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When you use a clicker and are teaching "come" what point do you click on? For example, do you click as soon as they take a step towards you? Or do you click when they are directly in front of you? Or both? I know clicker training is all about timing, so I want to make sure I get that down.
 

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I can only tell you what I would do personally, as I don't feel comfortable speaking for others when it comes to training methods!


I click with my mouth, but it's the same concept. I click as soon as the dog sits in front of me correctly, looking up at my face. This is with a dog who knows the command, therefore he already knows what is expected of him.

Again, I can only say what I did personally, but when training, I also only click when the dog/pup is where I want him to be, sitting in front of me looking at my face. However, I will sometimes use a toy, or sometimes food, depending on the dog, to guide him into position in order to get him to where I want him to be so that he knows what to do to receive his click/reward. Hope I worded that clearly enough...I tend to overexplain things! LOL! Good luck!

-Jackie
 

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I would also Agree with Jackie, I would click when the dog was where i wanted him/her to be.
 

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Yes - I agree with the others.

The click defines what you want the finished result to be. Depending on your definition - click when the dog is where you want him to be. Mine were taught to come and sit in front of me.

If you are out walking, you may want a different command like, 'here' or 'with me' that means the dog comes to you and you both continue walking.
 

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I use clicking/marking to shape a behavior, so if the dog is just starting to learn a recall, my initial mark would occur as the dog turns to me and makes eye contact. Coming all the way it and sitting in front is the end result, but I don't expect that behavior from day one, rather I use the click to shape the behavior to get that result.

On the other hand, if I were using an e-collar for a recall, the dog would be receiving the negative reinforcement (continuous stim) until the dog turned and started back, I would not stim the dog until he was all the way back sitting in front, at least not when first beginning.
 

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Quote:I use clicking/marking to shape a behavior, so if the dog is just starting to learn a recall, my initial mark would occur as the dog turns to me and makes eye contact. Coming all the way it and sitting in front is the end result, but I don't expect that behavior from day one, rather I use the click to shape the behavior to get that result.
That's exactly the way I train. Remember when using the clicker you are shaping a behavior by teaching and building on other behaviors. And when starting you need to set the pup up to succeed and mark as they are learning.

Breaking down a complex behavior (like 'come' can be when it ends up being get over here and sit in front of me) is actually initially a bunch of other small behaviors.

Here are some great sites that break it down better:

http://www.clickertrainusa.com/come.htm

http://www.clickertraining.com/node/309
 

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It's really important to break down a behavior into tiny steps and reward for each of those steps, if you want a good solid enthusiastic response from the dog. When I start out, I do as some of the others mentioned - I mark the recall behavior as soon as it starts. I also praise the ENTIRE time as the dog runs to me. The sit in front is inconsequential to me at the beginning - I add that in later when I have a good, fast, solid recall.

Now, you could also backchain the entire behavior, starting with the sit in front and then adding in the recall starting at just a few feet away and gradually working at longer distances. I don't do it this way because the recall section of it is more important to me (both for a companion dog and a competition dog) than the actual sit in front. In real life, they need to come to me quickly and reliably. On trial day, they can still qualify if they sit crooked or even don't sit at all, but they're not going to qualify if they don't come to me. So I want the "running to me" part to get the most emphasis. I teach the sit separately (and often not for months - Tazer was probably 8-9 months old before I taught her a sit).

Whichever way you use, you need to decide now and then dedicate some time to it. An enthusiastic recall is beautiful. My young chow will sit there quietly as I walk away, and when I call her she often erupts into the air in a huge leap forward and then races to me and sits promptly in front of me. It's really neat to see.

Melanie and the gang in Alaska
 

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I'm training Nikon's recall right now, he's 13 weeks. He is rarely on a leash but has started trying to wander off. When I call him I squat down and sort of pat the ground with both hands. This is really exciting to him and he runs all the way to me, then I praise him and let him lick all over my face. This is what I do when I don't have a treat. Yesterday he ran off four times b/c a neighbor burried a chicken in his yard and his dog started digging it up, I recalled Nikon all four times just saying his name and "come" once. We still have major recall issues with Coke, I was so relieved! Eventually he needs to sit in front but like Melanie says the actuall recall is what's important to me right now. A front sit can be trained in a matter of days.
 

