Clickers

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Clickers

Post by Tezzers on Tue Jul 28 2015, 14:39

Hi all, I just ordered a clicker for when i start walking Maya, and all i am wondering is...Do they work well at training a puppy ? I have never used one before, so any tips/advice would be fantastic.
Thanks

Terry. Smile
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Re: Clickers

Post by Tezzers on Wed Jul 29 2015, 21:27

Bump Smile
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Re: Clickers

Post by Mia05 on Wed Jul 29 2015, 21:48

never used a clicker for miamoo terry im ure liz will answer your post when she see's it Smile

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Re: Clickers

Post by Tezzers on Wed Jul 29 2015, 21:53

Mia05 wrote:never used a clicker for miamoo terry im ure liz will answer your post when she see's it Smile

If i`m honest Crystal, i don`t think i will need it for lead training, as i have had her on the lead in front and back gardens, and she took to it like a duck to water. Smile Maybe a bit different when away from the house though Laughing
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Re: Clickers

Post by Mia05 on Wed Jul 29 2015, 21:54

aww bless her will you be frequenting piglets tonight terry? ive naebody to serve in there on me lonesome Laughing

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Re: Clickers

Post by Tezzers on Wed Jul 29 2015, 21:59

Mia05 wrote:aww bless her will you be frequenting piglets tonight terry? ive naebody to serve in there on me lonesome Laughing

Aye, I`ll be there soon to keep you company Crystal Laughing To busy enjoying the song ttle game right now Laughing
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Re: Clickers

Post by Tezzers on Sun Sep 27 2015, 18:01

Liz, i forgot i started this a while back so i`ll bump it in readiness for your post Smile
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Re: Clickers

Post by LizP on Sun Sep 27 2015, 18:10

Something to watch while you're (im)patiently waiting, Terry.

https://staffy-bull-terrier.niceboard.com/t60863-millie-does-clicker

So the clicker is a 'yes', and the first thing you teach is that yes. They need to associate the clicker with getting a reward and very quickly they hear that noise and they KNOW that they'll get a treat. The real benefit is that you can give an incredibly accurate yes, so they know just what it was that got them the treat and what they need to do to get another one.

Have a look at the video in that link and see if it makes sense. Back with more, hopefully tomorrow.


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Re: Clickers

Post by Tezzers on Sun Sep 27 2015, 18:13

LizP wrote:Something to watch while you're (im)patiently waiting, Terry.

https://staffy-bull-terrier.niceboard.com/t60863-millie-does-clicker

So the clicker is a 'yes', and the first thing you teach is that yes. They need to associate the clicker with getting a reward and very quickly they hear that noise and they KNOW that they'll get a treat. The real benefit is that you can give an incredibly accurate yes, so they know just what it was that got them the treat and what they need to do to get another one.

Have a look at the video in that link and see if it makes sense. Back with more, hopefully tomorrow.

Laughing Thanks Liz, I`ll watch it tonight, and still wait for your post Laughing
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Re: Clickers

Post by Tezzers on Sun Sep 27 2015, 21:29

LizP wrote:Something to watch while you're (im)patiently waiting, Terry.

https://staffy-bull-terrier.niceboard.com/t60863-millie-does-clicker

So the clicker is a 'yes', and the first thing you teach is that yes. They need to associate the clicker with getting a reward and very quickly they hear that noise and they KNOW that they'll get a treat. The real benefit is that you can give an incredibly accurate yes, so they know just what it was that got them the treat and what they need to do to get another one.

Have a look at the video in that link and see if it makes sense. Back with more, hopefully tomorrow.

