[nagdu] Starting with clicker training?
tami at poodlemutt.com
Tue Jul 8 22:31:19 UTC 2014
Well, I'd been training by applying general principles, at least, of
operant conditioning for years before the clicker came along. So adding
in the clicker when I got to it was a question of timing and then being
amazed I had ever survived without the thing. /lol/ I had to practice
the timing a bit, because it really is that much faster than verbal praise.
So it's best to start with the easy stuff -- touch, sit, down -- for
both you and your dog just to get the timing down. Teaching touch comes
with training your dog that the clicker marks success, with reward
(treat or whatever) to follow. For touch, I start by holding the treat
in my palm, then click when the dog touches the treat until the dog gets
the connection. Then I partially obscure the treat with my thumb and
repeat until the dog gets it. Then I fold my ring finger and pinky over
the treat in my palm, holding my first two fingers out straight to begin
teaching the touch comman, again clicking and releasing the treat. How
many repetitions it requires for the dog to make the connection between
the click and the treat varies by dog, but it doesn't take much.
Touch is also the behavior most VI clicker trainers I know use in place
of the eye contact and visual feedback sighted clicker-trainers talk
about. In other words, you know you have your dog's attention when the
nose touches your fingers.
Sit seems to be the next easiest one for both partners, to cement the
connection between the click and the reward while you firm up your
timing. Of course, Jenny already knows how to sit, but it will be fun
and start getting you both thinking clicker and positive reinforcement.
For more complex behaviors, it's really a matter of breaking them down
into smaller increments that you can teach individually and chain
together into the end behavior. So for find, touch is the starting place
for me. The dog touches my two fingers, so I can put those fingers on
the item I want the dog to find and click, then slowly take the finger
target out of the loop by clicking when the dog touches the object. Some
trainers recommend a certain number of repetitions before naming the
object with the find command, but I tend to just include the verbal
command from the start. Mitzi poodle is super verbal, so I swear I can
mention things in passing and she will find them months later. My
husband's pet mutt learns the hand signal long before she clues in there
is a word that means something. She's quicker the older she gets, but I
still have to remind myself she's not Mitzi when teaching her something
new. /lol/ Anyway, whether you add the verbal cue sooner or later to go
with the hand cue depends on the dog, I guess.
Clicker training can sound insanely complicated at first, but once you
wrap your mind around the concept that you are communicating what you
want the dog to do and rewarding the dog for doing what you want it to
do, it becomes very, very simple. Also, the more you work with your dog,
the more the dog will offer up new behaviors, so you can reward the one
that works and there you go.
Dealing with rebellion (as I know well!) can be more complicated,
especially when you're learning to think of solutions in terms of
positive reinforcement. But that, too, is a learning process and coming
up with the solution that works does feel good. /smile/
On 07/08/2014 12:09 PM, Daryl Marie via nagdu wrote:
> As I am moving away from the correction/choke collar, I am considering using clicker training in my partnership with Jenny. Has anyone started clicker training on their own? Any pointers? Dos and Don'ts? I know Raven posted www.clickertraining.com as a great resource, but it feel really really overwhelming!
> Daryl and Jenny
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