Positive Reinforcement

I’ve seen some of my doggy friends get really excited when their bipeds get a clicker out. I can understand their excitement as clicker training is all about positive reinforcement. The aim is to have fun while training and reward the behaviour that you wish to encourage. I believe that to begin with you click and give your dog a treat each time – that sounds like fun! This builds a positive association with the click.

My bipeds believe in using positive reinforcement in training, so I was puzzled about why I’m not trained with a clicker. I decided to ask my bipeds about it – I don’t want to miss out on something exciting!

A selection of clickers for dog training

A selection of clickers
Attribution: By Taken by Elf | Talk Sept 17 ’04 [GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

I questioned the female biped about it, as she did most of my early training – the male biped injured his Achilles tendon while I was young and had his leg in a cast for weeks, making it very difficult for him to keep up with me until he had recovered!

I asked her if she thinks that clicker training is a good thing. She replied that training based on positive reinforcement is always a good thing.

I asked, “So, why don’t we use a clicker?”

She replied, “I didn’t have a spare hand for a clicker when you were a puppy! You grew so fast and were so strong that I wouldn’t have been able to use a clicker. I needed both hands free to be able to control you when I took you out. If you remember, I always wore something with pockets, or had a bag strapped around my waist, to carry the things I needed.”

I could understand that but asked her why we hadn’t used a clicker for our training sessions at home. She replied that they had wanted to be consistent. They had decided it would be confusing for me if they used a clicker at home and not when we were out.

A dog, keen to do clicker training

A dog, keen to train with a clicker
Attribution: Elf at the English language Wikipedia [GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

I was still concerned that I was missing out on some fun and asked about the differences between our training and clicker training. She told me that instead of clicking with a clicker they say “yes” in a special way that I associate with doing well. I love it when they say that! But I have noticed that other bipeds sometimes give them a strange look when they do that. My biped explained that is one advantage of using a clicker – other people hardly notice!

I don’t mind if my bipeds get strange looks when they’re talking to me and it doesn’t seem to bother them either. It’s the positive reinforcement that’s the important thing – you can use a clicker or your voice, whichever suits you the best.

I asked my biped if she was sure that I was getting enough positive reinforcement. She asked me how many times a day do I hear that I’m a “good girl” or a “good dog”. I started counting and soon ran out of toes! Then I realised she wasn’t really expecting an answer to the question, as she already knew it’s dozens of times a day – I’m glad it is.

See you next Wednesday!

54 Comments

  1. Positive reinforcement is the way to go, whether with a clicker or tone of voice – you’re proof of that Clowie! We made the mistake of having two puppies at once to train – it wasn’t very successful to say the least 😉 Tone of voice works really well now though!
    Animalcouriers recently posted…Bunch and Harry are on the road towards the UKMy Profile

    • My biped went pale at the thought of two puppies and said they were lucky to survive one of me! That must have been hard work. I’m glad they listen now!

  2. Good post. Well done on it. Positive training is the way to go.
    Earl Lover recently posted…G is for GroupsMy Profile

  3. We own a clicker, but never use it. Mom says she doesn’t want anything else to have to carry or bring along, so we do fine with voice commands and treats. We are thrilled for those who use and love clickers, but Mom has no interest.
    Emma recently posted…April Showers Bring…My Profile

    • You obviously do well and have fun with your training and that’s the important part. Voice suits us better as well. Your mom doesn’t exactly have a hand spare when she takes you all out!

  4. Mom tried a clicker with me for a while. She had the same problem. She felt like she was juggling 62 things and couldn’t click and get the treat ready in time. She also sticks to talking. As long as the treats keep coming, I’m on board.

    Love and licks,
    Cupcake
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  5. I’ve never heard of these clickers before. Perhaps, not surprising because I’ve never taken any of our dogs to puppy training school. Border Collie Bilbo is very smart and learned everything pretty quick, including how to make his walker airborne heading towards the beach. We bought a Halti collar to remedy this and now he’s older, he has slowed down to a more sensible walking pace.
    Lady, our new recruit, is looking more problematic and after she took off on her walk yesterday and almost got runover by a bus and wound up being dropped off at the local vet’s by a concerned motorist. You can read all about it in “Found…lost dog”. My daughter saw an ad for puppy school at the vet’s and said Lady should go and that when it came to training, she was F for fail.
    I was very relieved to have her back home and she was on the lead today.
    roweeee recently posted…Going HomeMy Profile

    • Clickers are a relatively new tool for dog training. They are becoming very popular and some people and dogs get on very well with them. I think it’s far more important that the training method is positive reinforcement than whether bipeds use a clicker or their voices.

      I wore a Halti while I was learning not to pull on the lead – I needed some convincing on that one! My biped carried the Halti in her pocket for a long time. If I forgot that I knew better than to pull, she’d bring the Halti out again and put it on me.

      You must have been frantic with worry about Lady! I’m glad she’s okay.