Brilliant video Liz Smile I think i am starting to understand now ! I have already taught Maya to `shake a paw` just by using my voice and treats, Next it will the clicker when on walks, to get her to sit when waiting to cross roads, and hopefully heel as well. I have Maya off lead on most of her walks, as we usually go to the woods and fields, and again, as i started her very young off lead her recall is pretty good. Thanks again Smile
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Re: Clickers

Post by funkyrimpler on Sun Sep 27 2015, 22:28

i use the clicker with Spike and it's worked fantastically well so far, but i also use words with or without the clicker. The trick is to click at the exact moment the desired behaviour is offered. Many people are disparaging of the clicker but i've found it a really effective tool.
i close my hand over it so that it's not too loud and so as not to distract my puppy.
I dont think theyre entirely necessary but they are handy.
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Re: Clickers

Post by Tezzers on Sun Sep 27 2015, 22:58

funkyrimpler wrote:i use the clicker with Spike and it's worked fantastically well so far, but i also use words with or without the clicker. The trick is to click at the exact moment the desired behaviour is offered. Many people are disparaging of the clicker but i've found it a really effective tool.
i close my hand over it so that it's not too loud and so as not to distract my puppy.
I dont think theyre entirely necessary but they are handy.

Yes, so is it click/command and treat, or vice versa ?
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Re: Clickers

Post by Mia05 on Mon Sep 28 2015, 08:50

i reckon the clicker will be an advantage in a distracting situation for example with other dogs in the park. think the key is in the timing terry once you have mastered that ur sorted.

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Re: Clickers

Post by funkyrimpler on Mon Sep 28 2015, 13:52

give the command, the instant they respond click and reward...sometimes i introduce the verbal cue later on.so they have to work out what i want..ie Spud and I did 'lay down' as follows:
From a sit i have a treat in my closed hand and let him have a sniff 'click' and give treat
From a sit i get his attention again and have his nose follow the treat 'click' and treat.
From the same sit i lower the treat to the floor, clicking and rewarding as soon as his nose touches my closed hand.
I kept repeating until my hand was on the floor and he laid down..the instant his belly touched the floor i clicked and gave him a bumper reward..At this point he had the idea so i simply reinforced and repeated...Eventually adding the word 'down' as he lowered himself onto the floor.
After this i moved my hand to the floor, saying 'down'-he laid down-but i rewarded from the other hand so that i could fade out the hand signal..
Gradually i faded out the hand signal (making it smaller and smaller and rewarding from the other hand), until i could simply say 'down'...
He cottoned pretty quick, but i still get him to do it...
One tip though, make sure the floor is a nice place to lay down...he didn't want to lay down on the cold kitchen tiles!
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Re: Clickers

Post by Tezzers on Mon Sep 28 2015, 23:31

funkyrimpler wrote:give the command, the instant they respond click and reward...sometimes i introduce the verbal cue later on.so they have to work out what i want..ie Spud and I did 'lay down' as follows:
From a sit i have a treat in my closed hand and let him have a sniff 'click' and give treat
From a sit i get his attention again and have his nose follow the treat 'click' and treat.
From the same sit i lower the treat to the floor, clicking and rewarding  as soon as his nose touches my closed hand.
I kept repeating until my hand was on the floor and he laid down..the instant his belly touched the floor i clicked and gave him a bumper reward..At this point he had the idea so i simply reinforced and repeated...Eventually adding the word 'down' as he lowered himself onto the floor.
After this i moved my hand to the floor, saying 'down'-he laid down-but i rewarded from the other hand so that i could fade out the hand signal..
Gradually i faded out the hand signal (making it smaller and smaller and rewarding from the other hand), until i could simply say 'down'...
He cottoned pretty quick, but i still get him to do it...
One tip though, make sure the floor is a nice place to lay down...he didn't want to lay down on the cold kitchen tiles!

Ok cheers, very helpful si ! i`ll probably give it a try at weekend when the house is quiet Smile
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Re: Clickers

Post by LizP on Tue Sep 29 2015, 08:59

Sorry it's taken ages to get to this, I'm chasing my tail a bit at the moment, so to speak.

The most important thing about clicker training is to understand how it works rather than what to do. If you understand the theory and how the dogs understands it, then you can probably work most of it out for yourself. If you're a reader, there are some good books that go into more detail. 'Don't Shoot the Dog' by Karen Pryor is a bit of a bible - she's one of the people who really moved clicker to the foreground of training, and it's an easy book to read and understand, and a little paperback not a tome. It's not a training book, it's a 'this is how it works', book.

