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Old 12-24-2017, 11:54 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Clicker Training?

We adopted Trudy after losing Ester in March. She has me convinced she would like to do agility, so we enrolled in a clicker class this fall. She is a quick learner and was way ahead of her classmates. I am thinking that we didn't have the best instructor, but this is a new style of training for me. No corrections allowed?

I don't believe in jerking a dog about, but I do believe that "no" is a good command to learn. Not allowed in this class....nor to tell the dog what it is you wanted them to do?....just click and treat when they eventually do what you want? LOTS of treats given as the dog was "shaped" in the direction of what it is you wanted it to do.... DH called it obedience training. Trudy was like "WHAT?"..... Was good for her to work with other dogs, but we are going to another "school" in Jan. What is your experience?

Attached a pic of Trudy running thru her tunnel at home....wild child....you have to click on it to see her crazy face....
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Old 12-24-2017, 12:25 PM   #2 (permalink)
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You did force free training, the clicker was just a marker to tell the dog when he did the correct thing, not a method of training in itself. The alternative to force free is what you're talking about, using pain or discomfort at least partially to coerce the dog into obedience ("no" has to have a consequence to matter to the dog so "no" has to be reinforced by punishment or it won't work). Many dogs are able to tolerate this pain and discomfort and it is easier than force free, but some dogs are not, and Bassets are more often in the second group. Some people are ok with taking that step into pain/coercion to get the desired behavior, some trainers even take it to the extreme (look up prong/shock collar injuries, hanging, helicoptering, and forced retrieve) especially in competitive sports like obedience, but many are not, thus the rise of force free training. There are ways to use a word like "no" to mark undesirable behavior, but it revolves around the dog associating the word with that not being the behavior you're looking for (and thus not rewarded). For example, if you are teaching the dog not to jump up upon greeting, you might click and pet when he has all 4 paws on the ground, but when he jumps up, say "no" telling him that's not what you're looking for. This prompts the dog to search for another behavior and cease the undesirable behavior. Many force free trainers will also accept mild aversives like time outs that don't cause physical or psychological harm to the dog.

Positive reinforcement training like you did is scientifically proven and works on all animals, even humans! Training using aversives, however, has been shown to have negative consequences in many cases. Hank was "trained" almost exclusively with aversives before adoption and it has been a struggle getting over the consequences of that.

Since the rise of force free there is a notable increase of competitive obedience dogs trained exclusively with force free training. It is possible! It's perfectly possible the trainer you had wasn't that good. If you're interested in learning more about force free methods and dog psychology check out "The Power of Positive Dog Training" by Pat Miller. It's what got me and Hank on the road to competitive Rally.

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Old 12-24-2017, 12:29 PM   #3 (permalink)
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On a note in regards to shaping, shaping is actually the best form of training in regards to persistence and speed of mastery. Luring, or "telling the dog what to do" is the least effective in these terms. However, as you saw, it takes time to do.

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Old 12-24-2017, 03:28 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I think we need a new trainer. I have always used "force free" even before it was called that. I just don't believe in bullying... I do like using the clicker to mark behavior. The trainer does not allow us to say the dog's name, give praise, or say no. (All of which I do at home...and "No" works for me....I don't yell or whack, but a solid tone "NO" does put it across that the behavior is not desired, and I do praise and reward when they do what I want.) We also were told not to say Okay. I like to start training with "Listen"....wanting eye contact, and at the end I like to say "Okay" as a release command. Maybe I am wrong to do that? Seems the dog needs to know when it is "working".

Thanks for the reference, I will check it out. Have had/trained my own dogs for 50yrs, but maybe I need to learn some new tricks.... New class starting in Jan. is also force free, but at an agility training place. As long as Trudy is happy we will go...
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Old 12-24-2017, 03:33 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Once you're practiced at shaping with a clicker, you can teach a dog a new behavior really fast. One time in classe while we were waiting our turn I started working Sally with a dumbbell, which she had never seen before. It took about ten minutes of shaping for her to go from zero to picking up the dumbbell a few feet away.

I do find luring has its uses. Some dogs will be stressed simply by being wrong, even when nothing bad happens. When we were teaching Eowyn to weave, if she made too many attempts without getting it right she would get frustrated and quit. When I showed her what I wanted and she was able to have success, she progressed quickly.

