Clicker Training? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 23 (permalink) Old 06-13-2013, 07:25 PM Thread Starter
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Clicker Training?

Clicker training is something that i am on the fence about.

I want my dog to listen to me no matter what, whether or not i have a treat.

People tell me how great clicker training is, how you can eventaully wean them off the treats and how its a great tool for obediance.
I have also heard that it should only be used for tricks because obediance is so important they really need to be trained without clicker and treats because of safety.

That being said, I have started clicker training. Loading the clicker with treats, I ask her to something she does it i click and treat. She already learned sit, lay down, up( almost!) without the clicker training. But i do have a feeling that stay and leave it will be best if there is more insentive besides my praise. (I wish my praise were enough!)

Do you guys believe in clicker training? why or why not? Are their benefits or maybe disadvantages?

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post #2 of 23 (permalink) Old 06-13-2013, 07:55 PM
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You need to study how it works or else you'll be clickering and treating for years. This book is a must to do that: on't Shoot the Dog" from Karen Pryor. I would read it before you work with this method.
The dogs I taught by clickering have been the most obedient ones and happily too.
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post #3 of 23 (permalink) Old 06-13-2013, 08:03 PM
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I love clicker training. All my Italian Greyhounds and Dobermans were trained using a clicker. As a matter of fact, I am starting this weekend to train Carly in obedience, using a clicker.

I don't know why anyone would think a dog wouldn't be "safe" if it is trained using operant conditioning, and that it is only good for tricks. All the regular things that we teach dogs (sit, down, come, etc) are really just tricks to them.

I'm not sure why everyone thinks you have to have a treat, after a dog really knows a command. Treats are for training. After my dogs know commands, I occasionally treat them, or give them praise or a toy when I ask them to do something. It's just a way to continue reinforcing their behavior.

(and my dogs DO listen to me, whether I have a treat or not)

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post #4 of 23 (permalink) Old 06-13-2013, 08:26 PM
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I love clicker training. Really helps the dog know he did something right the *instant* he does it. That being said, I only use the clicker now when shaping something new. Once he gets it, I wean him off of the clicker and move to something else. I trained a lot of his basic obedience with the clicker (i.e. sit, down, stay, watch me). He no longer needs a 'click' for those, or even a treat or anything. I do occasionally praise him, or reward him with food or play but he has those commands down.

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post #5 of 23 (permalink) Old 06-13-2013, 08:33 PM
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Originally Posted by VTGirlT View Post
Clicker training is something that i am on the fence about.

I want my dog to listen to me no matter what, whether or not i have a treat.
Of course, everybody does. But that doesn't mean that you won't have that if you use food rewards, with or without a clicker. That's probably the biggest and most enduring misconception about training with food, that you always have to have food handy or your dog won't obey, and that you'll always need a clicker on you if you clicker train or your dog won't obey.

The key word is "training". Behaviors that are trained and fully generalized do not need to be constantly rewarded for ever and ever.

There have been lots of previous clicker training threads that addressed all of your questions and more. I'll try to look some up for you later and post links here.

-Debbie-

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post #6 of 23 (permalink) Old 06-13-2013, 10:36 PM
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The food or click comes after they do what you asked, so they do perform without food. Just they may wonder why no treat that time until weaned off them.
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post #7 of 23 (permalink) Old 06-13-2013, 10:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Cassidy's Mom View Post
Of course, everybody does. But that doesn't mean that you won't have that if you use food rewards, with or without a clicker. That's probably the biggest and most enduring misconception about training with food, that you always have to have food handy or your dog won't obey, and that you'll always need a clicker on you if you clicker train or your dog won't obey.

The key word is "training". Behaviors that are trained and fully generalized do not need to be constantly rewarded for ever and ever.


There have been lots of previous clicker training threads that addressed all of your questions and more. I'll try to look some up for you later and post links here.
This!!!
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post #8 of 23 (permalink) Old 06-13-2013, 11:59 PM
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Read everything you can by Karen Pryor. "Don't Shoot the Dog" is a great text, as wolfy dog said.

Clicker training when done properly should NOT make a dog dependent on treats. Quite the opposite, in fact! The clicker itself should also only be used in the early stages of training a new behavior (basically, until the dog understands what you're asking for).

You do need to know what you're doing, though. Clicker training is not complicated, but it is easy to mess up, if that makes any sense. The biggest problems I see people having are 1)bad timing (reinforcing the wrong behavior; this also applies to any training though); 2)not understanding how to phase out the clicker and food rewards and so the dog becomes dependent on them.

If you understand what you're doing, though, I think clicker training is by far the most effective method for training reliable basic obedience. This includes things like recall--I often get compliments on the great recalls my dogs have (even being called off of things like chasing deer or rabbits, or going after other dogs), and I just trained it with a clicker and positive reinforcement.

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Hector-2 y/o GSD (mix?) rescue
Scooter-12 y/o ACD/Border Collie mix
Bandit-8 y/o ACD
Wooby-14 y/o ACD
Abutiu "Abi"-ACD puppy and hopeful future SAR dog!
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post #9 of 23 (permalink) Old 06-14-2013, 10:58 AM
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By the way, you can train any animal that has some form of brain with a clicker. I clicker trained my rats. One actually took the clicker to her nest as a possible treat dispenser.
Check out this video:
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post #10 of 23 (permalink) Old 06-14-2013, 01:02 PM Thread Starter
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I looked up that book on amazon and will be buying it Wolfy Dog and RowdyDogs! It had good reviews and perhaps it will help me master the art of clicker training!

And Wolfy Dog that is an amazing video!! Good job to you and your mouse!

Thanks for the replies guys!

Mom of: "Zelda"
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