View Full Version : How do you clicker train if....

7th September 2006, 04:09 PM
... the sound sends your dog running to hide under the table?

Even sweeties and treats won't coax her out!!!! Anyone else have a Cav that dislikes the sound of the clicker, even one that has a volume control set as low as it will go...

8th September 2006, 12:12 AM
I dont know how others will feel about this but my trainer has a deaf dog that she actually flashlight trained!!! :)

8th September 2006, 12:45 AM
Hi Lisa_T,
Do you HAVE to use the clicker? I'm only asking because if your dog doesn't like the sound, maybe you can use a word instead. The clicker is supposed to be a reward marker, so normally the "click" sound would mean the right behavior was achieved and a tasty treat is probably coming. However, a word can also be used as a reward marker so instead of a click, maybe the word "yes" followed by that tasty treat might work.
I'm working with a trainer that uses this technique (word instead of click) and Riley responds to it just as well as he did the clicker. (And hey, in life you don't always have a clicker at the ready when you want to highlight the achieved behavior, but you do always have your own voice, right?) Thought that might help you a bit anyway. :)

8th September 2006, 10:25 AM
Did you start training by 'loading' the clicker with the positive association of food? You start by simply clicking and giving a treat, clicking and gving a treat, 10 or 20 times. That sets up the good association that enables the clicker to be used for training.

Clickers are good because they are distinct sound and can be activated so fast that the dog more easily ties a wanted action to the confirming sound of the clicker. Dogs do fine with praise too but usually find it much easier to associate a sound as distinct as a clicker with approval than a verbal command. Dogs actually respond better to hand signals than voice as well -- it's good to also train a signal to main commands.

The problem with a word like 'yes!" or 'good boy!" is that we use those words in so many different situations and they can also sound like other words. You'll notice that obedience and agility competitors at Crufts for example use all sorts of funny noises to signify different commands -- because dogs respond better to a noise that has no connection to a word that can be confused with other words and that might be pronounced in a different tone, different times.

If you choose to use a word then it's good to pick one that you will only ever use in a certain context (hence trainers suggest not using a word like'OK' as a release because we use that word all the time in all sorts of contexts).

I use a big hand signal for Leo for 'come' now as he gets confused at the direction I'm calling from if he's any distance away and also seesm to have problems distinguishing the commend. He will come immediately if he sees the hand signal. He doesn't always respond to 'come' from a distance. I'm going to try training them on whistles as well.

8th September 2006, 04:26 PM
I tried with chocolate drops and meaty bits, but she just eyed the sweety and carried on hiding. I'll try it with the puppy who should be more confident and able to handle it- whilst strictly speaking not a rescue dog, Holly was very badly treated until the age of 8 weeks, when she was given to the people I got her from as a stud fee.

Oddly, her original breeder produced a number of good dogs- maybe he got old and stopped caring, because when the people I got her from saw the condition Holly was kept in, they got the other guy's license revoked and took over several of the dogs. As a result, Holly was very tiny- even by 12/13 weeks she was smaller than some 8 week old puppies, and she was always scrawny, although very healthy. To this day she remains hand shy around her head, and grooming her ears is difficult because she gets so distressed. Doesn't mind it anywhere else! Loud noises startle her, though she's leaps and bounds better than she was, and generally is a happy and surprisingly sociable little thing.

Anyway, I knew the voice control was an issue and all the more so for me since I am deaf (love the thought of flashlight training, BTW) so Holly was trained first to voice, and then to voice and hand signal- she now responds better to hand signals than to vocal commands, so clicker training per se isn't necessary, but she could do with some work on her recall and retrieve, and I hoped to use the clicker for that. Not if it upsets her though! Not worth stressing her for no reason.

8th September 2006, 08:34 PM

if you look on ebay you can find clickers with softer tones suitable for nervous dogs/puppys, we use them in our puppy classes with excellent results...you could also make the noise yourself with your tounge! click click!

Alison, Wilts, U.K.

8th September 2006, 11:41 PM
That's the cheapest option of all! :lol: :lol:

11th September 2006, 12:55 AM
Many people hold the clicker out like a remote control. Make sure not to do this. Also make sure not to hold the clicker too close to the dogs ear - remember they have far better hearing than us and the click sound can be very loud to them.

Get a volume controlled clicker or an i-click or cheaper still use the top of a retractable pen, you know the button on the top that makes a click sound when you press. That usually works if you have high value treats, try chopped liver boiled in water with some garlic and then roasted.

Try putting the clicker in your pocket first though and see if that helps. Clicker + liver treats should work.


As regards recall train Holly to recall on a whistle cue. Get yourself a good quality gundog whistle and use a code. The recall code is usually 2 peeps of the whistle. The reason I tell people to get a good gundog whistle is because if you loose it you can get the same pitch again.

So anytime she runs towards you for dinner, coming in from the garden anytime at all have your whistle ready and give 2 peeps followed by reward when she reaches you. When starting use high rewards in low stimulus area, then up the external stimulus gradually. Use a long line to train her outside and incorporate a hand signal (usually hand held high) into her recall training. Then you will have a visual cue (hand signal) and aural cue (whistle) for her recall.

Word markers or verbal sounds are ok as long as you can keep your voice tone consistent which, lets face it most of us can't!

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11th September 2006, 10:11 PM
Oh this is great. And I wish I'd thought of the pen myself. I have a bic that's nearly dead inkwise, but still clicks with the best, so I'll give that a go. I'll get a whistle too and try for recall- I even have a long line!

25th September 2006, 08:01 PM
I know people use small jar lids (baby food, etc) and depress the button to make a clicker sound for rats who have sensitive ears.