once she'd do that, I added the verbal cue right before the lure, then I stopped luring and used the verbal cue only, and then finally I'd just stop and wait for her to sit before marking and rewarding.
Don't get too worried about hand signals, especially if he's already obeying verbal cues. It's just that it's usually easier to start there since dogs are used to tuning out our excess verbiage since most of it has no relevance to them, and they're masters at studying body language. It's much easier to get them to follow a hand signal and then associate the word that they don't know yet with the hand signal that they already know, but there's no need to go backwards with your training. And as far as hand signals go, if you've lured sits and downs, you already have a hand signal.
I use the same motion, but without a treat in the hand, and gradually fade the motion so it's more subtle. For example, a down might start with a treat in front of the puppy's nose and brought all the way to the floor, but eventually I can simply point to the floor with one finger because I've faded the prompt from a more dramatic movement to something smaller.