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Clicker Training Melt Down. I Am So Cross At Myself


Guest johnnydrum
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Guest johnnydrum

Sasha my newly adopted 2 year old, is in every sense a delight.

I am completely smitten by her, and want her to enjoy "us" as much as we enjoy her.

 

Two weeks into the adoption and sensing a lull in her alertness, I wanted to bring a little enthusiasm into her (very) early training, so after reading/watching clips and info, I purchased a "clicker" (the little hand held training device)

It quickly became apparent that I had made a huge rookie error with the introduction of the clicker
She completely froze, and wouldnt even take the treat...even worse, after 3-4 clicks she wouldnt even come into the room, and was soon in "freeze mode"
Seeing her distress , the clicker was abandoned and hid in the cupboard after about 3 minutes.
The Poor girl was so sheepish for about an hour afterwards....I was so cross at myself.

Only a lengthy snooze snapped her out of it.
I learned a lesson today that these beautiful creatures are very very sensitive souls....so its belly rubs only tonight, and tomorrow is a new day.

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Guest Ames

Perhaps take some steps back. Start by treating and praising her so she develops positive associations with you. Later you could phase in a tongue click before the treat and leave the clicker until she is more settled and less anxious. Just some thoughts. We didn't introduce the clicker until about 6 weeks in, but lots of treats and praise in the meantime.

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Guest johnnydrum

Thank you so much.

She had been doing amazing, very friendly, and had settled in incredibley well....so i had wrongly presumed that she would be enthusiastic.

I wonder what it was that spooked her.

Thanks again for the reply, it made me feel that I wasnt a terrible owner, but just a tad over enthusiastic..lol

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I think you're being too hard on yourself.

 

I personally found clicker training to be way more of a pain than a help--but I know some people swear by it. At two weeks in, you should be working on leash manners, recall, and the real basics. I personally don't feel a clicker adds anything to those activities--but that's just my opinion so those who are so inclined to, don't bother ripping into me!


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Don't feel bad. My last dog was also very sensitive and was scared of the clicker at first and would tuck her tail and leave the room. Getting over her fear of that noise was actually a confidence builder for her. One suggestion might be to start with something that clicks very quietly....like a push pen, or even the lid of Snapple jar. Once they understand the connection between the sound and food, they will have more confidence and you can likely try the regular clicker (try to put your hand over it at first to muffle the noise). Some people even use lights.

 

 

Just a note from experience. Many greyhounds aren't often as enthusiastic and may seem "sad" compared to other dogs. I thought for the longest time that Teague wasn't happy, and now I just realize it is a greyhound thing. I use clicker training as just a fun extra activity/mental stimulation, not for real obedience training really. It took a looooong time for Teague to really get it and he will never be the most enthusiastic or fastest learner. He does enjoy it though, and has learned a few little fun tricks. So..take things slow and don't be discouraged!

 

 

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clicker training can be excellent as a start to engage your dog. obviously your dog needs to be engaged in another manner, don't worry, i personally do not like clicker training and have done well without it for many many dogs over the last 40+ years.. as mentioned above the start is click and treat, that's it. but don't worry, just work on praise and treat when using your dog's name, very simple and it's the same concept.

 

ie: say rover(the name of the dog) in a happy fashion, nice and sweet but loud enough so the pup can hear it. when the pup rover looks your way- reward with a treat. do this maybe 3 or 4 times, THAT"S it!! another day, repeat the same exercise rewarding the pup looking at you. that starts a foundation but remember the treat is something that is only used in training, no other time. morsels of hot dogs, dehydrated liver, liverwurst are all good yummy treats for this.

 

eventually proceed with walking on lead, using the name and getting the pup to look you in the eye. remember to do this in a quiet environment with limited space. i like starting off in the kitchen with a gate closing off the rest of the house. when you have mastered step 1 of the pup responding to their name in a small area try it in the living room and so on. then proceed to step 2, walking and getting them to focus on you when you say their name. some trainers then transfer the word look but don't worry, the name is most important. take this activity out on your daily walks. much easier than having a clicker in hand, treat in the other hand and a leash in your 3rd hand. if god wanted us to use clickers he would have given us 3 hands!!!

 

dehydrated liver does well in your pocket since eventually you will be randomly say the name and getting a response. it washes and dries well. during training i always have morsels of liver in my pockets and forget to empty them prior to laundry!

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Thank you so much.

She had been doing amazing, very friendly, and had settled in incredibley well....so i had wrongly presumed that she would be enthusiastic.

I wonder what it was that spooked her.

