Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Clicker Training Follies

I bought a clicker and a great book, Clicking With Your Dog: Step by Step in Pictures. I was sure that a picture book would be something even I could follow. Unfortunately, I might have to re-think that. One day in, and things have already gone wrong.

I started with the beginning of the book, and prepared to focus on introducing the concept of the clicker to Clancy. As per the instructions, I had the clicker in one hand and treats in the other. I clicked once, then gave Clancy a treat. The stated purpose was to teach the dog that clicks = treats, and the exercise would be considered successful when the dog started to focus on the clicker instead of staring at the treats. 

The issue for me was that Clancy focused on the clicker instantly, and then did a rushed sit, lay down, shake hands, and focus, all without being asked. It seemed fairly clear someone had used a clicker with him before, he recognized it, and he wanted to cut to the chase and just get on with getting his treats. This is always what happens with Clancy when we try various training methods. He immediately goes through his repertoire of tricks in rapid succession, as if he is saying, "here I'm sitting, I'm shaking paws, I'm lying down... hurry up with the treats, would you?"

I'm not sure what to do when the dog has already decided to do all the commands without being asked. But, on the bright side, I didn't have to work to get Clancy to understand the clicker, he obviously got it, so maybe we can figure out how to work from there.

We'll see. It's only day one, and we've got a whole book to work through. It just makes things a little difficult when Clancy jumps to the middle of the book before I've even finished the first page. 


  1. Hahahaha! I've got a brand-new clicker sitting on my dresser, waiting for its trial run with my rescue pup. Um... Maybe I'll just wait a few more days to see how this works for you and Clancy!

  2. Hi Katharine! Thanks for your comment! I'm planning on trying the clicker again today, here's hoping it works a little better this time. Otherwise the clicker will probably end up sitting in a box with all my other training books and supplies. I've spent so much money on this stuff, I could probably open my own shop at this point! I hope you have better luck with your pup!!

  3. Okay, Julie - who really needs clicker training? You or the dog? Anwyl

  4. Ha ha, I admit it, I think I need to hire someone to train me!


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