Sunday, May 18, 2008

clicking

we bought a training clicker today to help in teaching wombat to heel (and possibly other things). i started out doing click then reward to teach wombat that the click means treat. she didn't seem to focused and was just trying to grab treats off me. i took her outside and tried again. i clicked and she cowered. we happened to get a clicker that you can adjust the tone/loudness so i put the volume down and tried again. she cowered again (she still took the treat but was on the ground shaking). i put it to the lowest volume (which is still quite loud) and she still cowered. i don't know why she's making the association that something horrible is going to happen to her when it clicks but she is. we gave her a break and tried again later. same thing. i think we've had 3 or 4 sessions (of about a minute or so) where we click it and she looks terrified (but takes the treat). hopefully she'll learn quickly that click means treat and not something horrible. i thought she would pick it up right away because she's very smart when it comes to associations so i'm not sure what's happened in her past that's made her terrified of the clicking sound.
we could probably teach her to heel by using the clicker every time she pulls but i don't want it to be a negative thing so we're gonna keep trying to condition her to click=treat.

2 comments:

Brooke said...

I tried the clicker with Chica and it was a load of crap. I think the whole philosophy around the clicker needs to be re-thought. the clicker is something that you will have to carry with you at all times. Realistically, its not something that will work for us. Its too much to co-ordinate: clicker, lead, treat. you don't have enough hands. and do you really think that you will remember to carry it with you around the house on walks etc? I think not. If your dog is food motivated enough, you shouldn't have a problem...

shawna said...

wombat is a smart dog. once she learns the command she'll be good but she's stubborn and its really hard to praise and treat at the right time-- especially with heeling on walks because she has a muzzle on so treating always takes a few seconds and i'm sure we've lost her by that point. she doesn't need to hear the click every time she hears the command but she does need a treat every time she hears the click (to condition her). if we can get her past the terrifying sound of the clicker (she's doing better with it, especially if i muffle the sound behind my back) we'll use it on walks for a while (its got a wrist strap so it'll just hang from my wrist) just so she knows when she is actually obeying the word "heel". once she heels regularly we'll lose the clicker.