As well as clicker theory, make sure you've got general training principles in your mind. It's here if you haven't read it yet:

https://staffy-bull-terrier.niceboard.com/t63379-how-learning-works

The problem with treats without something like a clicker is that it's hard to be very accurate. Say your dog is 5 metres away and you ask him to sit. To give him a treat for that you either need to call him to you, go to him, or throw the treat. With the former you end up treating recall instead of sit, with the latter you treat him catching the treat, and with the middle one goodness knows what he might have done between him sitting and you getting to him.

Because the clicker is so brief and sharp, you can click the tiniest things, such as looking at/away from something. That means you can be incredibly precise and also reward the dog for even thinking about doing something. We all too often wait until an action has been completed before rewarding, which makes it hard if the dog isn't sure what to do. If you can get to reward an attempt or even a thought in the right direction, you will be showing the dog that he's on the right track and also giving him a reason to try again, and maybe harder.

One fun exercise you can try, once Maya understands what the clicker is all about, is teaching her to sit on a mat/piece of cardboard. You won't touch her for this or give her any instruction, just reward her for doing anything in the right direction.

First, though, how to teach a dog about a clicker. This is the way I do it, for dogs and horses, and it's never failed me except for my very scaredy pony who was terrified of even the softest click noise. Take an object that you'll use on an on-going basis as a target. You can buy telescopic targets for not very much, like the one I have for Millie, or anything that you find easy to hold that she can target. With Maya near you, you hold the target out. She'll sniff it. The second she does anything in the right direction, click-treat. Repeat, repeat. If she doesn't even look at it, stick it under her nose and/or make it smell nice.

To start off with, she'll probably sniff it all over, and your hand. That's fine, reward anything at all that's even sort of right to start off with to encourage her. Once she's got the hang of it, stop rewarding hand sniffing/nudging, then arm of target, until you are only rewarding her actually touching the target with her nose. You then have your magic wand and Maya will also understand that 'click!' means treat.

So here's your first game. You put the mat on the floor. Like with the target, she will probably go to sniff it or at least look at it. Click-treat. If she doesn't, give her time. This is at its strongest if let the dog work it out for herself. If, after a few minutes, she's not paid the mat any attention that you can reward, you can use your target to get her in the right direction so you can click treat.

Once she's getting click treats for sniffing the mat, you can then wait a bit to encourage her to try something new. The next step you want is one foot on the mat. As soon as a toe touches the mat, click-treat. Then you wait for a whole foot, then two feet... etc.

You may get a whole load of random behaviours as she tries to work out what to do. The trick is to think of the 'hot-cold' game, and reward anything that's even tepid but ignore anything that cool. In other words, what's worth the dog trying again and what's not. Don't wait for really hot, at this stage of learning anything at all that even a bit right is a 'yes!'.

If I have a second, I'll see if I can video one of mine doing it. I don't think I've done it with Chaos.

The reasons this game is great is that it teaches the dog to start thinking and it teaches you how to look at the small things she's doing as she's working it all out, and that leads to fantastic communication between you.

With that, you can take on the world. Anything that you want to teach, from recall to heelwork to music (if you haven't watched Tina Humphrey and Chandi, get an eyeful of this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pgWD6F-paE4)

To start off with, treat everything. One of the biggest mistakes is under-treating. Remember the 'what's in it for me' bit. The clicker will become a reward on its own if you use it regularly, but that's down the line. At the very beginning, click-treat every try. Once that is easy and you're moving onto the next step, stop treating that so they look for what else to do, but be ready to go back a step if she gets stuck to remind and encourage her.

If it's not working after 3 or 4 attempts, think how else you can set her up to get it right. Maybe throwing a treat onto the mat would get her feet on it, or putting it by her bowl so she has to walk across it. Also, make sure you're not missing a thought you can treat, a look in the right direction.

When something has been learned, you can go to intermittent treating. My guys don't often get a treat for just sitting because it's very easy for them, but they will if it's sitting in a difficult situation or just from time to time. (It's called a variable schedule of reinforcement, and it's what makes gambling addictive. Maybe this time I'll get lucky...).

But for now, just go and find fun things to teach, and play with getting that communication going. Remember, though. Be careful what you teach. If you teach her to jump onto a table for fun, don't be surprised if you find her as your table centrepiece at dinner time.