Thanks again for the reply, it made me feel that I wasnt a terrible owner, but just a tad over enthusiastic..lol

Some dogs are just freaked out by the sound of the clicker. They do make a version that has a much softer click, but there are a lot of other options for a marker, which is what the click is. Its just something that once associated with food tells the dog their reward is coming. I typically use a verbal marker, the word "Yes!" said in a very specific, enthusiastic way that isn't how I would say it normally. You can also use a quiet whistle, a click of your tongue, etc. The main thing is that it's salient - in other words it's a clear sound the dog can hear that stands out because you don't use it at other times. Markers are more important for some behaviors than others so I'd say it depends on what you were hoping to teach whether it will really help you. The good news is dogs are very forgiving so they tend to learn whether we use markers or not and regardless of how poor our treat delivery is, though of course better timing and changes in criteria will get you behavior faster.

 

I might just start with a simple targeting or eye contact exercise without a marker and just have fun.

Edited by NeylasMom

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Jen, CPDT-KA with Zuri, lab in a greyhound suit, Violet, formerly known as Faith, Skye, the permanent puppy, Cisco, resident cat, and my baby girl Neyla, forever in my heart

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Don't add stress with training right now. Just work on establishing a great relationship-THAT is the foundation that all other training will hinge on. Build that solid and good. Teach her that you will protect her and to look to you for everything good. I'm thinking at least a couple of weeks of going new places and experiencing things and learning about each other. When you want to move into training with her I would leave the clicker in the closet! She clearly has a negative association with it and you certainly don't need negative anythings when you're trying to train. I would suggest using a word as her release instead of the clicker. Many handlers use the word "yes". You can quietly say "yes" to mark the behavior in the exact same way that a clicker would be used. Please don't just start down the road though without investing in gaining a thorough understanding of positive reinforcement training because you really need to know what you are doing to be successful. For e.g. the very first thing that must be done is to "charge the mark." I would recommend purchasing and studying some of the basic Michael Ellis dvd's.

www.leerburg.com

has them and is also an excellent resource. Good luck and have fun!

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I tried clicker training with Annie about 2 months after adoption (about 5 years ago) but honestly, found it a pain to do and actually soon realized I didn't care how she learned as long as she learned when I wanted her to know. Being I'm not into tricks, my expectations were not demanding.

 

Having said that, if it's a noise that you feel is necessary to train her, try something less harsh such as snapping your fingers or even gently slapping one arm with the other hand. I don't see that it matters what noise is used.

Edited by Feisty49
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The click sound is just too loud for some dogs. Especially a dog so new to home life. She's just now finding her way and feeling comfortable and figuring out just what this living in a home with people thing is all about! Give her some time to get used to everything that is new for her.

 

Also, it's good to keep in mind that, in general, greyhounds will not be "enthusiastic" in personality like other breeds. A relaxed greyhound is one who lays around in every room, who roaches on her back when sleeping, who watches you carefully from one position or follows you everywhere as you do your business. There *are* lab-like greyhounds, but in general, they are quiet dogs who are not overly demonstrative.

 

The other thing you need to consider is that your dog is still basically a puppy in an adult body. Our puppy went through several "fear phases" - where she would randomly react anxiously to things she was fine with before - until she reached nearly 4 years old. Her personality morphed quite a bit during her 2 year old year as she matured. Time and patience and gentle but firm rules and boundaries will be what you need to give your girl for the next few months. Short, fun training sessions, but lots of mental stimulation with toys and fun activities.

 

Don't be so hard on yourself either! Dogs are very resilient and recover quite quickly.

Chris - Mom to: Lilly, Felicity (DeLand), and Andi (Braska Pandora)

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Angels: Libby (Everlast), Dorie (Dog Gone Holly), Dude (TNJ VooDoo), Copper (Kid's Copper), Cash (GSI Payncash), Toni (LPH Cry Baby), Whiskey (KT's Phys Ed), Atom

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Guest johnnydrum

Ames, GeorgeofNE, RedHead, cleptogrey, NeylasMom, racindog, Feisty49, greysmom...honestly, I cant thank you all enough, not just for the advice, but for helping me get back on track with my own "hound-confidence"
In stark contrast, today me and Sasha have just literally "ar*ed about" and had fun....We wont win any obedience awards this week, but we have had a blast!
I swear, she has so many expressions in her eyes, I could see her laughing...!

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Guest xengab

Dont feel bad! We've had out boy nearly a year and just tried the clicker. He HATES it, ran off. So we just have gone back to using "YES!" when he does the right thing, like we did in dog class. (basic stuff, sit, down, on mat, watch me).