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Thank you, Maggie and Lies. It is correct, of course to mark small behaviors to get to the end result. I often assume that when others ask, there were already many steps and processes before going to the final 'come.'

In our classes, we wouldn't have started 'come from a distance' - it would have been part of stationary, then two or three step, then longer recalls and other work.

I'm glad you responded based on just what was stated in the OPs original question.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I have another question, if the dog comes towards me should I click every few seconds to mark that they are still doing the correct behavior?

Brenna has a basic understanding of come, in a situation with few distractions, she will run straight to me and sit in front of me like a champ. I never taught her to actually sit in front of me, the people I got her from had started training her so I suspect that's where she learned it. With some distractions and off leash, I might have to call her a couple times (which I know is a no no) and she will come back to me but when she gets close she laughs at me and runs in a lap around me before coming to me. lol Needless to say I have given up attempting off leash work for the time being. Luckily I have not had to see what she does with a huge distraction (i.e. a cat running away) because I suspect I would be very disappointed.

ETA: I started rambling and forgot to finish my thought. haha Anyways, I am trying to decide whether I should try to refine her response to 'come' or to re-train her from scratch using 'here'...any opinions?
 

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Originally Posted By: BrennasMomI have another question, if the dog comes towards me should I click every few seconds to mark that they are still doing the correct behavior?
Hopefully, others will correct me (please) if I am wrong here - but you should click once and only once for anything. Repeated clicking will confuse the dog and can also dilute the value of the click. The way you shape the behavior is to continue to 'raise the bar' in order for the click to be given.

Day 1 - dog turns and begins to come toward you on "come"... CLICK.

Day 3 - dog must come to within two feet of you (flybys don't count) to get the click, etc.

If the dog is not understanding the desired action, this will apparent when the click is withheld the first time "what... I turned toward you... I should get a click", but as the puzzled dog comes closer and you click then it starts to get it. You can gradually increase the expectation (day 2 - don't click until the dog is within 12 feet of you, etc.) in whatever increments make sense for success.

The repeated clicking disturbs this process and tells the dog that just about every step it takes is a winner.

I'm new to clickers, so I hope someone will correct me if I am wrong - for both our sakes.
 

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Click must equal treat. If you click and don't treat, it devalues the clicker. If you want your dog to know they're doing it right, you can always use praise. "Gooood come! Come! Yayyy! Good dog! That's it!" while they're in the process of coming.
 

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Quote:I have another question, if the dog comes towards me should I click every few seconds to mark that they are still doing the correct behavior?
No

The click needs to mark a specific behavior and there has to be a reward for that behavior.

And while initially it may seem the the dog is 'coming' to you so it would seem you should be clicking, that's not what's happening.

For me, if I call and my dog stops going forward and instead turns his head to me, I will click. And what I'm clicking is for the attention and the head turn. That's all, just a head turn. And THAT's what the reward is for.......the head turn.

Now the fact my dog is tearing over to me for the reward may LOOK like a 'come' but that's not the behavior I was initially asking for AND NOT WHAT I CLICKED. I clicked the head turn and that's what the treat/toy/tug is given for as a reward. Fact is, I wouldn't be saying the word 'come' either cause you only add a word to the behavior when they are getting reliable, and heck I'm just wanting a head turn. So I'd just be saying my dog's name, click for the head turn/body turn and reward for that.

BTW, I've found I get a MUCH faster dog tearing back for the reward when I am also running AWAY from them. So I will face my pup when I call their name, click when they turn, and then RUN in the opposite direction. When the dog catches up then they get the reward/treat/tug (not just praise, thats not enough).

Usually starting close to the pup helps. Making it seem like a fun game. Don't do it too many times in the session or walk. Only add distance when they are reliable close.

I've talked to some people and they get confused with the clicker use and think it's ok to use it kind of as a 'keep going' thing. So to incorrectly keep clicking as they come towards you (with no reward for each click) would be using that idea.

Problem is the clicker is a very precise tool when used right. This means you think you'd be clicking the 'coming' but the click is so precise it may be instead (to the dog) marking when it's right front foot hits the ground. Or it turned it's head on the run back. Or when it's tail wagged. Or it looked at you.........or or or or or . So you are lessening the effect of the click by lessening the clarity.
 
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