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Re: Clickers

Post by LizP on Tue Sep 29 2015, 16:49

Just for you, Terry:



I've started off with three quick targets to show you what I mean. Clearly Chaos knows exactly what this is about, I did quite a bit of clicker work with him to help his on-lead reactions to other dogs. You can see, though, that for the rest of it he doesn't have any idea what he needs to do, he just wants his treats! The cut in the middle is only because my camera switched itself off. This is the session in full, that's all the time it took for him to work it out.

A couple of my clicks are a fraction late, but you can otherwise see how timing the click to the turn of the head lets him know exactly what it is that he's doing that gets the reward. That's what you can't do with just giving a treat. What Si describes is fine and is in fact how you'd teach down without the clicker. Where the clicker really comes into its element is in its precision and its ability to get the dog thinking. It's also an amazing tool for helping overcome fears, as I was doing with Millie.

One last thing, if you do the free work as I'm doing with Chaos, so letting them work out what to do by trying different behaviours, it's helpful to build in a clear signal that you've finished so that they don't keep trying after you've put your clicker away. In the garden, I throw a handful of treats as a big reward for a good session, but I also use 'finished' while showing empty hands, and they have learned that that means the game's over.

Have fun! I'm sure Maya will Big Grin


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Re: Clickers

Post by Tezzers on Tue Sep 29 2015, 21:48

Thank you very much Liz, that is very imformative, and i will make a start at the weekend Smile Just like to ask you what treats you use ? I give Maya treats in the evening, but they are dried liver, beef jerky, chew sticks etc. I think for her training i will need nibbles Laughing
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Re: Clickers

Post by LizP on Wed Sep 30 2015, 08:15

Yes, you want something small and not very expensive as you get through a lot. At the moment we're using some natural biscuits that I get through my meat supplier, but we've used different things in the past (dried sprats being the most revolting). You can use anything you like though, as long as it's not too big so it can be eaten very quickly and isn't bad for them. And if you do find you're giving her loads of treats, you might want to reduce her meal rations a fraction to compensate.

I had a client once who used quarter apples to treat her horse. She was getting through a whole bucket of them in a session, especially as her work wasn't very good and just getting a headcollar on took her probably 10 apples. Not only expensive but also not very good for the horse.


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Re: Clickers

Post by Mia05 on Wed Sep 30 2015, 18:13

The natures menu treats can be bulk bought  terry perhaps you could cut in half or dried sausage its isnt really about the money its worthwhile if you are getting your dog to do what you want in the end its a win win situation.

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Re: Clickers

Post by Tezzers on Wed Sep 30 2015, 21:43

Right Thanks, after reading both your posts Liz and Crystal, i had a thought. Maya likes them Shmacko`s I think they are called lol, so i can just cut some of them up into bits Smile
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Re: Clickers

Post by Mia05 on Wed Sep 30 2015, 21:45

Pedigree terry noooooo

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Re: Clickers

Post by Tezzers on Wed Sep 30 2015, 21:48

Mia05 wrote:Pedigree terry noooooo

Yes i know Crytstal Laughing I only get her a packet now and then because she likes them, and i ain`t starting cutting up her premium Treats Laughing
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Re: Clickers

Post by Mia05 on Wed Sep 30 2015, 21:54

Wb some high quality low fat kibble?

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Re: Clickers

Post by Tezzers on Wed Sep 30 2015, 21:59

Well she has james wellbeloved kibble on a daily basis, so i think she would get a bit bored with that Smile Like Liz said, just something what Maya likes, and isn`t too expensive will do the job, pedigree it is then Laughing
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Re: Clickers

Post by Mia05 on Wed Sep 30 2015, 22:28

Ok no worries terry Smile

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Re: Clickers

Post by Rachel_B on Thu Oct 01 2015, 07:18

This is a great thread! I have been training Betty using the clicker and it works really well.

I am struggling a little to get her to lie down without the lure of a treat. I say 'down' and we end up staring at each other for ages! Any tips?

I am also using the clicker to train in loose lead walking which is really good but heavy on the food!
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Re: Clickers

Post by LizP on Thu Oct 01 2015, 08:10

I'd go easy on the Schmakos too, Terry. Have you tried cheese? You can chop that into tiny bits.

