Clicker Training an older dog

Discussion in 'Clicker Training' started by Mollly, Jan 1, 2016.

  1. Mollly

    Mollly Registered Users

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    Well Molly at 2 years and 3 months is not exactly an old dog, but most people seem to clicker from a much earlier age.

    I tried clicker training when Molly was younger, but I got nowhere with it. I had read Karen Pryor's book. I don't know if it was my ineptitude or the fact that she is a VERY lively dog, but it just didn't work for us despite several attempts on my part.

    Fast forward to this (oops, sorry last ) year and her lead walking was worse than ever. She was hugely distracted by smells (dog wee) and all the food, apples, blackberries etc raining down from above. Our walks became a seris of lunges, with periods of me standing stock still so she couldn't move. It took forever to get anywhere, because I was trying and failing to deal with her poor behaviour and I began to regard walks as a wrestling match.

    In late Autumn I decided to give the clicker one last go before calling in a Trainer/Behaviourist. Our first success came with her leaving luscious smells when told to. It didn't take her too long to figure out that if she left when told to a click and treat would follow. Our course became a little straighter as there was less zooming from side to side in a seris of lurches. She then realised that if the lead was slack, a click followed by a treat appeared. Everytime she was in the zone I clicked and treated. I was practically force feeding the poor dog, I must have sounded like a demented typewriter.

    Her lead walking is so much better now. I can accomplish our walks in a reasonable period of time. The C& T is naturally fading, but every now and then I do an intensive C&T for a short period, just to keep her interested.

    I am now getting fussy. I read a little about shaping and decided that I want her shoulder by my knee when we are walking. So now I only click when she in exactly in position. She is getting the message very rapidly.
     
  2. JulieT

    JulieT Registered Users

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    That's really great, Tina. :) I do think it can help to have a dog that's a little older, and can think straight instead of being totally puppy brained all the time. I honestly think training Charlie has got easier, not harder, as he has got a bit older.
     
  3. Beanwood

    Beanwood Registered Users

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    Really good to hear! Well done on your progress. :)

    We started clicker training Casper at 6 years old, and he loves it! We have moved onto shaping, he was actually much quicker than Benson at the 4 paws in a box game. He loves target touching too...using a salad spoon, tea towel, anything hanging around really! :)
     
  4. Beanwood

    Beanwood Registered Users

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  5. charlie

    charlie Registered Users

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    That's so good Tina and well done Molly :)

    I was persuaded by the forum to try clicker training with Charlie who was about 3 1/2 years old when I started to use a clicker and he loves and responds really well to it. I have taught Charlie lots of things to keep his little brain busy including 4 paws in a box and hand touch! :) Hattie even joins in sometimes and she is 8 years old so no dog is ever too old to learn something new. xx :)
     
  6. MaccieD

    MaccieD Guest

    Well done Tina, great progress with Molly :D
     
  7. Mollly

    Mollly Registered Users

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    I think ( and it is only my opinion and I am happy to be corrected) that they are able to learn in later life because we taught them how to learn as puppies. Does that make sense?
     
  8. Dexter

    Dexter Moderator Forum Supporter

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    I agree with that Tina,I think if they are in the 'habit' of learning when they are young that does carry through.I've always worked with a clicker with Dexter and whilst he doesn't generalise that easily,he gets what i'm teaching him in its simplest form really quickly.I'm glad the leads walks are more enjoyable,the pulling and lunging can be really miserable x
     
  9. edzbird

    edzbird Supporting Member Forum Supporter

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    I have been clicker training with Coco. Like you Tina, we are using it for lead walking. We can now walk comfortably around our residential roads, stopping nicely and sitting to cross roads, and along the narrow pavement of the main road into the village. I have more or less phased out the clicker for nice walking (replacing it with endless chatter), and introduced it for glancing at me (though my timing on this one needs to be sharpened up). Our initial walk up the road still requires C&T for nice walking - he always seems to "forget".
    Coco appears to love clicker training and learns really fast with it.
     
  10. Mollly

    Mollly Registered Users

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    I could have written your post Sue.

    Molly always seems to need a short refresher course when we leave the house. She used to go off a bit towards the end of a walk.

    Clicker training initially requires quite a lot of concentration from both human and dog and can be quite tiring.
     
  11. charlie

    charlie Registered Users

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    I have read the same and it's my experience with my dogs to be absolutely true :) x
     
  12. Mollly

    Mollly Registered Users

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    The clicker training continues to go well.

    Molly is now looking up at me as we walk along. This is not a behaviour I ask for in anyway, however I seem to recall reading somewhere that the on-cued look is a good thing and have been rewarding it with a C& T.

    Can anyone confirm that this is a good thing.
     
  13. charlie

    charlie Registered Users

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    Well done Tina, I certainly reward any looking at me from Hattie & Charlie on or off lead, so yes it is a good thing. Good girl Molly :) x
     
  14. MaccieD

    MaccieD Guest

    I'm finding that Juno is making eye contact more frequently, without asking, as she gets older when we're out for a walk. Gets a treat every time :D
     
  15. edzbird

    edzbird Supporting Member Forum Supporter

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    Oh my! I filmed a walk with Coco last week. I was C&T-ing for slack lead (asked for) and for eye contact (asked for or offered). My clicks are all over the place! I'm surprised Coco has managed to learn anything. I'm blaming the camera angle...
     
  16. Mollly

    Mollly Registered Users

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    You are not the only one getting out of sync.

    I think sometimes my clicker hand takes over

    With that and the flashing blue collar I wouldn't be surprised if the locals thought the aliens had landed.
     

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