I have a bright and quick 11 month old mix pup. I think he is a mix of Boxer/Am. Bulldog/Black mouth cur/pitbull. He weights in at 60lbs and is pure muscle. I have trained dogs in the past with praise, and food rewards, but this guy has me a bit stumped. While he is not totally food motivated, he does like his treats.
What I am having a problem with is maintaining his attention. I know, he is less than a year old and does have a short (blink of an eye attention span). I would hope to have a bit more than that.
So for those of you that clicker train. How exactly do you do it?
We have sit, wait, down, shake (both paws) over and stay down pat. I just want him to expand his attention. I maybe asking too much of his age. I would love to get him into agility, he likes the climbing and challenge of it, and when he is older do some service/therapy dog training.
So clicker trainers. How and when do I apply the click, do I still use food as a reward?
Or am I expecting too much from my pup and I should just wait a little till he 'matures".
Agility would be a great idea, he could even do it at this age, just with low jumps and taking it easy. It will take him about a year to be able to show, so I would go ahead and start if you want.
I live with a dog with NO attention span. Why? He's smart as hell. He cannot for the life of him understand why I keep asking him to do this crap he already knows how to do. Makes agility training difficult since as he gets it immediately, it takes me a couple of tries.
I keep all training short and sweet with him. 5 minutes max.
The clicker routine is ask for the action, click, treat. If you ask for a sit, as SOON as that dog sits its a click, then a treat.
You don't have to use a clicker, you can use a word like YES or GOOD! It's simply a matter of marking the behavior.
But it all has to be done quickly, timing is an issue and it can be tricky at first. If you can get into a good obedience class they will help you with it.
I have used clickers on my dogs. I have australian shepherds, one since he was a puppy and one rescued about 2 years ago who is very hyper and short attention spanned. The one from a puppy is running the excellent level in agility and the rescue is now ready to try to trial.
For attention span, I use a watch me and gradually expand the time. (String cheese in the mouth works well.) I say watch me and have them look at my face. Every once in a while I spit a piece of cheese to them. It may sound odd but they learn to watch your face. I may have them watch me for just a few seconds, but gradually increase the time. If they look away, I just say Watch me again. Also I have used the clicker to click their return to attention. For instance, if they look away but look back without the watch me, then I click and treat.
Hope this helps.
\"I never play horseshoes \'cause Mother taught us not to throw our clothes around,\" ~ Mr. Ed