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Thread: "Clicker" discipline device

  1. #1
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    Default "Clicker" discipline device

    Anyone used the clicker to discipline/train your dog? I just had my dog in an obedience class and wasn't comfortable with the negative discipline they expected us to use. (I quit going.) My dog (Shepherd) isn't good with strangers and what it seems like is he thinks he has to protect 'me.' Trainers have told me that also. I need to send the message to my dog to STOP barking/growling/etc, especially around those I know well.

    I take him for swimming sessions in a pool (for animals) once a week. He is fantastic in the pool, will allow the trainer to touch him, etc but once we are out of the pool he snarls at her. I'm not sure what to do...just don't want to jerk on his collar (the pointy kind) and yell at him, etc. He needs to start listening to me (and does sometimes), but I need a method of discipline that is not negative or violent. (Btw, he takes swimming classes cuz he has Rheumatoid Arthritis.)

    For Xmas we will be having my bf's parents and his 93 yr old grandmother stay with us. I can't trust my dog around them as he doesn't know them well. He is uncomfortable with strangers or anything that moves quickly. I'm going to have to kennel him (at home) often and I am sad about this. He is my baby. I need to help to socialize him more...any suggestions? He is great with other animals (even my cats) and tends to do much better around people who ignore him or show no fear.

    Help..........oh, and my point was I am going to start using the "clicker." It says you need to use only the POSITIVE sound for 2 weeks so the dog understands what it means, then incorporate the negative one (which is not a special sound, just different from the POSITIVE one). Has anyone had any success with it?

  2. #2
    Elite Member dexter7's Avatar
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    Default Re: "Clicker" discipline device

    the best advice i can give (trying to remember from my own puppy training classes)....

    the worst punishment for your dog is to get no attention for his behavior. maybe you can have some friends over (that aren't afraid) and when he jumps on them (or growls) have them show no reaction at all. completely ignore him. you should do this too. when you come home and he goes to greet you, ignore him until he is sitting calmly at your feet. then pet him and make loud "good doggie" noises. same with your friends. tell them not to acknowledge him until he is quiet, or sitting, or whatever. then when he is, make a big deal of telling him how good he is. if he starts right again being rude, then completely ignore him until he stops. but this is something you are going to have to do over and over again. if you want to use the clicker, then have your friend (or you) click as soon as he is quiet and give him a treat, which further enforces the good behavior. if he is calm and quiet around the house (just laying around), randomly click and treat him, so he gets the idea that that is a good way to act. just do it nonchalantly, so he doesn't get up and get super excited. also, if once you have guests over he does settle down and leave people alone, click and treat again, so he knows he is doing something right.

    but this training takes a long time, and you have to be diligent with it. you have to ask everyone he snarls at to ignore him, and you have to watch and wait and click/treat him at the exact moment his behavior improves. my trainer said that dogs have about a 5 second memory linking behaviors together (ie, if more than 5 seconds goes by before you treat him, he will not know why you are doing it and won't associate it correctly).

    the other thing you can try is if you have people over and he growls right away, immediately put him in his cage, which he won't like. after leaving him in there for about 30-60 seconds (again, if it is longer he won't remember why he is in there), let him out, if he does the same thing again, put him right back in. continue doing this until he comes out of the cage and finally does not growl or go after your guest. immediately click and reward (instead of clicking you can just say "good boy" or some other consistent noise). if he then reverts back to growling, put him back again. this way he knows what behavior got him to stay out of his cage. repeat a million times over. but this way doesn't help as much as when you are out and about with him. if he doesn't bite, just ask people to please please ignore him at all costs, unless or course he quiets down, then reward him with good attention.

  3. #3
    Elite Member Glasgow53's Avatar
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    Default Re: "Clicker" discipline device

    Dexter's advice above sounds right on. I don't have dogs myself, but have been around them, and know many people with them, and consistency seems to be the most important thing with them. Clickers can produce good results if you use them correctly (my boss has two out of control Standard poodles who are supposedly clicker trained but they are the most unruly beasts known to man). The ignore thing is good, too, especially with dogs, because they so want you to notice them. With a dog like yours that sounds a little wary of people, I would probably stay away from negative scary stuff and instead reward the positive stuff. Also keep in mind that different things work with different animals, you may have to try a bunch of stuff before you hit on what works with him. Good luck.
    Keep passing the open windows.

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    Super Moderator NoDayButToday's Avatar
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    Default Re: "Clicker" discipline device

    Frank-the clicker is an audio training tool, it doesn't touch the dog in any way. When the dog is good in training, you press the little button and it makes a clicking noise, and then reward the dog with a treat (at first). It is pretty effective, my friend trained a pretty rambuncious puppy using the clicker method, it took a little while though.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: "Clicker" discipline device

    Quote Originally Posted by Frank_Rizzo
    How old is your dog? The younger the dog, the easier to socialize. I don't know much about the clicker but it's nothing like the shock collars, right? Those are absolutely disgusting and I hope you aren't considering anything that involves inflicting pain to train.