I would use the food lure to teach down to start off with Rachel. Just because you can reinforce without showing them how to do it first doesn't mean you mustn't or shouldn't. Good training is all about setting the animal up to do what you want easily, then saying 'yes!'. The only reason I picked up on that is that earlier is that I didn't think it showed how clicker training can really work, rather than that it's not a good way to teach that.

For me, one of the places trainers who use specific methods go wrong is that they become purist, that their way is the only way and they have to stick to it come what may. I always liked to pick a bit of this, a bit of that, and use what worked best for that animal in that situation. So if you do use clicker, feel free to use whatever else as well, as long as it's clear, fair and effective.


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Re: Clickers

Post by Tezzers on Thu Oct 01 2015, 13:56

LizP wrote:I'd go easy on the Schmakos too, Terry. Have you tried cheese? You can chop that into tiny bits.

I would use the food lure to teach down to start off with Rachel. Just because you can reinforce without showing them how to do it first doesn't mean you mustn't or shouldn't. Good training is all about setting the animal up to do what you want easily, then saying 'yes!'. The only reason I picked up on that is that earlier is that I didn't think it showed how clicker training can really work, rather than that it's not a good way to teach that.

For me, one of the places trainers who use specific methods go wrong is that they become purist, that their way is the only way and they have to stick to it come what may. I always liked to pick a bit of this, a bit of that, and use what worked best for that animal in that situation. So if you do use clicker, feel free to use whatever else as well, as long as it's clear, fair and effective.

Always got plenty of cheese in Liz, as i love it as much as Maya does Laughing So just to clarify, first i get her used to the sound of the clicker, and that it means `yes` and a treat is coming ?
I have also ordered a figure of eight all in one lead, so i can start training her not to pull `heal` so that will be hold her at my side, and click, verbal command heal, and treat ?? I will get it eventually, i promise Laughing
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Re: Clickers

Post by Mia05 on Thu Oct 01 2015, 14:12

Just plenty practice terry if you have leftover chicken this is ideal for when shes highly distracted. Smile

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Re: Clickers

Post by lexii on Thu Oct 01 2015, 20:34

No advice on puppies, but work well on horses haha
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Re: Clickers

Post by LizP on Fri Oct 02 2015, 08:19

That's right, Terry. The first thing is that they know that sound, then you see the head whip round at the sound of it! By working with the target to start off with, you also teach them them that they need to do something in order to get the treat, it's not free gratis for nothing any more.

The best way to teach heel, in my opinion, is off lead. Not only will the lead give your dog something to pull against (the into pressure response is a natural one for many animals, try with another person, if you pull they pull back), but it also means you will rely on the lead. Plus I don't like those figure of eight things anyway.

So work in the garden or even the house first. Have a look at Victoria Stilwell's videos, they're pretty good. Get Maya to come towards you by stepping back, or by holding a treat in your hand next to your leg. When she's in the right place, then click-treat. Working like that instead of on the lead will teach her where she wants to be, rather than where the lead makes her be or else.

It is good to teach her to release from pressure and there is a way to do this but I'm afraid I don't have time to go into it now, but it'll wait anyway. You've got plenty to work on.

So here's the bad news... I'm not around now for the rest of today, all of tomorrow and maybe all of next week! We're off on holiday first thing tomorrow and hopefully will have wifi in the gite but you never know!


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Re: Clickers

Post by Rachel_B on Fri Oct 02 2015, 11:36

LizP wrote:
The best way to teach heel, in my opinion, is off lead. Not only will the lead give your dog something to pull against (the into pressure response is a natural one for many animals, try with another person, if you pull they pull back), but it also means you will rely on the lead. Plus I don't like those figure of eight things anyway.

So work in the garden or even the house first. Have a look at Victoria Stilwell's videos, they're pretty good. Get Maya to come towards you by stepping back, or by holding a treat in your hand next to your leg. When she's in the right place, then click-treat. Working like that instead of on the lead will teach her where she wants to be, rather than where the lead makes her be or else.


