Clicker Training for Dogs"Clicker Training - A New Technology": An article by Mr.Venkatesh, an ardent fan of
Clicker training began in 1992 with a panel discussion between trainers and scientists. Followed by "Dont shoot the dog" seminar conducted by Karen Pryor, Gary Wilkes and marine mammal trainer Ingrid Shallenberger. From then on there has not been any stop. Seminars followed with books, videos and finally through Internet where there are a number of sites hosted and e mail lists. Email lists like "click for Success" on the one list is very active.
Clicker training is associated with dolphin training. Dolphins are wild sea animals and training them never involves punishment to which they will never obey. No chokes or leash was involved with their training. The simply responded to positive reinforcement - marker signal with a whistle. In Clicker training for dogs, the marker signal was replaced with a clicker.
1) Reinforcer: A reinforcer is anything that occurring in conjunction with an act, tends to increase the probability that the act will occur again. Reinforcement strengthens behavior. There are two kinds of reinforcer
Positive Reinforcer: - (+R) means that you give something desirable to the dog to reinforce ("reward") the behavior that occurred (dog sits, gets biscuit)
Negative reinforcer:- (-R) means that you take something undesirable away in order to reinforce the behavior just occurred. A leash/choke chain is a negative reinforcer. The dog sits to avoid the jerk on the choke and a hand pushing its rump into the ground. This reinforces the dog to sit as and when the sit command is given to avoid the nagging choke.
2) Primary Reinforcer (PR): is something the dog "naturally" want. It can be food, play, run or romp.
3) Conditioned Reinforcer(CR): is something the dog is "taught to like" by pairing it with a primary reinforcer. Anything can serve as a conditioned reinforcer, voice, whistle or a clicker.
Let us put all three definitions together. Clicker training is all about positive reinforcement with conditioned reinforcement. Simply it means that dog is taught to associate the sound of a clicker to make them think that something good is following. Clicker sound is like saying "Good boy".
The magic device: The clicker really is the magic device. It is this small device which is hand held and can be present all the time, it is always reliable in delivering the same sound, it is immediate and a dog is always able to recognize it.
Where can you get one? Clicker is available anywhere in India, excepting we dont have such clean, finished colorful plastic box clickers. Metal clicker should be easy to source, I picked up a handful in Chennai, priced at Rs.1 each. But these are rugged and are most unreliable, as they it doesnt have long life.
First Session: The first session may be only a few minutes but in a peace and quiet place. The living room is just fine. Wait until you and the dog can be alone. Put the treats in a dish or bowl where you can reach but the dog cannot. Always be prepared to move around and not just sit in your sofa or chair. Some dogs are not food motivated thats fine once they catch the meaning of clickers, a zest for treats will develop naturally.
Get your treats ready, click and simultaneously hold out a treat right under your dogs nose so it can get it easily. Move around but repeat the click and treats as often. These few clicks and treats are to help the dog understand what clicker means. Always keep your treat hand quiet or behind your back just out of sight of the dog. Always give the click first and the treat next. Now click and toss the treat on the floor or onto a plate or just let the dog search for the treat. You are showing the dog that click always mean food is coming. But it may not be in the same place everytime and it may not come right away. Do these two or three times.
What Ive discussed above is a simple but effective way to start with clicker training. Clicker training can be involved to train your dog to perform the complete cycle of obedience trials. If youre not a show enthusiast, Clicker training can be used to socialize your dog to day today activities, like grooming. But the essence to clicker training is that you, as a dog owner has to do the training. Remember this training method might look as learning game for you but an exciting game actually for the dog. The right time to start this training is NOW.
This training teaches your dog to sit and accept petting only when it is stationary. This eradicates the bad behavior of jumping up on your visitor and licking his face.
Click and place the pan for the puppies to eat. This when repeated few times will make the puppies understand the meaning of clicker. To this when each puppy is picked up for clicker lessons a finger dipped in a thick paste of puppy feed can act as a treat. Do not concentrate on inducing behavior. Just pick up something the puppy happens to do, such as lifting the front paw and click as the paw goes up. It will take ten or more clicks for the puppy to understand and making it understand to lift paw on purpose. It will be amazing to note your puppy coming in front of you offering to raise its paw and staring directly into your eyes as if asking "Hey look Im raising my paws, wheres the click and treat". You can now add your cue "Shake Hands" just as it offers to raise its paws. You can catch up on a lot of such behaviors for each of the puppy like jumping on all fours. It is for you to catch the right behavior you want and reinforce it. This training process can really turn the puppy into an observant learner.
The list can go on and on. Clicker training can be used for show dogs, which are too timid and shy to accept a judges hand on their body and rump. I remember an instance in this years FCI/AKU Dog show at Chennai. A Lab that was competing in the same class with Isha was looking good with good conformation, outside the ring. But this dog was very scared when the judge approached him. Even the handler could not control it.Finally it was disqualified for some reason. I read an article on the internet which said that in a similar situation a dog was clicker trained to avoid this bad behavior. It was clicked and treated at first when the owners hand was on the dog. Slowly clicks and treats were increased with each stroke. Gradually the clicker was faded out and the dog went onto win the conformation.
Please go through the links mentioned below, particularly Karen Pryors www.clickertraining.com Learn and practice the 15 rules she mentions. Gary Wilkes and Lana Mitchell are other few persons whose sites need to be visited. Register with Clicker training list on Onelist.com. Look for the list "click for success" to register. Here you can interact with a lot of clicker trainers, who are discussing a lot of training related issues from heel walking in obedience, herding lessons, weaving pattern in agility and lot more.
Please write your reviews and interests and specific areas where you need clicker training to help your dog. Clicker training can be used from 8-week-old puppies to 16-year-old dogs. Your dog is one of them, so dont let him miss out the opportunity to learn without punishment and getting all the fun. We will write regularly for clicker training your dog to get out desired behaviors.
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