When not to use the clicker(?) - German Shepherd Dog Forums
 
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-21-2015, 09:51 AM Thread Starter
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When not to use the clicker(?)

I'm reading Jean Donaldson's "How to Train Your Dog Like a Pro", and finding her methods for using the clicker vague. In her book she does mention its use as a marker but only once, but not during lessons. In her video, she advocates and describes its use, but not in every lesson. For example, it can be used for "fundamental" behaviours like marking 'sit', but for "impulse control" behaviours like 'sit-stay' the clicker’s use is not mentioned or shown(?) (e.g., when would you click to mark at a 'stay' step when you're 20 yards behind your dog and on your way back to treat?)

Question: It's like there are times to use the clicker and times when its use is inappropriate(?) Is there a rule of thumb that I'm missing?

If I understand the clicker's use correctly, its timing is critical. I see her using it in many instances of training--I wish she'd describe its use more, as well as what we should be looking for. Otherwise, this is an excellent book.

By the way, GSD pup arrives this spring ...

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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-21-2015, 10:25 AM
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The clicker is a marker that a reward is coming and that they can end a behavior. When a dog is in a stay if you click the dog will break behavior to get a reward. So you would not click for a stay until the behavior is complete.

So in the case of your example if you wanted the dog to maintain the stay you would walk all the way over to the dog and assuming it held the down you would click and treat the dog when you got there. If you wanted to set up another marker that encourages the dog into maintaining a behavior and that a click is soon forthcoming it's pretty easy.

Let's say you have the dog in a down stay. You say "good" then a few seconds later click and treat. After enough repetitions the "good" predicts a click is forthcoming and that they are on the right track. Quickly you adjust the schedule to where good doesn't always come before a click maybe only every other click or every 3-5. The dog quickly figures out its a way of letting him know he's on the right track to reward.
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-21-2015, 11:51 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks Bailif! ... If I read you correctly, there is no inappropriate lesson in which a click cannot be used to mark good behaviour. In this case, good behaviour includes staying during an informal mark ("good dog!") as well as my walk back, 'click' and treat.

I suppose for every Donaldson lesson I'm going to have to first read into her instructions for the proper time to acknowledge good behaviour ('click') and possibly tossing a treat.

Other difficult situations for knowing exactly when to click would be appreciated (e.g., teaching a remote or running down-stay)

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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-21-2015, 12:15 PM
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When I'm working on duration behaviors, I don't mark until the end, as Baliff described. I let the dog know they're doing the right thing with "good" or other praise words, and if I'm working on extending distance I return to the dog several times to reward in place, without using the marker word or clicker.

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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-21-2015, 12:28 PM
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Yup that's another good point. You can reward in place on goods too and save the clicks for release plus reward.
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-21-2015, 12:42 PM
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You dont have to use a clicker...

You can just use your voice for duration and terminal markers/bridge...

For me personally a clicker just takes space in my hand and makes my timing and handling so much harder. Not to mention getting treats, and consistently rewarding out of both hands.. (Which is ideal).

Ivan balabanov mentions that he likes the 'connection' of your voice to the dog...

Also if you ever train in a group, the clickers of nearby dogs can confuse your dog. The dog is rarely confused by your voice...

I guess if your voice is very up and down and inconsistent a clicker can help...

A lot of people use clickers, and I am sure there are many positives.

Me personally... I dont like clickers.

Last edited by Lykoz; 02-21-2015 at 12:49 PM.
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-21-2015, 12:47 PM
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Never used em myself. Pretty easy to switch to voice if you want to get rid of the clicker. Just "yes" first then click and treat about 5-10 times. The dog then can just be "yes" and treated from then on out. It frees you up from an unessesary tool. Yes doesn't have to be your word it could be anything as long as you are consistent.
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-21-2015, 07:21 PM
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I'd check out Karen Pryor's stuff.. She's big into clicker training...

Karen Pryor Clicker Training | The Leader in Positive Reinforcement Training

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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-21-2015, 09:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Baillif View Post
The clicker is a marker that a reward is coming and that they can end a behavior. When a dog is in a stay if you click the dog will break behavior to get a reward. So you would not click for a stay until the behavior is complete.

So in the case of your example if you wanted the dog to maintain the stay you would walk all the way over to the dog and assuming it held the down you would click and treat the dog when you got there. If you wanted to set up another marker that encourages the dog into maintaining a behavior and that a click is soon forthcoming it's pretty easy.

Let's say you have the dog in a down stay. You say "good" then a few seconds later click and treat. After enough repetitions the "good" predicts a click is forthcoming and that they are on the right track. Quickly you adjust the schedule to where good doesn't always come before a click maybe only every other click or every 3-5. The dog quickly figures out its a way of letting him know he's on the right track to reward.
Yup, I do my clicker training exactly like this.

And you can use a vocal marker as well like a "yes!". I only make students in the store use the clicker instead of the vocal marker because they don't understand the importance of having a consistent marker sound so they change the vocal marker all the time if I let them use it.
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