That is exactly how I have been doing it. Off lead in the garden, walking around with varied pace, clicking and treating when she is at my heel. It seems to work quite well, and she isn't pulling so much on the lead now either Big Grin
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Re: Clickers

Post by Tezzers on Fri Oct 02 2015, 21:28

Thanks for your posts, Liz, have a wonderful holiday Smile I usually walk Maya off lead in our local woods and fields, so that will be an ideal place to train `heal` Smile Tomorrow i will start with her just getting used to the sound, then sunday, will try on the fields with her ! Thanks again, and enjoy yourself Liz.
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Re: Clickers

Post by Mia05 on Fri Oct 02 2015, 21:33

Best of luck terry let me know how you get on with mayas clicker training its something i find interesting

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Re: Clickers

Post by funkyrimpler on Fri Oct 02 2015, 22:40

if the clicker training doesn't work you can always try the tactics employed by my neighbour on her dogs and kids..Namely shouting hysterically and screaming and swearing... Surprised
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Re: Clickers

Post by Tezzers on Fri Oct 02 2015, 23:49

funkyrimpler wrote:if the clicker training doesn't work you can always try the tactics employed by my neighbour on her dogs and kids..Namely shouting hysterically and screaming and swearing... Surprised

Laughing Won`t be any need for that, i am sure Laughing
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Re: Clickers

Post by LizP on Sun Oct 04 2015, 08:34

The wifi works! So I'm back in touch, all the way from sunny (at the moment) Normandy.

I'm looking forwards to updates, Terry.

(and ps - 'heal' = a wound getting better, 'heel' = your dog walking next to you Wink )


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Re: Clickers

Post by funkyrimpler on Sun Oct 04 2015, 11:30

(and ps - 'heal' = a wound getting better, 'heel' = your dog walking next to you Wink )

PS:
"I'm looking forwards to updates" should read, "I'm looking forward to updates".
In linguistic syntax this is known as a reduplicating plural, or plural verbioisis...
Big Grin
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Re: Clickers

Post by LizP on Sun Oct 04 2015, 12:45

oooppss!


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Re: Clickers

Post by Tezzers on Sun Oct 04 2015, 17:59

LizP wrote:The wifi works! So I'm back in touch, all the way from sunny (at the moment) Normandy.

I'm looking forwards to updates, Terry.

(and ps - 'heal' = a wound getting better, 'heel' = your dog walking next to you Wink )

Just a typo Liz, i`m not fick honestly Laughing

Well on friday evening i broke up some gravy bones, and just got her used to the sound, as you suggested. She was startled the first couple of clicks, but soon got used to it when she understood there is a treat involved Laughing

So Saturday i took her for a walk up the road, which leads to some nice big fields, and used the clicker all the way up, while pulling her to my side with the heel command. Big Grin It seemed go go quite well for a first attempt, and everytime i clicked on the fields, Maya would run back to me for a treat ( chopped up sausage ) so yes, first impressions are it works very well, and i intend on keeping it up. Smile
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Re: Clickers

Post by Patrick84 on Mon Oct 05 2015, 00:09

Just in its simplest form I'm guessing a clicker is a great aid in recall from what you guys have been saying. If they have gotten in there heads click = reward, if they have gotten too far and hear the click they will want to come back for there treat.

I'm finding Mav is generally good with commands and learning when he knows/see's the treat ready, if not then he goes deaf. Although only had two days of going on walks he suddenly becomes a lot fussier over his treats when out, what he would bend over backwards for inside he just sniffs at and leaves out and about! So again becomes deaf.

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Re: Clickers

Post by LizP on Mon Oct 05 2015, 08:14

[quote="Tezzers"]
LizP wrote:

Just a typo Liz, i`m not fick honestly Laughing


Oh phew, I was wondering for a moment Laughing (not really)

Try and do it without the pull but with a voice request, Terry. The pull can work, but the voice is a stronger signal will be a more solid lesson.

Patrick, think of the 'click' as meaning 'yes'. If you start using the clicker as anything else is can get very confusing for the dog and, if you mix its meaning so that sometimes it's 'yes' and sometimes it's 'come', Mav can't know which you mean. Unless of course you want it to mean 'come' in which case it doesn't mean 'yes'.


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