Clicker Training Without Treats - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 23 (permalink) Old 06-01-2012, 09:31 PM Thread Starter
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Clicker Training Without Treats

Is it possible? Can it be done? Has it been done?

For praise or toy oriented dogs, can you eliminate the treats entirely? Has anyone done it? The clicker is an amazingly useful tool, as are treats, but if there was a way to avoid treats in regular training, it would be awesome as well. I understand that the behaviors may take a little bit more time to train, depending on the dog, but I would just like to know if it's at all possible.

Thanks in advance for your advice : )
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post #2 of 23 (permalink) Old 06-01-2012, 09:41 PM
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The concept is possible but difficult. The click always means a reward is coming, so you can't keep clicking and not "paying". Praise and toys could work but take more time and might interrupt the flow of training or the dog's drives or focus.

With my dogs I only use treats with a clicker but also build in the word "yes" as a marker and use that later on with toys and praise once the dog is farther along and doesn't need the marker "charged".
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post #3 of 23 (permalink) Old 06-01-2012, 09:50 PM
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i think a dog can be trained without a clicker or treats.
i've never used a clicker. i use treats and praise when training.
i phase out the treats at some point but i always praise.
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post #4 of 23 (permalink) Old 06-01-2012, 10:00 PM Thread Starter
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Doggiedad- yes, of course a dog could be trained without both. I just like the idea of clicker training, and I want to see people's thoughts on the subject : )
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post #5 of 23 (permalink) Old 06-01-2012, 10:22 PM
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What do you do if your dog learns to respond only to treats or a clicker and you don't have one with you, or you need to use your hands for leashwork? I prefer praise. I've used treats for specific behaviors, otherwise, I like the dog to focus on me rather than on what's in my hand.

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post #6 of 23 (permalink) Old 06-01-2012, 10:31 PM
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i thought you were asking can you train a dog without
treats or a clicker?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ~Saphira~ View Post
Is it possible? Can it be done? Has it been done?

For praise or toy oriented dogs,

>>> can you eliminate the treats entirely?<<<

Has anyone done it? The clicker is an amazingly useful tool, as are treats,

>>> but if there was a way to avoid treats in regular training,<<<

it would be awesome as well. I understand that the behaviors may take a little bit more time to train, depending on the dog, but I would just like to know if it's at all possible.

Thanks in advance for your advice : )
Quote:
Originally Posted by ~Saphira~ View Post

>>>> Doggiedad- yes, of course a dog could be trained without both. I just like the idea of clicker training, and I want to see people's thoughts on the subject <<<<

: )
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post #7 of 23 (permalink) Old 06-01-2012, 10:48 PM
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I've never had a problem phasing out treats, or the clicker, once a behavior has really been learned.

I've come from training Italian Greyhounds and Dobermans, which are NOT easy to train with traditional methods. My trainer used to say "With goldens, you pattern. With shepherds, you train. With Dobermans, you negotiate". Yep.

I haven't used a clicker on my 12 year old blind IG in probably 6 years, but she still has the snappiest tuck sit you've ever seen. I tell her to sit, and she can't sit fast enough. I don't have the clicker on me, and she rarely gets treats (digestive issues).

As for leashes, I have a terrible habit of fiddling with the leash - basically I just pester my dog with it. I have greater success if I attach the leash to my belt loop and drop the leash. I've taught a myriad of behaviors without ever touching my dog (or that darn leash).

Just my experience!

~ Diane ~

CARLY ......... Ch. Lauremi's No Reservations (AKC GCh pointed, HIC)
SCARLET ..... Lauremi's Almost Wasn't (AKC pointed)
and absent friends... SAGE ~ Lauremi's Whim Z v Jakmar ~ AKC major ptd, HIC ~ 2010-2015
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post #8 of 23 (permalink) Old 06-01-2012, 11:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Liesje View Post
With my dogs I only use treats with a clicker but also build in the word "yes" as a marker and use that later on with toys and praise once the dog is farther along and doesn't need the marker "charged".
I do the same thing.

Also when you have a behavior solidly on cue, then you can switch to using intermittent reinforcement. There's a whole schedule you can use to phase out the treating. And eventually you are only treating every once in a while. Now when I ask my dogs to do all kinds of behaviors, they do them, not knowing if a treat is coming or not. If I don't treat, I praise. It works.

~ Diane ~

CARLY ......... Ch. Lauremi's No Reservations (AKC GCh pointed, HIC)
SCARLET ..... Lauremi's Almost Wasn't (AKC pointed)
and absent friends... SAGE ~ Lauremi's Whim Z v Jakmar ~ AKC major ptd, HIC ~ 2010-2015
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post #9 of 23 (permalink) Old 06-01-2012, 11:03 PM
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Absolutely. I did some training for my landlord's Golden and I mostly used a ball as his reward. You just start off clicking every time you throw the ball and then from there you can start training. I was able to lure with the ball as well.
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post #10 of 23 (permalink) Old 06-01-2012, 11:04 PM
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I'm not sure I understand.

The clicker is simply the marker and is not a reward in of itself.
I suppose if you had a dog that praise was reward enough you could click and then praise?

I had no problem eliminating both the clicker and the treats with Dante with any of his training.

Dante - March 2004
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