All of this presupposes you have a dog that is wanting to work with you. And that is the trick to positive training, you need to figure out what motivates the dog to want to work and then you can teach them just about anything. In that context, if my dog is "refusing" to work then usually either they aren't clear on what I want, or they are stressed or afraid. A Basset's common reaction to stress is to shut down and do nothing, hence their reputation for being "stubborn"

A lot of trainers don't like "no" because it is hard for people to use the word without sounding angry.
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Old 12-24-2017, 03:41 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I can see not using names, commands etc at the very beginning while shaping, the idea is for the dog to figure out on their own what earns the click and many people confuse the dog rather than help it by adding other feedback.But I can't see that as an ongoing thing.
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Hermione - DC Soundtrack Spellbound RI MHE VC
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Pumpkin - FC Soundtrack Smashing Pumpkins SHH
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Old 12-26-2017, 11:49 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Thanks all. Santa brought me three books...Agility Training by Ali and Joe Canova; Enjoying Dog Agility by Julie Daniels; and Agility Right from the Start by Eva Bertilsson and Emelie Johnson Vegh. So far I like the first best, seems clear and well written, good discussion of classical vs operant conditioning....and how it relates to shaping. Might add that I only use "NO" only when I REALLY think a behavior needs interrupting....Stanley chewing up a package, or Trudy growling at a dog. (We had three out of control in the class who would get in her face, and no one else was "correcting" cause that was "wrong".

Worked on shaping a bit this morning....Trudy quickly figured out that if she picked up a plastic coffee lid she would get the treat. She already will touch my hand or follow a target stick, so she is catching on fast. She did offer me a sit, down, speak and tummy in the mix....so funny.

When we got her she would LEAP on the couch, jump up and walk along logs, and tore behind the plants along the back of the garage in a natural tunnel....which is why I bought her one. I just figured we need to channel these actions for "good" use instead of the other way....

Going back to the books....have a good one...
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Old 12-26-2017, 05:27 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
or Trudy growling at a dog. (We had three out of control in the class who would get in her face, and no one else was "correcting" cause that was "wrong".
That is definitely an issue, but correcting her for the other dogs' rudeness is not fair. I would be intervening between her and the offender. See https://suzanneclothier.com/article/just-wants-say-hi/

With Hope currently when a dog runs amok in class I immediately start focus work with a high rate of reinforcement so that she is focused on me and the treats and ignoring the other dog. This way a dog out of control becomes a cue to focus on me and let me handle it.
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Deela-Can Ch Soundtrack Wink Of An Eye HH
Hermione - DC Soundtrack Spellbound RI MHE VC
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Faith - Soundtrack Gotta Have Faith HH
Pumpkin - FC Soundtrack Smashing Pumpkins SHH
Hope - Soundtrack Pandora's Box HH
Harriet - Soundtrack Black Magic Woman
Patch - Ch Soundtrack Superstitious Feeling
Junior - Soundtrack Sorcerer's Apprentice
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Old 12-27-2017, 10:40 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Read thru the article on the link....agree. Trudy has had pups in the past, and she was putting the young dog on alert....she is NOT an aggressive dog. But I was trying to respect the trainer, as I had been reprimanded for saying Trudy's name before, was waiting for the trainer to do something. This was an exercise to teach "wait", and the dogs who had not learned to walk on lead in control, to come, sit or stay, were somehow supposed to suddenly be OK off lead......need I say chaos ensued.

I did say "NO, Trudy", and this got her to look at me, and I talked with her to hold her attention, while the other owner scrambled to gather their dog. I just didn't want to get into a situation where Trudy would snap at the pup...which is perfectly normal for a mother dog to put a pup in place, but would have freaked out the young dog's owner.

Had we been on a walk, I would have asked the other owner to put their dog on a leash, and move between them and tell the other dog a LOUD "NO"...mainly for the owner who is a 100 feet back.... One of my pet peeves is dogs who run loose. Their owners always call "she's friendly, she just wants to play". But maybe I just don't want your dog in my dog's face? Like little kids rough-housing, things can escalate, I just don't want to go there, not to mention diseases and parasites....don't know you, don't know your dog...please respect our space.
My sister had a pup sleeping on her lap at a match long ago, it was attacked by a wolfhound running loose... truly out of the blue....a "friendly" dog who had champion points...pup had to be put down, and sis had to have surgery on her hand, which still has crooked fingers. I don't like loose out of control dogs.

Anyway, not going back for our final makeup session there,(cancelled due to kennel cough outbreak) and looking forward to our next class in Jan. at the new place.
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Old 12-27-2017, 12:30 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Yeah, sounds like the current instructor is not great, hope you have better luck with the next one.
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Deela-Can Ch Soundtrack Wink Of An Eye HH
Hermione - DC Soundtrack Spellbound RI MHE VC
Eowyn - FC Soundtrack Rain Dance MHH OAJ NAP
Faith - Soundtrack Gotta Have Faith HH
Pumpkin - FC Soundtrack Smashing Pumpkins SHH
Hope - Soundtrack Pandora's Box HH
Harriet - Soundtrack Black Magic Woman
Patch - Ch Soundtrack Superstitious Feeling
Junior - Soundtrack Sorcerer's Apprentice
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