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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi, we are starting clicker training with Molly and have had great success getting her to sit and with curing her car anxiety. I am finding it really hard to teach the 'down' though, it never works like it says in the book (the method where you lower your treat hand between the paws and draw forward) not even with her back against the wall . There is another method where you just wait for them to lie down then click and treat but does this rely on catching them lying down EVERY time? I would never get anything done for watching her! Also, being a very greedy lab pup, as soon as she sees the clicker she just sits and waits and won't do anything else so using it to teach her to 'give' is hopeless. I know a lot of people on here use clickers so I would be grateful for some help.

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I find the Clicker really useful for something things and useless for others, although that is probably because I've only ever made things up as I gone along and I've never learnt how to use a Clicker the proper way.:wink:

Teaching the Down, I've done two ways. Firstly I've put a treat in my closed hand then sit the pup up and drawn my hand down in front of it's face (lure it) .....Then put the treat on the floor with my flat hand over it (roughly between the pups front paws). Of course this makes the pup squirm, dig at my hand, bite my hand, look confused, get terribly excited, etc, etc....but if I've waited long enough, eventually both ends of the body has hit the floor and I can CLICK and let them have the treat.

However if I've got time....I then back the DOWN up when they are calm and just sat there waiting for the Click....and I wait and wait and WAIT....and the moment I see them wavering, I say DOWN calmly and quietly, then as they hit the deck they get a CLICK. Of course this then gee's them up all over again, so you can only really do this once towards end of a session when they are tired.

It does take a while, because to start off with they associate the CLICK with sitting....so they keep offering the SIT. So I try not to do too many SITs, just the odd one or two, then onto something else.

I never purely use the Clicker for training though and I add commands to behaviours they offer me naturally......So if Pickle is coming towards me....COME, GOOOOOD COME. If she is holding a TOY... HOLD, GOOOOOD HOLD. If she is walking with me/next to me the WITH ME...GOOOOOD WITH ME.

We aren't really working on GIVE yet, or as I call it THANK YOU (soppy I know) and probably wouldn't use the Clicker for this, as I don't want the pup spitting out whatever it's got onto the floor...I want it to go in my hand, which is why we are concentrating on HOLD. So if I do have to take something off Pickle, I swap it for something else (a toy usually) and add the THANK YOU as she lets go. I wouldn't have enough hands to use the Clicker as well when doing this anyway, so I just stick to commands and praise. :wink:
 

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I've been taught to introduce sit, down and stand as a threesome. I was taught it as a lure and reward exercise, but have since learnt to use the clicker so I use that too now, as it speeds the whole process up.

Stage One - first you use the treat as a lure on the puppies nose. Have 3 treats in your hand and make sure puppy knows you have them. Slowly move hand, on puppies nose, up and back over head, bottom goes down, click and give treat. Next lower treat in closed'ish hand to floor between paws and WAIT (it can take some time, be patient) as soon as elbows and little bum hit floor, click and give second treat. Next move hand slowly away from puppies nose and up to head height, once puppy stands, keep hand still, click and give third treat. Don't give any verbal commands at this stage.

Stage Two - vary the order - mix it up a bit :wink: . Same idea as before, except you may have a few more treats in your hand (as you might want to ask for a series of 5 different positions or 7 or 3). Then ask for a sit, stand, sit, down, sit, down or whatever pattern you like. Still no verbal commands.

Stage Three - hand signals. Get the knack of holding the treat between the edge of your thumb and the side of your hand (does that make sense? :? ) so that you can hold a treat and use a flat hand to give a clear hand signal. So sit becomes a flat hand, palm facing you and bend the elbow to bring the hand up. Down is a flat hand, palm moving downwards with a straight elbow. Stand is a flat hand, palm facing puppy and moving away from puppy a bit. Once the puppy is 'getting' the hand signals, stop holding a treat in the signalling hand, and reward the puppy using the other hand. This stops the dog following your hand when you don't want and will help when you come to ask for a sit or down stay. NB You will have to decide which hand signals are going to work for you long term - especially if you think you will want to do any gundog work in the future.

Stage Four - introduce verbal commands. Once puppy is consistently responding to hand signals, introduce the words, and make sure you time it as well as you would the clicker, so that you ONLY use the word once you are sure the dog is going to do it, but not too late, it needs to be as spot on as you can get it. So for the sit for example, use the hand signal that the puppy has learnt, as soon as the bottom is a millimeter off the floor, say 'Sit' and give the treat.

Stage Five - phasing out the treats. Vary the series of positions and start to treat every other position, then every third, position, then on a random schedule. If the puppy is reluctant or less proficient at one position (down in Molly's case) I would tend to give the treats more often for an improved performance on each down and not so often for sit and stand.

Hope this helps :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks that is so helpful. I used the method of hiding the treat under my hand and then waited... and waited... eventually she laid down 'click' and now she is laying down after just a couple of seconds! You can almost see her trying to work it out but we are getting there.
This forum is amazing. Thanks again.
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