    Was your dog abused before you got him?
    Dracko is now 5 years old. I agree if he was younger it would be easier to socialize him more...get him used to people.

    I don't know if Dracko was abused or even neglected. Not sure if I mentioned in my initial posting that I adopted him from the Humane Society as he was born there. I think his mother was adopted out and removed too early from his life. The care he got, of course, depended on the person working/volunteering.

    Also, I agree dexter7 that ignoring bad behavior is a good idea as well as disciplining quickly and for just a short time. This meshes with all that I've read in the "positive" type dog training books/videos. My real problem is the aggression he will show to strangers. If it was only jumping on them in excitment, I could deal with that and do the positive discipline. But I am worried something bad might happen when Dracko is so aggressive. He is a smart dog, though, and tends to learn quickly. I will try to do the clicker training beginning next week after I get back from a short holiday (bf will look after Dracko & the cats). He is with me a lot, so it shouldn't be a problem trying to use it often. Oh, and I got in to the habit a long time ago of ignoring him when I come in the house as I read even negative attention (yelling, etc) the dog can take as positive. I guess not all dogs are the same and you have to learn what works for yours.

    To let everyone know how Xmas went with the in-laws over. Initially Dracko did his barking thing, of course. The first night (Xmas Eve) I put him in the garage while everyone ate and watched TV. (I leave my car door open - with the interior light off so it doesn't drain the battery - and Dracko sleeps in there waiting to "go somewhere.") After they went to bed I brought him in to sleep, etc. Christmas Day I had him both out in the back yard and in the garage. We took him for a long walk to get have some fun and later in the day I brought him in the house on the leash. He growled and snarled at anyone who tried to come near him. He really doesn't like people in his space. Though he NEVER runs to someone and acts aggressive. Finally as we watch Seinfeld DVD's I had him on his bed beside me. He seemed to get acclimated to the people somewhat. It always takes him a day or two to accept someone's presence. My bf suggested later I take him off his leash. I was worried but I know Dracko is always better off leash. I think maybe when he is on the leash and close to me he acts aggressive to protect me?!? Anyway, I asked everyone NOT to pet him or reach out to him. He walked around sniffing people and acting just fine. Then my bf's nephew (13 years old) tries to pet him! FUCK! Dracko snarled at him. Overall, though, he was no problem off leash with people ignoring him. He just wants to sit near me or my bf and go to sleep. He's not a trouble maker.

    I need some kind of discipline or message that I can send to him that tells him these certain people are okay. Not sure if time is just necessary or what. I know I mentioned that I take Dracko swimming. In the pool he is fine with the trainer. When we get out and she sticks her hand out he snarls. Who ever taught people that sticking your hand out is the way to approach a dog?!??! Fucking doesn't work with mine. Must be others out there like that.

    Thanks for all your suggestions. I'll let you know how things go.

    P.S. Oh, and Dave's one brother was a little bit of a dink about Dracko and yesterday we took Dracko out to his farm for a few minutes when we dropped something off. HIS one dog tried to fight with Dracko. Dracko is reallly good with other animals, cats included. So, fuck him. Dracko might not be perfectly socialized with people, but he is NICE to other animals. His fucking dog tried to kill mine. Dracko was out there just sniffing around while his 3 dogs followed Dracko around. I'm not saying his dog was wrong, I realize it was his territory. But, hey, don't sit in judgement of MY dog when your's isn't perfect either. His dog used to kill all the kittens they had out at the farm, too. Dracko once played with a bird in the backyard that was lame and didn't hurt it.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: "Clicker" discipline device

    Do you get nervous when other people are around? My friend's boyfriend would get just nervous enough when people were around that their Rottweiler wasn't used to that the dog would be standoff-ish and aggressive. They split up for awhile and he was a completely different dog. That was when we realized the dog was feeling like he was supposed to be on edge because the boyfriend was nervous about how the dog was going to react. After they got back together, he started letting the dog socialize more with people and not trying to pull him back and all and it was like a different dog altogether.

    The clicker thing worked for a while with some of my mom's dogs but then they said "oh, it's just mommy, nevermind" and went back to barking. I hate bark collars but I know people that have used them and usually the dog wears it for a short while. It lets out a couple of warning beeps before they get the shock. So, in theory, they will get the warning beep and won't bark. My mom used one with the mutt that was tied to a tree in her yard, it was on for a day and now you show it to him and he lays down and stops barking. Again, I don't like them, but they do work with some dogs.

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