  6. Clowie well done 🙂 indeed I had no joy with a clicker as i too struggled..i think a special word and reward are just as good 🙂 positive is the way to go 🙂 loves Fozziemum xxx
    Bev Green recently posted…Miles away TuesdayMy Profile

  7. we tried clicker training as I was a puppy, but it worked only with the clicker AND a treat. And I still remember the clicker when I hear such a noise I park my butt immediately and wait for a treat :o)
    easy rider recently posted…easyblog WARDROBE WEDNESDAYMy Profile

  8. Our bipeds don’t use clicker’s either. They were trained to use their voices and our barks/ears like that much better, except when that “NO” word gets a little too loud, BOL. Happy Wednesday to you and yours, Clowie.
    Paulette Mahurin recently posted…RIP LADY LUCKMy Profile

  9. Back when I had just one husky, I did some clicker training, and I actually really enjoyed it, but walking 3 huskies at a time….theres jst no way! lol
    ღ husky hugz ღ frum our pack at Love is being owned by a husky!
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  10. I have cats. They are harder to train except they do like food. A little kibble will work most times. Other times….well, they’re cats.

    • Yes, bipeds are usually happy to come to an agreement with cats about the basic stuff such as being careful with their claws.

  11. Clowie we all need positive reinforcement… especially us bumbling hoomins 😀
    Enjoy your week Clowie and see you next Wednesday!

  12. You should tell your humans that “yes” is nice and so is a click but you are holding out for treats.

    Your pals, the brown dawgs
    2 Brown Dawgs recently posted…Wordless Wednesday–SprintMy Profile

  13. We love clicker training, but I agree it can be a lot to juggle sometimes….especially when training loose leash walking. I’m all for positive reinforcement training in whatever way it works!
    Jan K recently posted…Wordless Wednesday – NosesMy Profile

    • I’m glad you have fun with it, I think lots of dogs and their people do. I agree with you that positive reinforcement is the important part – however that works for us!

  14. Choppy never liked the clicker – but even had she, I was in your boat: too much dog, not enough hands!
    Sarah Ferguson recently posted…The April A to Z Challenge: G is for Grilling ChoppyMy Profile

  15. Europa`s Icewolf

    I have a great dog training clicker game on my tablet! You can even under your own clicker with it :)Though in truth it is training bipeds how to clicker train correctly and effectively before they inflict their untrained attempts on their long suffering pooches! Timing is the key in clicker training and it’s a lot harder to be spot on than we first imagine! Voice training is likely to be far less painful for some dog owners I should think!

    • That game sounds like a great way to become adept with the clicker before trying it on the dog! Voice training is the only option when you don’t have enough hands, but chicken also helps!

  16. Very interesting Clowie… I wonder if you have some advice regrading this topic when it comes to cats-… Give me a few tips if you do…
    All the best to you. Aquileana 😀

    • Thank you. You need lots of patience to persuade a cat to do anything! They’re much better at manipulating bipeds than dogs are.

  17. Sometimes I touch my paw to the clicker and look at the human hopefully. O.O
    weliveinaflat recently posted…Cookie Shih Tzu Birthday Party!My Profile

  18. Positive reinforcement works so well for the bipeds, too. 🙂 I just wish we could all remember to do more of it!
    jmmcdowell recently posted…A Reveal Of “The Girl Who Ignored Ghosts”My Profile

  19. Thanks for the info on clicker training, Clowie. I haven’t tried it, but agree that positive reinforcement is good for everyone; dogs and bipeds! 🙂
    Debbie D. recently posted…#AtoZChallenge: H is for HIERARCHYMy Profile

  20. Positive reinforcement is always the best, clicker or no clicker
    Savannah’s Paw Tracks recently posted…Returned to Sender: Address Unknown?My Profile

  21. Interesting idea of the clicker, definitely a money maker Clowie but I think your bipeds have a better system, more intimate and friendlier.
    Cheers.

    • I do like getting praise. I hadn’t thought about how many clickers they sell, if they used them my bipeds would need one in each of their pockets!

  22. Training is training, and just because clicker training is the latest craze right now, it appears that the method your humans used worked just as well. Clickers are simply one means to a desirable ending.
    RumpyDog! recently posted…The Scoop on Scooping the Poop!My Profile

    • Yes, I agree with you. It’s the philosophy of the training that is important, not the tools that are used to achieve it.

  23. Hi, sweet Clowie Mumsy says she never thought of a clicker to train me. She like giving hugs and telling me I am a good boy. We haven’t been getting updates from you so Mumsy suscribed again. We don’t have as much computer time as we used to but we will visit you when we can. Have a great weekend. Hugs and nose kisses
    Mumsy’s Little Chancy Man recently posted…Sharing my blog this time…week 83My Profile

    • I like getting hugs and praise – even more than I like getting treats!
      I hope you get the updates okay now. Enjoy the weekend!

  24. I wasn’t clicker trained either, but as long as I get loads of treats, praise and cuddles I don’t mind 🙂
    Misaki recently posted…Treat ball modificationsMy Profile

  25. Aurora Jean Alexander

    I heard the clicker does have some disadvantages on certain dogs. But since I’ve never been a dog owner I cannot tell for sure. I’m just happy to hear what a great dog you are! 🙂

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