home for awhile I started introducing the clicker. Diesel was startled
by the sound at first, so I kept the clicker inside my pocket and
was soon able to click openly. Hand-fed clicking her first meal.
After only couple of short sessions she seemed to alert and look
for treats after hearing the click. I kept click treating for few
more sessions. She also showed me a fine example of superstitious
learning. Hearing the click started making her sit. I am extremely
eager to start clicking behaviours and I have really hard time holding
She doesn't seek my company, but spends time on her own. Didn’t
want to sleep with me the first night either! She wanted to sleep
on the floor and did not whine at all. Maybe calming herself but
I have difficulties getting her attention. She whines if doesn’t
see me when she wakes up, but she doesn’t react to my voice at all.
Outside I don’t exist.
I’m trying to click for attention and the only thing I got was discovering
that my timing sucks big time!!!
the target stick. Before I could blink she grabbed the stick and
started chewing it passionately. She’s a MANIC chewer. Tried it
a few more times but the results were lousy and I feel very insecure
about it so I decided to leave the stick for now. I have no idea
how to make it work.
Started clicking for sits and she got that pretty fast. She offers
sits nicely and of course, I hurried to add the cue.. arrghh.. The
result is she’s not really offering me anything else, she's just
sitting and staring me. I have tried to click for downs whenever
I see her going down but she’s not offering me down at all!
I try clicking another behaviour and she just sits there and stares
and stares and staaaares until she gets frustrated. Needless to
say I get frustrated too. WHAT DO I DO!? I really feel like failing.
I know Diesel would learn anything with the clicker, so it's me.
One hears nothing but success stories and everyone says puppies
are soooooooooooooo easy to train with the clicker and here we are..
More problems. This Labrador Retriever is picky with food! All the
delicious liver treats I made her in advance are absolutely no interest
for her. Does not eat her food too well either. Have been using
toys as a reinforcement but am not quite sure whether I should do
that right from the beginning.
Got some target
stick advice and it’s working much better!! Holding a treat close
on the other side of her nose and the stick on the other side and
she doesn’t have time to chew the stick. Although she still wants
to grab the stick in her mouth, but have given me perfect nose-touches
as well. Now I have an idea of what to do and am able to concentrate
better. My timing has also improved a lot and am actually clicking
before she grabs the stick. Boy, things are getting much
Diesel offered downs!! A major breakthrough! She’s also offering
"hello" i.e. offering her paw. We’re also having many
attention sessions. She walks pretty well on-leash outside. Maybe
we’re getting somewhere after all! I’m getting much more relaxed.
Reinforcement rate is increasing too! Hey, we’re doing great here!
getting good at home. Outdoors it’s still nonexistent. She’s still
not offering downs until I placed on her chair and sat on the floor
myself. She was looking downwards to me and I got three sessions
of fast downs! Feels awesome. Sit is getting pretty good too. I’m
able to get her to sit in the middle of our wildest play which is;
I rattle a milk-jar full of kibble (her favourite toy). Clicking
a lot for simple handling stuff.
Now the target stick chewing is becoming a problem. No matter how
fast I click she won’t leave the biting and often wants to concentrate
This is one self-confident puppy! I have been very proud of myself
since I’ve been able to restrain from scolding her in troublesome
situations. Just trying to get her to pay attention to something
One big problem. Excess sleeve pulling. Also, she’s still just staring
chewed the main phone cord and it was hidden; only a small part
was visible in the doorway is and she gets interested in that! Now
we’re without a phone.
In the countryside.
We’re not clicking all that much, but things are going smoothly.
Diesel has started mixing sits and downs, I think that’s be because
I was trying to add duration and obviously too much too soon. She
offers me downs if I don’t click immediately after she has sat.
Forgot duration and working on distinguishing sit from down. Also
started clicking for sitting from down positions. Recalls are going
wonderfully. Few short sessions of calling her back and forth between
two people (short distance), and then started (still two people
involved) calling her and when she came the other person went to
hide behind a tree (straight from Culture Clash by Jean Donaldson)
and called her. Diesel absolutely adores this game. Also when I’m
walking in the woods with her, I quickly go hide if she’s not paying
attention to me for awhile and it’s working great. She’s checking
to see me quite often.
Not working with target stick.. I guess I’m still not comfortable
enough with it and it’s easy to put it aside..
Digging, chewing, digging, chewing. Ate flowers and digs everywhere,
especially where the soil is soft and damp (flowerbeds!).
She whines when she wants to go out, sometimes scratching the door.
This is GOOD news.
Funny notions: During the first recall sessions (calling back and
forth) my mom had difficulties asking Diesel to sit in a normal,
quiet voice. She’s using veeery firm tone. Made me burst into laughter.
We’re still trying not to scold and not to stop any behaviour. Difficult
especially with so many people around who have such a history of
other training methods. The hardest seems to be not to yell Diesel
(by her name) when she’s doing something undesirable. So set up
a rule: if absolutely necessary or not able to restrict oneself
from that, use some mumbo-jumbo or "Gabi" (which still
comes naturally). This is difficult for me too at times but hardest
for dad. That figures, hardest for the educationist..
with treats but toys often make Diesel hyper so they can only be
used within limits.
by train. Diesel was OK and rather relaxed but I wasn't. LOT OF
HASSLE. Luckily had Oona and Veera to help with all the bags and
Back home and
allowed to meet other dogs. That means bye bye for any attention
Downs are getting slower! Hmmmmmm.. Not sure why, have to start
thinking and observing. I must have been doing something to cause
that but have no clue. Down has been the most difficult in every
way so far. I think we need a break from downs now.
I'm able to lift her upper lip to check her teeth! Grrrreat. We
had few very intense teeth checking sessions and I was clicking
like a madman. Grabbing her lower jaw is still a bit of a problem
but this is wonderful. This used to be the greatest biting game
ever and we've been working on it slowly occasionally but now it
really clicked! ;)
I'm trying to catch the tiniest hint of attention outside, but I'm
not clicking much outside. Diesel has no interest whatsoever for
treats outside if there's any distractions (which there are a lot).
So I use lot of praising instead and she responds better to that
outside. I suspect I shouldn't though. Hmm.
She's also housebroken, I'm still expecting accidents though.
Target stick is back. Lo and behold, not much biting!
Started heeling inside. I'm clicking almost every step and it's
going extremely well.
I added a small yellow papermass ball in the end of the target stick
instead of the yellow tape I've been using. My goodness! Talk about
focus! Diesel couldn't get her eyes off the ball and started biting.
When she's a bit tired, working with the ball works wonderfully
and I get better results than before but when she's lively it's
too much of a temptation. I still don't feel we're doing great with
the stick though.. I don't know.. yes and no, I wish I'd see someone
else doing it.
We went to
a weekend clicker camp. It was amazing! The very first night one
of the trainers used Diesel as a "demo" dog and I couldn't
believe my eyes! Diesel was superb! Touching the target stick, following
the stick, sit, down, pawing etc. I cannot describe how extremely
proud I felt. Throughout the weekend Diesel was great. We did lots
of target stick practicing; following the stick (the first time),
added a bit distance (as in go-outs) with the stick. I also, for
the first time, taught her to touch a tile on the floor with her
paw. This was my first real free shaping experience and I must say
it was so interesting and enjoyable! Now I want to free shape all
the time. I was able to ask all my questions, saw other people clicking
and I also realized I have been doing relatively well on my own
as well! Just what I needed, more confidence. Groo-vy!