Clicker training - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-25-2014, 11:23 AM Thread Starter
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Clicker training

Lucie and are about to start puppy prek classes and they use clicker training. I'm really looking for opinions of GSD owners who have used this and their thoughtsClicker training-imageuploadedbypg-free1395760994.853643.jpg

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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-25-2014, 01:48 PM
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Clicker training has been an amazing method for me. I started training many years ago with prongs and the upswing of motivation I got when I started using clicker training and just the general flexibility of the method is what really hooked me.

Probably the most important things to make sure the method actually works as you want is to work very hard on your timing, consistency, and parameter work. I'm sure your class will coach you a lot on timing and consistency so I won't go too much into that.

Parameter work I'm mentioning mostly for more complex behaviors like maybe "hide your head". Because our dogs rarely have an idea what we want when we first start training a behavior, it's unlikely that they'll just perform the behavior we want to start with. But with clicker training, it's possible to catch closer and closer approximations of the behavior we want. So for a hide behavior, the dog gets a treat for touching a pillow. Then it only gets a treat for touching the bottom of the pillow, then a treat only for putting enough pressure to move the pillow slightly, then treats for getting the nose under the pillow, and so on. Plus if the dog gets off track for whatever reason, it's easy to take a step back and get them caught up.

Probably the most critical thing is phasing out the treats. If they get treats for every single thing for an excessively long period of time after they know a behavior, they can become a bit dependent on the treats to do a behavior. Once mine know a behavior (they can do it with 100% accuracy anytime I have a treat) I'll slowly start transitioning into asking them without a treat in my hand and when they do the behavior, they get a treat from somewhere they could not see, like a pocket. When that is going well, they only get a treat for every third or fifth thing they do.

It's definitely a process, but it has built by far the most solid behaviors I've ever seen in my dogs. And it doesn't mean there aren't consequences. I mentioned in another thread this morning that when I was asking my pup to do a down for his squeaky ball. When he didn't, the ball went up on a high shelf, and he didn't get it back until I gave him an opportunity to work for me later.

Eventually, all my dogs work almost solely for just life rewards. Every now and then, I'll do a tune up session with some treats, but that's about it. There's a lot of work that goes into it, but it's a very rewarding method. Good luck!
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-25-2014, 01:55 PM
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I love clicker/marker training, personally. I've been using it for years with perfect results.

Danielle, owner of...
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-25-2014, 02:16 PM
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Love it. Love the precision. Love to see the wheels turning and the light bulb come on (mixing metaphors) Love the snappy responses I get.

Abby - the wonder labby ~ Huxley- aka General Disarray ~ Nyx - my "Wild Child"
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-25-2014, 02:41 PM
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I LOVE clicker training!

Cause it's something new WE have to learn, it makes us much better trainers. And since it's all positive, fun and short lessons... we can start with really young pups.


Miss Osin Blue Wildhaus NA NAJ NF

"Nothing new can come into your life unless you are grateful for what you already have. ~ "--- Michael Bernhard, gratitude
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-26-2014, 08:08 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks everyone. We "charged" the clicker yesterday at orientation and she responded very well and we've been working on it at home and she is doing well. Tomorrow is out first class I just hope the other puppies aren't a big distraction but even with our kids running around she hears her name and looks right at me.

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