Posts Tagged ‘dog training’

is your clicker loaded?

“well, did you load your clicker?” was what the dog trainer asked us after she asked the group if anyone had tried using one for dog training before… i couldn’t help but crack up at the question :0) JC and i automatically thought there was some special way to use it or press it down… little did we know what we were in for in this six-week doggie training class we signed up the Lexi-monster for!

being the sweet, little, innocent, monster that she is, we decided a little formal training for the 5-month old pup and US was def needed. perhaps we’ve been swayed by the goodness that our 3-year old Bud-man has to offer… i’ll admit – we’ve been diluted of the puppy-ness and badly needed a refresher course!

our first class consisted of:

the pup learning the ‘watch me’ command
and yes, the flea brain that she is actually got it after realizing treats were involved… lots and lots of chicken liver treats!

the pup learning the ‘sit’ command with just a hand motion
who knew the actual word ‘sit’ could become useless if used too much?!

the pup learning the ‘quiet’ command
what, walking around the house and yard barking at ghosts, shadows, bugs, the kids playing, and sometimes just to hear herself = not annoying?!

us learning how to ‘herd’ the pup when she jumps up on the counter and tries to lick everything that goes in the dishwasher
granted, this does assist in our pre-washing time, but something tells me its just not right

us learning how to use the ‘clicker’ as a positive reinforcement tool
command, click, treat, repeat

and the added bonus – we were dismissed with ‘homework’ to work on every day with her for the next week… jeez! 🙂 i though graduating from college meant no more of that stuff?!

i’ll take anything we can get to make even just a dent with this stubborn little handful!!

so maybe you’re wondering, like i was, what is this ‘clicker training’ stuff all about?

info jacked from this site:

its a slang term used to describe a way of training animals that has become increasingly popular because of its gentle methods ~ the scientifical term for it is operant conditioning.

Operant conditioning is the way any animal (including the human kind) interacts with and learns from its environment. Simply put, an animal tends to repeat an action that has a positive consequence and tends not to repeat one that has a negative consequence.

‘The Clicker’ is a small plastic box with a metal strip that makes a sharp, clicking sound when pushed and released. Its value is that the unique sound doesn’t get lost in the babble of words we are constantly throwing at our dogs. It is faster than saying “Good dog!” and allows the trainer to mark with great precision the behavior for which the dog is being reinforced. Paired with something the animal finds very reinforcing, the clicker becomes a powerful tool for shaping behavior.

after about 10 or so times with the ‘command, clicker, treat’ method, i’ve gotta say, she was actually starting to GET IT – slowly! i was leery about this little box and what it could do, but for now, I’m taking the trainer’s word for it when she tells us our little Lexi girl will have learned her manners after this six-week course! I think Buddy is thanking us already :0)