clicker training without the clicker

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Postby Malli » November 6th, 2009, 7:09 pm

anyone done it? I'm forgetful enough, I think it would be better for me to use my voice...

"yes!" or something as the click

thoughts?
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Postby dogged » November 6th, 2009, 7:29 pm

As a chronic clicker loser, I use verbal markers. Although the sound is not as novel as a clicker, its still effective enough for me and mine.
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Postby BullyLady » November 6th, 2009, 7:31 pm

Yup, that's how I do it. I use "yessssss", making the ssss into a kind of hissing noise so that the sound is a little more novel. Shelby totally gets it, and if I accidentally say it like that in conversation she looks to me to see if a treat is forthcoming. I still say that I "clicker train" because most people don't know what I mean when I say "marker train".
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Postby Malli » November 6th, 2009, 7:35 pm

just ordered Karen Pryor's Reaching The Animal Mind

Is it "safe" for me to do some loading before I get the book? How do I do that?

A series of small sessions where I give a treat and mark it ?

Or should I just wait?

edit : obviously I have some training experience so I'm really just making sure I'm not missing something and somehow going to mess this up...
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Postby BullyLady » November 6th, 2009, 7:38 pm

Just a series of mark and treat to load the marker would be a good and safe start. He will be attentive to you because of the treats so it's a good start to marking for attention. You can even start marking for eye contact if you want.
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Postby Malli » November 6th, 2009, 7:45 pm

we've already done an eye contact marker, but I'll see about doing it with food as I initially taught it with the toy as a game, "the faster you make eye contact with me, the sooner I release you to fetch"; I think with food it'd be a different concept for him.

Does it HAVE to be a special food? He has allergies(don't even ask to what or how many he has!), and his "safe" treats are huge and crumbly, so I was thinking to use kibble, wich he does like (evidence in his recent weight gain :rolleyes2: :doh: )
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Postby Malli » November 6th, 2009, 7:51 pm

I just loaded him with like 20 kibbles, boy was that a drool fest! :rolleyes2:
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Postby BullyLady » November 6th, 2009, 7:53 pm

I use kibble as Shelby's training treat as well, as lately her stomach is really sensitive. :)
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Postby pitbullmamaliz » November 6th, 2009, 8:30 pm

Use whatever is necessary as training treats - I alternate between Inara's kibble (she earns every piece of dinner some nights), hot dogs, Natural Balance food rolls, other brands of kibble, etc.

Just so you know, though Reaching the Animal Mind is an AWESOME book, it's not a how-to if that's what you're looking for. I've learned most of my clicker-ing (yes, that's now a word) by just reading a ton of stuff online, as well as getting books from the library. There are a ton of videos on Youtube as well.


Malli wrote:obviously I have some training experience so I'm really just making sure I'm not missing something and somehow going to mess this up...


The lovely thing about clicker-ing (see, there it is again!) is that you can't harm your dog if you mess up. If your timing or something is off, it just takes a little longer to learn. No harm, no foul. :)

I'm sure Erin or Sarah will be along shortly with some fantabulous advice!
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Postby Malli » November 6th, 2009, 8:45 pm

well it'll be harmful to me if I can't get it :wink:

hmm, Erin recommended it...

I'm not all that confident in online sources :neutral:
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Postby madremissy » November 6th, 2009, 8:47 pm

The lovely thing about clicker-ing (see, there it is again!) is that you can't harm your dog if you mess up. If your timing or something is off, it just takes a little longer to learn. No harm, no foul. :)


This is the best thing Sarah told me. I was so nervous at first that I was going to mess it up. :oops: I am more relaxed now and it just takes practice.

I noticed that sometimes Sarah wouldn't use the clicker but she would make the clicker sound with her mouth.
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Postby katiek0417 » November 6th, 2009, 9:20 pm

dogged wrote:As a chronic clicker loser, I use verbal markers. Although the sound is not as novel as a clicker, its still effective enough for me and mine.


lol I started my puppy with a clicker...but now I can't find it... :rolleyes2: So, I'm with you...I figure I won't lose my voice (well, not often, anyway).
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Postby Hundilein » November 6th, 2009, 9:43 pm

I used to use "yes" as a marker, but ever since I went to a clicker training seminar last year and learned more about why the sound works, I use a mouth click instead. I also found that I got much better results from Renee with the actual clicker than with "yes". Personal choice, and the whole philosophy of clicker training is about so much more than the sound.

Ditto on Liz's comments on Reaching the Animal Mind. I'm reading it right now, and I'm getting a lot out of it, but it's not really a "how to", especially not if you're looking for the basics. (I realize that you know a thing or two about training, but it sounds like you're pretty new to clicker training in particular.) I have a couple of clicker training books, but it's been a while since I looked through them, so I can't remember whether they're good for basics or not. I can try to look through them in the next couple of days to refresh my memory.

You definitely don't need a "special" food to clicker train. Like Liz, I often use kibble. What I use depends more on what I am working on, and what kind of distractions I'm dealing with. More distraction means better treats. You can also use rewards other than food, though it is typically the easiest thing to use most of the time if you can get away with it. As long as you follow the click with some kind of reward, you're good. With some dogs at the shelter, they would much rather just keep walking than stop to eat a treat, so if they pull, I stop and when they release tension on the leash, I click and move forward. The opportunity to move forward is the reward. With a shy border collie I worked with one time, I clicked and then tossed her frisbee, because she didn't care about treats when she was nervous, but would still play. With really shy dogs, sometimes I click and move away, because what the dog really wants is social distance.
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Postby katiek0417 » November 6th, 2009, 9:57 pm

Hundilein wrote:I used to use "yes" as a marker, but ever since I went to a clicker training seminar last year and learned more about why the sound works, I use a mouth click instead. I also found that I got much better results from Renee with the actual clicker than with "yes". Personal choice, and the whole philosophy of clicker training is about so much more than the sound.

