Clicker Question - German Shepherd Dog Forums
 
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 12-22-2010, 12:03 PM Thread Starter
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Clicker Question

Those of you that use clicker training I have one big question....Do you only use the clicker during training sessions or do you pretty much keep it on you at all times and click whenever they do something right? I've pretty much only used it during training sessions but have wondered about it the whole time, especially during our walks. Thanks in advance!
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 12-22-2010, 12:16 PM
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Well, my walks ARE training sessions! Sometimes I use a verbal marker instead, but any time I'm marking behavior, either verbally or with a clicker, a reward of some sort follows. So if you're not prepared to reward a behavior (or you don't really need to because it's already learned and generalized), then you can just acknowledge your dog with praise or petting when s/he is doing something especially wonderful that you'd like to reinforce.

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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 12-22-2010, 05:10 PM Thread Starter
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Good point. Being new to me no mater if it is learned already or not, I always reward at the very least verbally (when on a walk) and a great deal of praise if we're not walking and treats aren't present at the time.

On that note, if I use the clicker outside of training sessions do I HAVE to give a food/toy reward after (as thats what turns dogs on to the clicker) or will praise do fine? I dont want to turn her off of the clicker if you know what I mean.
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 12-22-2010, 05:45 PM
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When I'm first teaching a command I treat every step after clicking until he gets it. Then when he gets it I don't treat I just praise, take sit, He knows this already so I don't treat him i just praise him. I always treat at the end of a training session if I don't use treats during the training session. Does that make sense?. I call it jackpot. So if i'm doing sit down combos I don't treat him while i'm doing it since he knows it I just click then at the end I give him a handfull of treats.

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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 12-22-2010, 07:35 PM
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I take the clicker with me all the time (if I remember) if not I then mark with the word GOOD instead. Why because there could be something new that could come up something that could startle the dog and he doesn't recover quickly. So if you have the clicker you can work there and use the clicker it really helps them recover. Example:....my GSD was scared of the garbage trucks so when we would walk past them I would click and treat so I not really clicking for a heel but for walking past calmly and letting him know it is OK. The rest I do with DCluver does
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 12-22-2010, 10:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KonaK9 View Post
On that note, if I use the clicker outside of training sessions do I HAVE to give a food/toy reward after (as thats what turns dogs on to the clicker) or will praise do fine?
If you're using the clicker to mark behavior you're IN a training session, whether you think you are or not. And yes - to use a marker correctly, a reward ALWAYS follows. The reward doesn't have to be a treat, it can be a toy, or a real life reward such as access to anything the dog values. "Verbal rewards" aren't really rewards, per se.

The reason clickers (or verbal markers such as "yes!") work so well is that the sound signals that the dog did something rewardable, hence the reward. So if you mark behavior but DON'T reward, then the sound stops being meaningful to the dog.

Praise is nice, and I use it profusely, but it's not usually inherently rewarding in the way that food is. Food is what's called a "primary reinforcer" - you don't have to teach your dog to value it because he needs food to survive. My dogs love it when I tell them how wonderful they are with great enthusiasm, because they've learned that when I'm happy with them (to borrow a phrase from Jean Donaldson) "good things happen for dogs". But if I had continually praised them without good things ever being paired with it, they'd just be meaningless words to my dogs.

I'll use a variety of words such as "good!", "great job!", "nice!", and "excellent!" if I don't want to give a reward, but I do want to let them know I'm pleased with their behavior. But the marker always means a treat will follow.

-Debbie-
Cava 1/6/18
Keefer 8/25/05-4/24/19 ~ The sweetest boy
Halo 11/9/08-6/17/18 ~ You left pawprints on our hearts
Dena 9/12/04-10/4/08 ~ Forever would have been too short
Cassidy 6/8/00-10/4/04
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 12-23-2010, 01:06 AM Thread Starter
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Awesome! I'll definitely keep that in mind! Thank you again for the advice!
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-01-2011, 02:35 PM
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I only use the clicker during training sessions, but that sometimes includes walks.


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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-01-2011, 05:07 PM
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I bring mine everywhere Skylar goes. never know when a training moment may come up.
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