Can I clicker train if I haven't used a clicker before? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 10-04-2010, 08:49 PM Thread Starter
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Can I clicker train if I haven't used a clicker before?

Hi, I looked around in the training thread and didn't see this addressed, so I thought I would ask. Dakota has never been clicker trained. Would I be able to clicker train her to do tricks? Or would this just confuse her since she's never learned anything with a clicker? She knows sit, down, stay, heel etc. so obviously I wouldn't use a clicker now for those behaviors. I just wanted to teach her some cool tricks and since I'll be clicker training Jackie, wanted to know if I could teach Dakota the tricks with a clicker. Thanks!

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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 10-04-2010, 08:52 PM
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I started clicker training when Stosh was about 4 mos and Uschi was 7 mos. They loved it! It was great to get Uschi's attention, she had gotten bored with other stuff. I used it for teaching tricks and it worked really well. So yeah, try it out no matter what the age. I hate to fight trying to use it like a remote control and remember to click when they did the behavior not use it to make them do it. It's fun
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 10-04-2010, 09:34 PM
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Yes, you can start using a clicker at any time and it will not confuse them. It helps though to "load" the clicker before beginning, so they understand what the click means. The way you do this is get a bunch of treats, and click and treat just sitting there. Do this a few times, once the dog is expecting the treat as soon as they hear the click the clicker is "loaded."

When I first started clicker training I then moved into using the clicker with the things my dog already knew. Ask for a sit, and when she sits I clicked and then treated. I think this also helped build up the understanding of what the clicker meant before I started using it with new behaviors.
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 10-04-2010, 10:25 PM
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I started clicker training when my terrier mix was like 6-8 years old and never had a problem with that. He also knew the obedience basics already so I mostly used it for tricks and stuff until he lost his hearing. When that happened I used clicker training to brush up on his hand signals and teach him hand signals for the commands he did not already know hand signals for.

Bianca was trained using traditional Schutzhund-type/correction training methods in her previous home, I got her at 4 1/2 and started clicker training with her no problem. I did re-train some of her basic obedience though in order to teach her English since she was previously trained in German (and started from scratch with heel and stay because she was so 'rusty' with that she did not even respond to the German.)

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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 10-04-2010, 10:35 PM
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Absolutely. Check out Karen Pryors website for good info


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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 10-04-2010, 10:56 PM
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I agree, you can use that clicker anytime. Make sure you "load" it, look for some videos to give you an idea of loading it.
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 10-04-2010, 10:56 PM
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Of course you can! Have you done any marker training with her previously? If you've used a verbal marker, you just substitute the clicker for the word. If not, just load the clicker first.

I've been doing marker training for nearly 10 years, either with a clicker or a verbal marker. My two current and two previous GSDs were trained that way from the beginning, and because they're such a smart breed I've never bothered to load the clicker before using it. But for an older dog that is new to a clicker it's probably a good idea to start there.

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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 10-04-2010, 11:17 PM
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You certainly can! Just make sure you really spend some quality time 'charging the clicker' to make it worth value before you start.

Charging the Clicker

first step of clicker training Charging the Clicker


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Last edited by MaggieRoseLee; 10-04-2010 at 11:21 PM.
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