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Discussion Starter #1
My new 9 m.o. GSD seemed unconcerned about noises. My noisy toddler? No problem. A skill saw? Ha! He thought it was a great game to put his nose right up close to it WHILE I WAS SAWING so that he could jerk the wood away as soon as it was sawed off.

But that silly little clicker I was so excited to start using? No. Way. The first time I tried giving him treats with it, he looked askance and then wedged himself between my toddler's high chair and the fridge. Tonight I tried it again and he blinked nervously, put his head down, and went straight to his crate. I tried it in his crate & he refused to eat the treats.

I was using hotdog pieces, treats he has gone nuts for at other times.
 

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haha... I have two friends whose dogs are terrified of the clicker (a bull terrier and a Catahoula), so much so that when they were roommates they kept one in the living room as an aversive for barking out the window or door. so strange but funny at the same time.

not sure what you're using but the i-click is much quieter and has a notably different sound than traditional box clickers.

that said, voice markers can be just as effective. just take care to keep your voice and tone the same.

eta: https://karen-pryor-clicker-training.myshopify.com/collections/clickers
 

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Sounds like he associates the clicker with bad things. Maybe a past human misused the dog while using a clicker.
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
Yeah, I was wondering whether one of the two previous owners had used a clicker (or something similar) for a totally different purpose.

Good point about the "nutrition" of hotdogs; I should find something different for long-term. Best treat I've had experience with was unseasoned venison jerky, but I don't have any of that now.

He has loved hotdog bits over the past week. With the clicker, he'll eat one, and then let the other sit on the floor in front of his nose, untouched.

And the look he gives me--! It's that look that makes me wonder about previous owner/s. I don't have a box clicker--I have two of the other, sort of teardrop-shaped ones. Going to try a ballpoint pen click, then move on to other simple sounds/markers. Kind of intrigued by the flashlight idea, though seems more difficult since the dog has to be watching your hand.
 

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It is possible that the dog associates the clicker with training, and training with irritation/frustration on the part of the previous owner. They may not have been trying to use the clicker as a negative marker, but they may have only used it while trying to train, and with poor timing and inconsistency, they may have made the dog confused, which most novices read as stubbornness. Punishment and harsh corrections follow.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Ooh-- I hadn't thought of that. Would make sense, since I don't think the last owner would have been intentionally unkind to the dog.
 

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I think you guys are reading way too much into it. there are simply dogs who don't like the sound of the clicker. the bull terrier I mentioned wouldn't get out of the car because I was working with the clicker in my front yard when they pulled up. it happens.
 

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there are simply dogs who don't like the sound of the clicker.
This is true... I know a few dogs that are sound sensitive and it has nothing to do with abuse or training..
 

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Shadow hates clickers. That noise sends her into a rage and makes her lunge and bite at hands, pockets, where ever I hide it. She does the same thing with snaps, bottle lids, anything that makes that type of noise. No amount of desensitizing has worked, it's like she doesn't even know she does it. Her eyes glaze over and she just starts snapping and snarling.
And I am positive no one had a clicker around her before. I just use a word instead.
 
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