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Is there any reason why I should not think clicker training is an awesome thing?

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  • #21
    Originally posted by ElisLove View Post
    I tried clicker training with my horse. I watched someone who did clicker training a lot with her horse and she had lots of success. I tried it with my LOVES FOOD mare, (lady said I was doing everything right) but after less than 5 mins my mare would completely ignore me. She would stand there, staring straight forward and even if I tried jamming food in her face she wouldn't take it. I could jump around, wave my arms, yell (not at her just trying to get her attention) and she would just stand there, staring ahead.
    She also refused her first fences ever the day we tried clicker training before a lesson.
    Apparently, even though this mare LOVED food and treats, she would NOT work for food.
    However I have done it on and off with my dogs and they enjoy it.
    I have a dog who is afraid of clickers. He LOVES FOOD but the click sound scares the living crap out of him. He's happy to work for food, but only on vocal reinforcement: "Yes!" or "Goodboy!" So I use vocal praise + treats, and it does work. Just this evening, I was thrilled to see that my "Heinz. NO!" followed by a "Come" command (followed by a treat) redirected my GSD to ignore the dog on the street and run to me for goodies.

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    • #22
      Well, a timely topic as I just signed up for a basic obedience class with my dog as I wanted to get her out ect. I found out after the fact that the class is based on clicker training. I was immediately disappointed as my mom, who for years and years was a top Schutzhund trainer, has always poked fun of it saying it is for people who have no timing ect. For that reason I was always dismissive of it.

      Anyways, I am no dog training expert but it seems like it's a great system for the average dog owner that often doesn't understand basic training principles. The clicker method seems to make it very easy for everyone. It makes sense to "load" a word (or a noise). I always think we take it for granted that horses know what "good boy" means, that they know that a pat on the neck is a good thing. I have always tried to teach them that those two things are associated with treats at first that way they eventually think of something positive when you pat them or tell them they are good. So I think that part is smart.

      Of course you can just say "good" instead of clicking (or any word for that matter) but I think so many people have a tendency to use a multitude of different words, repeat words , say them at the wrong time ect ect ect Anyways, I am staying open minded and having fun with it.
      www.svhanoverians.com

      "Simple: Breeding,Training, Riding". Wolfram Wittig.

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      • #23
        Originally posted by Donella View Post
        Well, a timely topic as I just signed up for a basic obedience class with my dog as I wanted to get her out ect. I found out after the fact that the class is based on clicker training. I was immediately disappointed as my mom, who for years and years was a top Schutzhund trainer, has always poked fun of it saying it is for people who have no timing ect. For that reason I was always dismissive of it.
        Michael Ellis, who is a top Schutzhund and Mondioring trainer uses Operant Conditioning. You can see some of his dogs and watch his explaination on youtube.

        Denise Fenzi also uses clicker training and OC, and she is a top competitor in both AKC Obedience and protection sports.

        Cisu's OTCH run, she got a 198.

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5yMBn9_PP-Y

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        • #24
          and actually Denise says using the clicker is more difficult and requires better timing.

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          • #25
            I'm pretty decent at coming up with "games," but when it comes to getting, um, "normal trained dog" behaviors, I always draw a blank.
            from the dog's perspective it's all tricks n games. They don't know the difference, so why invent one in your own mind? For example, Silva Trckmann (not sure how to spell) has a lovely DVD out entitled "heeling is just another trick", which is very true.

            Most of the top competitors in all sports use clicker-training these days, or at least use the idea of marker-training, because it works so incredibly well, far better than any other method.

            Clicker training well is highly skilled endeavor- really good clicker trainers have incredible timing, and a deep understanding of when to push and when to back off, clear knowledge of how animals learn; so anyone poking fun at it because they think it requires no skill is just uninformed. Also many highly skilled clicker trainers have amazing abilities to toss tiny treats to the correct location with great accuracy, because placement of the reward is very important. Of course the less- skilled persons can also use it and make some progress too, but as you get more skilled of course your results get better, same as in any other training method.


            I've clicker-trained horses. It works well. With horses, though, you should first approach them as if they are "cross-over" dogs. I don't if you are familiar with this concept? dogs (or any animal) who is trained using traditional punishment techniques become "passive". They've learned the safest thing to do, when confused, is to stop doing anything and wait. Freeze up. Sit there and stare at you blankly. Because they are afraid they will be punished if they guess wrong and do the wrong thing. Unfortunately, most of traditional horse-training involves applying lots and lots of punishment to horses, so they learn to be "passive". Which, of course, is the exact opposite of what you want when you are using the principles of clicker-training- you want the animal to offer behaviors. With "cross-over" animals often you start out with heavy luring to get them to break out of their shell.

            as for food, no, food is not an essential component of clicker-training. What is essential is to give the animal something it really wants. I've trained some dogs who really aren't all that interested in food, but yes, they really wanted their ball/ tug toy or whatever, so you click and give toy, or belly rubs. You can even use it with "environmental reinforcers", like chasing squirrels- dog does what you want, you click and release dog to chase squirrel. If you don't want to use food with your fat dog, or your pushy horse, then you just have to come up with some other motivator. Food is often the "lazy trainer's" choice, and sometimes using food vs. some other motivator can actually hinder learning.

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            • #26
              An interesting side effect of CT is that the behavior spills over into other places. For instance you might find yourself ignoring bad behavior and marking/reinforcing good behavior with everybody and everything.

              Paula
              He is total garbage! Quick! Hide him on my trailer (Petstorejunkie).

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              • #27
                Paula, like my husband and teenage boys? So far only wine has allowed me to ignore their bad behaviors. And all three are food motivated. I need two clickers because one is going to wear out very fast. I also need bigger pockets for all the treats, and separate pockets for the dogs and horses and humans. And what about cats, I have one very food motivated cat, but his only positive behaviors are sleeping and using the litterbox.

                Joking, of course. A little.

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                • #28
                  This reminds me of "how to train your husband" using dolphin training techniques

                  The original:
                  http://www.nytimes.com/2006/06/25/fa...pagewanted=all

                  I am not sure about training husbands, but I am convinced that animal trainers have better behaved children. All of my riding instructors' kids have been well behaved, as have those of dog handlers that I know.

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                  • #29
                    Originally posted by Sunsets View Post
                    I have a dog who is afraid of clickers. He LOVES FOOD but the click sound scares the living crap out of him. He's happy to work for food, but only on vocal reinforcement: "Yes!" or "Goodboy!" So I use vocal praise + treats, and it does work. Just this evening, I was thrilled to see that my "Heinz. NO!" followed by a "Come" command (followed by a treat) redirected my GSD to ignore the dog on the street and run to me for goodies.
                    They make softer-sounding clickers too if you wanted to still give that a try.
                    It's a small world -- unless you gotta walk home.

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                    • #30
                      I love clicker training. It worked spectacularly well with my 2 older dogs, and is going mostly well with my problem child. We shall see how it goes with the new puppy when she arrives
                      Riding the winds of change

                      Heeling NRG Aussies
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