Ditto on Liz's comments on Reaching the Animal Mind. I'm reading it right now, and I'm getting a lot out of it, but it's not really a "how to", especially not if you're looking for the basics. (I realize that you know a thing or two about training, but it sounds like you're pretty new to clicker training in particular.) I have a couple of clicker training books, but it's been a while since I looked through them, so I can't remember whether they're good for basics or not. I can try to look through them in the next couple of days to refresh my memory.

You definitely don't need a "special" food to clicker train. Like Liz, I often use kibble. What I use depends more on what I am working on, and what kind of distractions I'm dealing with. More distraction means better treats. You can also use rewards other than food, though it is typically the easiest thing to use most of the time if you can get away with it. As long as you follow the click with some kind of reward, you're good. With some dogs at the shelter, they would much rather just keep walking than stop to eat a treat, so if they pull, I stop and when they release tension on the leash, I click and move forward. The opportunity to move forward is the reward. With a shy border collie I worked with one time, I clicked and then tossed her frisbee, because she didn't care about treats when she was nervous, but would still play. With really shy dogs, sometimes I click and move away, because what the dog really wants is social distance.


I tried the mouth click...I hurt my tongue... :rolleyes2: :| I was probably doing it wrong...plus, I can never remember to do it, so I end up (out of habit) using my verbal marker...

I started out using a clicker with my puppy...and it was going great...but I could never remember the clicker, so I went to the same verbal marker that I use with my older dogs, and I think my timing is just better with that (because I'm used to using it)...
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Postby Hundilein » November 6th, 2009, 10:12 pm

katiek0417 wrote:I can never remember to do it, so I end up (out of habit) using my verbal marker...

I started out using a clicker with my puppy...and it was going great...but I could never remember the clicker, so I went to the same verbal marker that I use with my older dogs, and I think my timing is just better with that (because I'm used to using it)...

I was the same way. "Yes" popped out of my mouth without thinking, because I had gotten so used to it. But once I committed to using the mouth click, it became just as natural for me, and now that's what pops out when I suddenly realize that I want to click, but I don't have my clicker handy. You just have to retrain yourself and build a new habit.

Again, clicker training as a philosophy is about so much more than the noise, so I say use whatever works for you. There's a lot more to clicker training than a click.
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Postby katiek0417 » November 6th, 2009, 10:15 pm

Hundilein wrote:
katiek0417 wrote:I can never remember to do it, so I end up (out of habit) using my verbal marker...

I started out using a clicker with my puppy...and it was going great...but I could never remember the clicker, so I went to the same verbal marker that I use with my older dogs, and I think my timing is just better with that (because I'm used to using it)...

I was the same way. "Yes" popped out of my mouth without thinking, because I had gotten so used to it. But once I committed to using the mouth click, it became just as natural for me, and now that's what pops out when I suddenly realize that I want to click, but I don't have my clicker handy. You just have to retrain yourself and build a new habit.

Again, clicker training as a philosophy is about so much more than the noise, so I say use whatever works for you. There's a lot more to clicker training than a click.


Oh, absolutely! I agree....I love using the clicker...and I use it with clients...and I teach them the timing using the bouncing ball method...it's me....

I actually had to retrain myself to not say yes as my marker...and it took a while...so I'm just being lazy lol
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Postby maberi » November 7th, 2009, 12:55 am

There are also a few studies out there showing the increased speed of learning new behaviors when using a clicker vs a verbal marker. Once the behavior is learned there is no difference in retaining that behavior but there is a direct correlation in increased learning speed in a clicker.
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Postby Malli » November 7th, 2009, 12:59 am

well, he already had an eye contact command, but he picked that up like a synch! Like 75% immediately looking for eye contact, or within a few seconds. I also tryed teaching him to touch a towel with his foot, but I think that is a bit more of a challenge - I kind of want to do non-essential stuff at this point until I see that it is solid for him.

I noticed something too, even if he doesn't realize what he's doing, he is still being loaded because he gets a "yes" and kibble...
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Postby TheRedQueen » November 7th, 2009, 2:19 am

Sorry...didn't know you wanted a "how to" clicker book!

I'd say..."Click for Joy" by Melissa Alexander...haven't read it all, but I enjoy her writing.
http://www.clickersolutions.com/reviews/clickforjoy.htm

And one that love is "When Pigs Fly: Training Success With Impossible Dogs"
http://www.dogwise.com/itemdetails.cfm?ID=DTB919

I'd let you borrow my copy of "Pigs", but it's on loan now, and is promised to someone else when it comes back to me! :rolleyes2:

Sounds like you've got a good start!

There are also a few studies out there showing the increased speed of learning new behaviors when using a clicker vs a verbal marker. Once the behavior is learned there is no difference in retaining that behavior but there is a direct correlation in increased learning speed in a clicker


Yup, this is why I carry lots of clickers with me...I have them all over the car(s), my purse and my training bags...because I'm forgetful too. But they do learn much faster with the click...and then I fade it to a verbal marker.

I figure if I'm gonna have my treats and everything, I might as well use the clicker too...I keep a clicker in the bathroom near the treats, and in the kitchen near the treats too...so there's always time for an impromptu session!
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Postby Malli » November 7th, 2009, 4:49 am

no problem! Cancelled the order. Ordered "When Pigs Fly"...

Where can I get cheap clickers? :) How quickly can I phase them out into verbal ques?
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