Would a clicker help me?

Discussion in 'Clicker Training' started by selina27, Jul 9, 2017.

  1. selina27

    selina27 Registered Users

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    I think the time has come to improve Cassie's lead walking and I would like to get to a stage where I can safely use a slip lead. I missed the opportunity to teach her never to reach the extent of her lead when she was younger and since using a harness I've been lazy with teaching heel if I'm honest, although I do try. I'm having an issue with her at the moment rebelling against lead/harness but this means that I am better using flat collar and lead to literally stamp out this behaviour, so now would be a good time I think to improve loose lead walking.
    The thing is I didn't feel confident using a clicker before as I found that it was a new skill, and I tried the yelping to stop her biting in crocopup stage with disastrous mistiming. But I think now I have got used to event marker using "yes!" so it might be worth a try.
    Is there a way of using clicker to improve this? Another thing with Cassie I have to be careful not to use a very upbeat voice as she soon becomes over threshold, as she is, so to speak, currently in a rather volcanic state :rolleyes: :) sigh.
     
  2. Emily

    Emily Registered Users

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    Hmm. I'm definitely not a very experienced clicker user but I've found it useful for shaping behaviours rather than for things like heel work. I find it's great for being able to mark a very specific moment (e.g the exact moment that her nose touches the desired object).

    For heeling I used a lot of luring and a lot of treats. Admittedly, I am training an obedience heel so I want her nose stuck to me but I used the treats to lure her into the spot I wanted and I used my "yes" and treats to confirm she was in the correct spot.

    Ugh. Story of my life :rolleyes:
     
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  3. Jojo83

    Jojo83 Registered Users

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    There is no need to switch to a clicker if you are happy working with your marker word. The marker word does have to be delivrred in a flat monotonous tone so I advise my clients to use 'click' rather than yes as we tend to out more emphasis/excitement in our voice with 'yes' when they do something we like :). I also train that you clamp the lead in your hand and fix this to a point around your tummy button. This had does not mive from this point :). Rake a step or two with Cassie by your heel, mark and reward. For walking in a heel type position I reward on the floor by the heel do you reward for the position. Gradually increase the number of steps before each reward and once you get to say 10 steps or twenty start mixing up the reward schedule so Cassie doesn't know when the reward will come which then encourages them to stay close. Make sure you also introduce a release word as heel walking shouldn't be for great distances but yoy can use this methid just the same for loose lead training :)
     
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  4. snowbunny

    snowbunny Registered Users

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    Why do you say that? I don't - I use a consistent tone, but it's bright and sparky. I've seen in Emily Larlham's videos where uses a marker word instead of a click, it's bright, too. Definitely not flat.

    I personally think the clicker (or equivalent vocal event maker) has limited value with heel work past the very initial stages of capturing the position, or if you want to add real precision later. I use what I'd describe as a continuation marker instead. Basically a "good girl", letting her know she's doing the right thing and to keep on doing that in order to earn her reward. Compared to a click or verbal event marker which usually denotes the end of a task, so your dog would be free to break position after the marker.
     
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  5. Oberon

    Oberon Supporting Member Forum Supporter

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    Yeah, the verbal marker just has to be consistent in sound/tone. Doesn't have to be delivered in a expressionless or flat way.

    For heeling I reward where I want the head to be - by my left thigh, not on the ground. And from the left hand is best too (if the treat is delivered from the right hand the dog can start to swing round the front of your body, anticipating the treat coming from the right).
     
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  6. Jojo83

    Jojo83 Registered Users

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    A clicker delivers a flat consistent tone which tells the dog a reward is coming. A bright happy reward marker can trigger excitement in the dog being trained which is not necessarily beneficial for the trainer and dog. I am very aware of methods that Emily uses and as with most things in dog training there is more than one way to train. If you want to use a bright happy marker word that is your choice but not something I advocate with clients.
    Not if you've trained a release marker.
     
  7. blackandwhitedog

    blackandwhitedog Registered Users

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    I did use a clicker for heel training, though not consistently. The method I used was to click and treat when Jess looked at me, so it wasn't exactly training a perfect heel position and it wouldn't work if you want an obedience-standard heel, because it does train the dog to look at you. But for some reason Jess responded much better to this method than anything else we tried (stop for pulling, turn around for pulling, reward for one step at heel, then two steps etc). It seemed to really work for her, so that's what I used. What we've ended up with is a pretty good loose-lead technique but not a strong heel. I still sometimes use this technique, with the clicker, if she's a bit wound up. It brings her focus back very quickly.
     
