Clicker training - a whole new world of fun

Discussion in 'Clicker Training' started by Harley Quinn, Aug 15, 2017.

  1. Harley Quinn

    Harley Quinn Registered Users

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    We are very fortunate to have a pup (now 10 1/2 months old) that is a pleasure, especially so with the new harness, so I have the luxury of using the clicker training for fun mostly.

    I was going to train Harley to put away a toy for her final class of clicker training but I have decided to change it to her handing me her lead. A few of you mentioned it as a trick and last class she offered the lead to me so I feel like it will be easier to have her show a trick that she is already a bit comfortable with, and truthfully, it is my anxiety that is the problem her and not Harley.

    Over the last two weeks have done a few sessions with her and she really takes to it like a duck to water, she is keen and focused and really smart at figuring out options.
    Please add suggestions or criticism, I would appreciate it:
    Each session lasted about 2 - 5 minutes - only focused on this.
    I started with her own lead. I didn't put her harness on, I just used the lead and held it from my hand, dropping straight to the floor. I C&T every time she touched or licked the lead. She didn't offer to take it.
    Next session I started with that for a few times to make sure she was still on track and then I let it fall to the floor and C&T every time she touched or licked it.
    Next session I started with a few of the above and then held the click until she picked the lead up in her mouth - C&T I continued with that until she consistently picked up the lead (clearly) from the floor.
    Most recent session, as before - a quick recap- then I held the click until she would pick up the lead and hold it in her mouth for a few seconds. Then C&T.
    At this point I can easily reach down and take the lead from her - so the trick can be complete in that way but I can also ask her to "give" which is when she brings something to me. I am going to see if she will do that in the next session but if it is too much I will stick with what we have. Because I still have to combine it with her wearing the harness and then picking up her lead.

    I am very proud of her, she is a lovely dog to work with, she is so expressive - she signs and grunts and groans if she is trying to figure something out.

    Wish me luck
     
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  2. charlie

    charlie Registered Users

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    Harley that sounds like amazing work to me. I'm not the most competent clicker trainer so someone will help but I was wondering if you could help me. I remember you saying that Harley will pick something up like a bag and deliver it to a person in another room, so my question is how did you clicker train that? I would love to be able to teach Charlie just for fun as he is a quick learner with the clicker. Thanks xx :)
     
  3. Oberon

    Oberon Supporting Member Forum Supporter

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    Sounds good!

    The test of your teaching is in the dog's behaviour. If the dog is engaged and is making progress in your intended direction then you're doing it right! :)

    Making the shift from touching the lead to picking it up was a big leap and so it's a bit of luck that Harley made that leap. For some dogs that leap would be too much and they would not know what to do next at that point. For dogs that get stuck one thing to try is shifting for a minute to a different already learned exercise that involves the key part of the desired behaviour. So that might be offering the dog something that she already knows to hold in her mouth (dummy, ball, toy....whatever she has already learned to pick up or take and hold). Do some repetitions of that (click and treat all correct efforts) then switch back to offering the lead in the same way you offered the thing she picked up. Wait for her to figure it out. Go back to the familiar hold/pick up object if needed. Hopefully when offered the lead again she will trial an approximation of the holding behaviour with the lead and you can C&T it.
     
  4. Harley Quinn

    Harley Quinn Registered Users

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    Thanks for the reply @Oberon, and this will answer your question slightly too, @charlie - from the start Harley would pick up her food bowl in excitement (after a meal) so we added the cue "take it" to her picking up the bowl. We didn't click & treat, we would just say "take it" and then "bring" and she would follow us around with the bowl in her mouth. We then transferred that to a toy or anything we want her to pick up and bring. She naturally wants to do that so it really helps. This was long before we knew about target training.So when I placed the lead on the floor I waited to see what she would do and when she picked it up a few times I added the cue "take". She consistently picked the lead up then.

    @charlie DH and I started with a toy and handing it to her and saying " take it to ... (mommy or daddy)" the other person would be a few feet away and call her by saying "bring it here". Harley would get showered with praise. We did that a few times before stretching the distance. Now it is her "job". When DH (usually gets home after me) comes through the door she is waiting, he will give her his wallet or sometimes even cell phone and say "take it to mommy". She will carry whatever she is given, whether it is a grocery bag or take out food :)

    But from the start Harley would bring us "presents" like a shoe...or a sock - luckily she doesn't chew things like that but she knows it gets her a thank you and a love so carrying things is her talent:)

    @charlie - good luck with Charlie, I am sure he will pick it up (excuse the pun) soon and I would love to hear about his progress.

    I also wanted to say that I am a nervous clicker - at the last class the trainer was standing by us, I double clicked from nervousness, three times and I clicked completely randomly too. So I am not a good clicker, luckily Harley is forgiving.
     
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  5. Harley Quinn

    Harley Quinn Registered Users

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    Harley was excellent at class and did her trick of picking up her lead beautifully. She holds her composure much better than I do and didn't show any nerves.
    She has also mastered all the tricks we were taught during the course very well. We are super proud of her, and it is awesome to have her focus so well during the session. DH came with to watch and she even managed to stay focused on me regardless. At one stage I unclipped her lead so that I could send her over a low jump and to the mat and she did it all so well.
    She is a very brave and confident young lab. We couldn't be prouder. :heart:
     
  6. charlie

    charlie Registered Users

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    @Harley Quinn Firstly very well done to Harley for doing her trick so well and infront of DH that shows a lot of focus. Also well done to you it's not easy doing this stuff infront of other people which is nerve wracking. Secondly thank you for the help with the taking a toy trick too, I am going to get on with that :) xx
     
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  7. edzbird

    edzbird Registered Users

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    You both did really well. Particularly you, dogs don't really get the nerves we humans get, so a massive well done.
     
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  8. Beanwood

    Beanwood Registered Users

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    Well done! :)
     
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  9. Harley Quinn

    Harley Quinn Registered Users

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    Thank you all:) I keep thinking how lucky we have been. So much could have gone wrong with my foolish choice to buy a puppy from a dodgy start and we have kept our expectations low but wow she has exceeded them all by so far. But I must say that we met her mother and she was such a lovely, kind and warm dog and the older Harley gets, the more I see her grow into that dog too.
    There is nothing like being the focus of Harley's attention when we are at class or doing some work at home and to see the eagerness in her eyes.
     
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