View Full Version : Dylan is stressing me out...

21st June 2009, 01:40 AM
So we took Dylan to a trainer today to try and help with his anxiety problems. We found the advice very helpful and are looking forward to putting everything in motion. The only problem is we can't seem to get past the first hurdle.

The trainer suggested that we start using a clicker while we're training Dylan. She showed us how to do it and tried it with him a few times but he was really nervous and unsure so she suggested we tried it when we were at home when he was more comfortable.

Well he just doesn't like it at all. He usually loves treats and will jump all over you to get them but as soon as i click the clicker he freezes up, runs away and won't come back. I even tried using the clicker when we are playing fetch. He LOVES playing fetch and would do it all day if you let him but as soon as I introduced the clicker her refused to bring the ball back. It's like he now associates the clicker with being at the trainer which he didn't enjoy at all.

I really don't know what to do. Should I try to persevere and hope that he comes around or should I just forget about it altogether and try something new?

I really don't understand him sometimes :( I've also been doing it with Bailey and she isn't fazed at all. Infact she really enjoys the attention.

21st June 2009, 02:42 AM
It seems like I read somewhere lately that the clicker itself can freak out overly anxious dogs and it was suggested to either wrap it with something to tone down the volume of it, or use your tongue as a clicker instead.

Good luck!

21st June 2009, 03:29 AM
we used a word/noise instead of a clicker for marking things or for when we didn't have a clicker around.

I tried clicker training my mom-in-laws dog but it really freaked her out but Maverick could care less.

21st June 2009, 04:55 AM
Kosmo was a little afraid of the clicker when he first met it too. I'm not sure if it's right or not, but what we did is used the clicker at random intervals throughout the day in the house and didn't attach it to anything at first so that he could get used to the sound. When he could stand to be near us while we clicked and he seemed desensitized to the sound, then we started click=cookie. I like the clicking with the tongue idea too!

Just another tidbit for you - I know it's frustrating but persistence pays off!! Kosmo went into his first line of training - an 8 week course and he spent 6 of those weeks hiding underneath the chair. I didn't make a big deal about it but when I sat down too (for instruction) he would try to jump up on my lap and I just ignored him - he eventually got over it and he's one of the most social cavaliers I've ever seen! ;) He forgot he hated training after the 6 weeks and I took him through 2 more courses and it is now one of his favorite places to be - so don't give up all hope just yet! ;)

Good luck! :fool:

21st June 2009, 10:06 AM
Try a pen for the clicker sound. It is quieter and less scary.

21st June 2009, 12:23 PM
Los of good suggestions. I'd muffle the clicker or try a pen. Did the trainer have you start by loading the clicker' -- eg simply throwing a handful of food on the ground and clicking each time he eats a piece? That might work better than the hand-feeding and clicking method of loading the clicker (eg loading it with meaning as being a positive 'yes' and reward-noise).

Training takes a lot of patience and is often a slow process so Id just be gentle and patient and not try to do too much at once.

Many clickers are really loud and may scare some dogs initially. I'd def. try just clicking a pen as an easy starting point.

Here are some answers to all sorts of clicker questions from the woman who basically invented the training process:


21st June 2009, 12:47 PM
Thanks everyone for the suggestions. I decided to try the pen and it seems to be working! He's still a bit unsure but seems to be coming around a bit.

We also went on our first walk without Bailey (which I felt terrible about) and he done really well :)

21st June 2009, 12:55 PM
Great! :) Separate walks should happen once a day anyway though at first it might seem this makes one dog lonely (it won't! :) )-- a lot of times it is the pairing that makes one dog more frightened or reactive or defensive. Take them on their own and they learn to be confident and it defuses the behaviour. Plus each dog does need daily alone-time and exercise and play with its owners -- this is part of the time challenge of having more than one dog. It is really easy for one dog to learn reactive behaviour and to have its confidence suppressed by a more active dog... something we may not even notice (and why often splitting a pair of dogs that need rehoming makes each individual dog happier -- some pairings can be hard on one of the dogs and it will blossom in a new home). All dogs in multi-dog homes need to be separate but equal at least for part of each day. :) This really helps prevent behaviour problems, and relationship problems between the dogs.