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  8. Atemas

    Atemas Registered Users

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    I don't use a clicker for loose lead walking. I use the word 'yes' when she is walking by by side. We kind of get into a rhythm where I have got the lead very loose and in one hand and she is by my side and I say 'good girl yes'. I do say it happily as she makes me happy. She is looking at me or at least I don't fool myself it is me, more like the treat coming out the treat bag and it's as if she is smiling :). I always get her to sit when we leave the house (so I can lock door etc) and then get the rhythm going straight away - hard to explain but if we start well, she keeps it going and we walk at a good speed but calmly. I probably haven't explained that very well. I find I am chatting away to her quietly more or less the whole time and I always make a gentle fuss of her when we get back.
     
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  9. blackandwhitedog

    blackandwhitedog Registered Users

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    Also, just to add: I did find that using a clicker was more effective in this heel/lead-walking technique than a "yes" or "good girl" marker. Jess also gets worked up very easily, so the neutral tone of a clicker does seems to work well for her.
     
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  10. Boogie

    Boogie Supporting Member Forum Supporter

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    We are not allowed to use clickers, or I would.

    I make my reward marker a short, sharp 'good'. I try to be as consistent as possible.

    :)
     
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  11. Oberon

    Oberon Supporting Member Forum Supporter

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    Our club has just introduced clickers as sort of compulsory in all our new classes. Previously people were taught to use a verbal marker but most people are pretty slack about remembering to use it. With a clicker in hand people are more likely to actually mark behaviour.

    As far as release words and clicks go... I've taught a release word (also v useful for when 'run off to do your own thing' is the reward) which ends behaviour. And I use a click at the end of a behaviour - that is, when I click, the behaviour is complete and I expect it to stop and my dog to look to me for his treat.

    I also use a 'keep going signal' which is basically me talking in an encouraging way (eg "clever boy, going well, clever boy"). The 'keep going signal' isn't a marker as such - it tells the dog 'keep trying, you're on track, more of this please, a click will be yours at some point'. It's very useful.
     
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  12. selina27

    selina27 Registered Users

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    Thank you all very much for your replies, they are all very useful, plenty of food for thought. As usual, I need to clarify exactly what I'm asking of her.
     
  13. Rosie

    Rosie Registered Users

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    Gosh, I sympathise with this! I'm just going through the business of trying to train loose-lead, and I'm using a clicker (probably not very expertly). It seems to be working, at least in a no-distractions environment.
     
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  14. selina27

    selina27 Registered Users

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    How are you doing this Rosie? Do you click when the lovely Pongo is in the right place or to get his attention if he's in the wrong place?
     
  15. Oberon

    Oberon Supporting Member Forum Supporter

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    Not trying to answer for Rosie but....

    It should be this^^^.


    Definitely never this^^^. Use a click only to mean 'you have done exactly the right thing'. You get more of what you click. If you don't want more of it, don't click it :) So, if you click when he is in the 'wrong place' he will go to the 'wrong place' more and more.

    Think about what you want to improve, which is what you want to click for. Try to work on one type of thing at a time. So, you could be clicking for 'loose lead'. Or you could be clicking for him being in a location you like.
     
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  16. selina27

    selina27 Registered Users

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    Thank you, yes exactly this.
    I get muddled I think between training heel and when it is ok to be on looselead. I'm not sure how to make the distinction between the two for her. Her actual loose lead walking is fine unless there is a distraction, so this is what I need to improve, so that I can confidently use a slip lead.
     
  17. Rosie

    Rosie Registered Users

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    Yes, I've had to think hard about this. I've realised I want two different things from Pongo:
    - a nice reliable loose-lead for the rare occasions that he needs to be on lead. This is pretty close to a "heel", although not an obedience-standard heel.
    - what we call "nice pack-walking" when he is off lead but I want him to stay fairly close to me (a few yards or so).

    I'm actively training the first (using clicker). The second is less of a formal thing, but I'm rewarding it with voice and occasional treat.

    I've also realised I probably need to train a reliable "sit down right now and right here", associated with lead walking. This is for when we are on the narrow lanes round us and a car comes along, I need to get Pongo to sit right into the verge so I can stand between him and the car without losing my toes. This is work in progress, and I think I probably need to do it with some cars rather than just train it "in principle". But the clicker works really well for it.
     
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  18. Rosie

    Rosie Registered Users

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    I didn't mean to post that multiple times. Not sure why it happened! Perhaps a mod could sort it for me....?
     
  19. Beanwood

    Beanwood Registered Users

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    As if by magic! :)
     
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  20. Rosie

    Rosie Registered Users

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    Definitely only when he is in the right place!
    He gets a click (and a treat) for every few yards of nice loose-lead walking (which more or less means a "heel"). I'm very gradually extending the distance between clicks. We also do lots of about-turns and zig-zags so he has to be ready to follow me - he gets a click and treat for each of those too.
    If he drifts forward to the extent of the lead I stop. He gets a click and treat when he takes the tension off the lead and comes back to me. Then we go on again.
    All this works very well in a low-distraction environment, and I'm pleased with him. I'd love to think you'll see a difference at the next SW pack outing, but I'm sure you won't - that environment will be far, far too much for him yet!
     

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