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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Northern California

    How to load the clicker

    Everything about Loading the clicker
    (From now on when you see c/t it means Click and treat)
    Clickers are used to tell the dog they did something right and they have earned the reward. We use treats and praise ("Good Boy/Good Girl") as a reward. We always use a treat first, then you can praise. Clicker is a very quick and more efficient way in communicating to your dog that they did something right. Using your voice isn*t as efficient.
    And here*s why: Dogs hear us talking all the time, they hear the T.V. and radio also, they start to tune out everything unless they recognize something they know, like "Cookie" or "Go Bye-Bye", pretty soon everything else is tuned out, it becomes white noise to your dog.
    Verbal praise is not always distinct. Words can run together, the tone of your praise can vary, praising can, a lot of times, bring on strong emotions in your dog, that make it more difficult to keep him focused on his training, that is, he gets excited, and switches out of learning mode to excitement mode. These strong emotions are what makes praise a good reward, but not a great form of communication.
    Clickers are very distinct and easy to hear, it is precise, clear and free of emotion, with one click it tells your dog everything they need: they earned the treat, they did it correctly. To make sure it doesn*t become white noise, you always have to treat when you click, so be careful what you click, you will be rewarding certain behaviors you may not want to reward.
    Dogs learn when they are in the act, they communicate thru body language, olfactory (smell) and tone. So when we add the cue word it will come as the dog is in the act of doing a trick, and he must be at least 95% reliable in doing the action to add our English cue word.
    In training, timing is important. By the time you have used a spoken word like "good boy" the dog may already be doing another behavior, if you get the treat to them a few seconds too late, you may be reinforcing a behavior other than the one you wanted
    The clicker gives you a bit of leeway in getting the treat to the dog. Once they understand they did it right and that you clicked, they know clicking signifies the end of that behavior and a treat is coming, most of the time the dog will come to you or follow you to get the treat after they hear the click. So you have a few seconds to administer the treat after you click, (maximum of 3 seconds).
    Timing: Don*t be intimidated by this. Everyone has to practice to become accurate, but most people get it pretty easily, also it is a very forgiving method of training, you might accidentally reinforce the wrong behavior a few times while in the learning mode, but it just means the dog gets a few extra treats. That*s okay, just don*t keep making the same mistakes.
    Here are some ways to practice to become more clicker accurate, (dog NOT involved with this):
    Drop a ball and as it hits the ground: click
    Toss a ball in the air, as it reaches it*s highest point: click
    Walk around, as your left foot hit*s the ground: click, then do the right foot: click
    Loading the clicker (with dog): Dog has to $#@!ociate in their mind (loading it in their brain) that click means treat. In a quiet non distracting area of your home, take 10 treats (this is a session) and click and treat your dog, he doesn*t have to do anything, just listen to the sound of the clicker and get a treat, don*t scare them with it, put it behind your back or under your leg, DO NOT CLICK IN YOUR DOGS FACE. Do at least 3-4 sessions a day. Have the clicker in the same hand as the leash or step on the leash so you*ll have 2 hands to work with your dog.
    After 4 sessions, test your dog to see if he is loaded yet, when he gets distracted, have a treat, and click to see if he looks at you or comes towards you, if he does, give him the treat, if not, give him the treat, you*ll need to do a few more sessions. Once he is loaded you can stop doing the sessions so much, just maybe do it a couple of times a day until the next cl$#@!.
    Written by: Master Trainer Drgnrdr 2004 (revised 2007)
    Disclaimer: Authors words only.
    Last edited by Drgnrdr; 05-19-2009 at 01:14 PM.

  2. This forum is great it seems everyone contributes to it with some great information.

    Although I did try reading this all but it needs a few more paragraphs if you've though about editing it.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Northern California
    if you would like to add something go ahead. post it.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    I love this sticky! I just bought a clicker and have been looking at like..."Now what?" This was a very informative thread and I really appreciate it Drgnrdr that you took the time to post this!!! :)

  5. #5
    Drgnrdr, Thanks! Michele fwd'd your link to me this will help for sure! :)

  6. Speaking of clickers, my 18 mo PB Lola is afraid of the clicker. We are taking her to agility cl$#@! and they use the clicker all the time. She is OK with the sound in the cl$#@! but when we get home and practice with the clicker she hides in her crate and starts shaken. Any suggestions to help her overcome her fear??
    Last edited by lovmylola; 10-22-2009 at 12:30 AM. Reason: adding text

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Northern California
    get some real high value treats something she absolutely salivates over, warm bits of hots even, wrap the clicker in a thick towel, muffle it, put it behind your back, NEVER in your dogs face this scares them alot of times, it may sound real loud at home if your outside for cl$#@!
    if she still reacts try a ball point pen, it's usually less noisy again muffle it at first

  8. Thanks Drgnrdr.

  9. Very helpful thread =] My clicker is currently in the mail on its way to me & I pick my baby girl up next monday, the 11th
    When should I start training her with the clicker (she will only be 8 weeks when I pick her up) & how long do you think will it take to potty train her & do u think it's wise to walk her outside at 8 weeks

    Sorry for all the questions lol just want to make sure

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Northern California
    not out anywhere you don't know who has walked by, she needs her shots to take her out in the street/sidewalk area
    you load the clicker as soon as you get her, use her kibble 10-15 pces 3-4 times a day, use it to "mark" (sound let's her know she did the correct behavior and then treat then praise her) when she goes potty in the correct spot
    Read the potty tips
    it depends on your dog on how long and how vigilant you are about not letting her make any mistakes in your home and how the breeder started the training and how her mom started it, see, too many variables to have a diffinitive answer
    she has to go 2 months straight with NO accidents to declare her potty trained anyway
    If you have place that starts training them at 10-12 weeks, make sure they sanitize and disinfect the area, they check shot records and a health check from a VET, watch a cl$#@! see if the trainer seems to know what they are doing, and the owners are learning, engaged with them, not just talking amongst them selfs and not paying attention because they are bored, or are they engaging their pups and rewarding them, make sure they use pos reinforcment tech. on the pups
    check your local PetSmart if you have one, they have enclosed training areas to keep others out, or check in your phone book see if there is another enclosed training school around
    it's never to early to start training/socializing right, train with someone good, even if you know how to train all the basics, giving them the benefit of safe low risk outtings and working around distractions are invaluable
    check out Dog Star Daily for some tips and such
    enjoy your new pup

  11. Thanks, will do =]

  12. should you start loading the clicker before they know ay other commands. Any time my 4 month old sees treats he gets very excited how do I keep him calm while trying to load the clicker

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Steal's Momma View Post
    should you start loading the clicker before they know ay other commands. Any time my 4 month old sees treats he gets very excited how do I keep him calm while trying to load the clicker
    yes, you load the clicker before you introduce any commands or behaviors. The purpose of loading the clicker is only to teach the dog that click=treat. You want to get the dog to the point where every time they hear the click, they expect a treat (even though you eventually phase out so many treats, you still want the dog to understand that click=something good).

  14. This site has a lot of good, thorough information on clicker training.

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