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Ames, GeorgeofNE, RedHead, cleptogrey, NeylasMom, racindog, Feisty49, greysmom...honestly, I cant thank you all enough, not just for the advice, but for helping me get back on track with my own "hound-confidence"

In stark contrast, today me and Sasha have just literally "ar*ed about" and had fun....We wont win any obedience awards this week, but we have had a blast!

I swear, she has so many expressions in her eyes, I could see her laughing...!

 

Awwwww, this is nice. Giving her a break is a good idea.

 

An additional thought: What she won't or can't (?) learn now, she may go for later on. As I said, I'm not into tricks, but at the age of almost 9 years old, Annie is still learning skills that relate to keeping her safe. It was about a year ago that she learned the word "inside" used on our walks means she has to move from the road side of me to the grass side (I live in suburbs; no sidewalks). Not that she's way into the road (she heels well and I don't allow her to wander), but I don't trust drivers, and always put myself between a car and Annie. This past spring when she was diagnosed with an issue with her vulva, she immediately stops licking it when I say, "Eh Eh." Of course, maybe it's the tone of my voice, but whatever it is, she learned it. :)

 

I continue to be happily surprised at what they know and how smart they are. They don't always choose to use that smartness.

Edited by Feisty49
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Guest johnnydrum

Today me and Sasha completed no training, no lessons and achieved no new tricks
We simply messed around, ran after each other, chased, & rolled around..... it was bliss!
lol

She is a long legged , bonkers, bundle of fun

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As others have said, you do not have to use a clicker. The clicker is just the audible marker of "yes, that was it!". I usually start with a clicker, and for some behaviours will go back to the clicker, however my dogs all know "Yes!" and "Yay!" and look for their treat as soon as they hear either. "Yes" is technically my marker word, but I use "yay" often enough casually that the dogs understand it too.

 

Remember that training should always be fun. Sometimes we need to set training aside and "just have fun", however training itself should ideally be just that to the dog.

 

This is how much my dogs love training. Kili literally races me down the stairs to the training room and, if I don't put up the baby gate in the kitchen, Summit will always follow us down. This IS their idea of "just having fun" (of course they love to just goof off and horse around too). Hopefully you can find the right ingredients for success and Sasha will love it this much too! :)

 

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Kristie and the Apex Agility Greyhounds: Kili (ATChC AgMCh Lakilanni Where Eagles Fly RN IP MSCDC MTRDC ExS Bronze ExJ Bronze ) and Kenna (Lakilanni Kiss The Sky RN MADC MJDC AGDC AGEx AGExJ). Waiting at the Bridge: Retired racer Summit (Bbf Dropout) May 5, 2005-Jan 30, 2019

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Guest johnnydrum

After the disaster that was clicker training, me and Sasha are just going to have fun adventures now...lol

Today we went to the ecology park, and Sasha walked across a footbridge and spent ages just watching and enjoying a stream......it was lovely

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She then saw a Rabbit!.....Her ears pricked up and soon she was in hot persuit!.....Of course with me being attached to the lead with her, she was never going to catch "Bugs", but she seemed to enjoy showing me her "hunting skills" as we galloped together (bugs was safely in his burrow, and i think we were actually just chasing a wind swept bag....lol

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Eventually we both returned home for Weetabix and a drink of tea.....where Sasha then basked in her "hunting glory", as only a Greyhound can...

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Guest johnnydrum

K9Soul : Thank you so much.

She is brilliant. The local community love to stop and chat/pet....takes us ages now just to get around the street to the park!

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When we got Steven we said we were going to clicker train and then immediately said, forget it, we realized Steven needed time to get settled and comfortable in his new home. He was already pretty anxious. About two months about we started to very slowly introduce sitting to him. He'd raced for so long that actually getting into a sitting position was not something he found comfortable, so we worked on that and then the other day without any words my partner held up Steven's food and he sat on his own. He's been doing it everyday since and we couldn't be more proud and happy. It feels good to know we are actually communicating with me.

 

He's the absolute best.

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Guest johnnydrum

When we got Steven we said we were going to clicker train and then immediately said, forget it, we realized Steven needed time to get settled and comfortable in his new home. He was already pretty anxious. About two months about we started to very slowly introduce sitting to him. He'd raced for so long that actually getting into a sitting position was not something he found comfortable, so we worked on that and then the other day without any words my partner held up Steven's food and he sat on his own. He's been doing it everyday since and we couldn't be more proud and happy. It feels good to know we are actually communicating with me.

 

He's the absolute best.

 

That is a lovely story.

Steven sounds awesome.

After rushing into the clicker, (and subsequently abandoning it) I decided on going with the advice here, and just get too know each other first , following her life on the track.

Im just fully concentrating on her having fun at the moment, and we are both having a blast.....shes even now playing with her stuffed teddys

Edited by johnnydrum
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