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12 Responses to “About”

  1. harry a marsh said

    thank you for the great info we are looking to start a small obedance class with our local church group i would love to be able to copy and distribute your lessons

    sinserly harry a marsh

    • Harry – sorry for the very delayed response! You are welcome to use these lessons for your church group, as long as they are non profit & you have my information (Name, Greenwood Dog Training School & on each page.

  2. Danielle said

    Hi, I was hoping you could help me…..I have began clicker training with my new puppy. I am using your lessons, and they are working wonderfully. The puppy is responding magnificently. The problem I am having is, the puppy is distinguishing between “training time” and other times, and is only responding wonderfully while training. Getting his attention, or sit stay down, other times, he really is not interested. I have found this to be true with an older dog who we rescued from a shelter. She has been trained well, and knows all commands, while “training” does great, otherwise chooses not to listen. My older dog is obviously treat driven. How do I break this? And how do I transfer training responses to all the time, with the puppy? Your response would be greatly appreciated. Your lessons are wonderful! Thank you

  3. Danielle,

    I am glad to hear the training is going well! Please don’t make the mistake of expecting too much, too soon, though. At the beginning, your pup is definitely working to earn those treats – they are his reward, or reinforcement, for figuring out what you want & responding to your cues. At the beginning, they are actually part of the cue for him as well, which is why you might find he won’t respond without them at this point. The key is to go slowly and have realistic expectations… remembering, especially with the younger pup, what it takes time to l learn things. The average kindergartner doesn’t learn to read in 5-6 sessions! Here are the steps:

    • train any new behavior in a quiet place so your pup can focus
    • have a reinforcement that the pup is willing to work for
    • once the pup is responding well, start training in a variety of quiet locations (at first the pup will associate the actual room as part of the cue)
    • carry that clicker & some treats with you while at home, so you are ready to ask for & reinforce behaviors. If you make a big production of getting the training supplies out, your puppy will associate that & know that only responses he gives at that point will be reinforced. You want him to learn that his correct responses will ALWAYS be reinforced by you.
    • be prepared to perhaps back up a few steps in the training for any behavior, review the steps, then continue progressing
    • start adding in more natural distractions, again, being prepared to perhaps back up a few steps in the training as a review if needed
    • once you are getting the responses you want at least 80% of the time, start being more variable with your reinforcements
    – instead of C&T’ing a single response (e.g. “sit”), ask for 2 or 3, then C&T at the end (i.e. “Sit, Down, Sit”.. C&T”)
    – be variable in what the reinforcement is, especially when not using the clicker. Have your pup earn everything good in his life!
    some examples:
    – pup has to hold a brief sit stay before you put his dinner bowl down
    – pup has to make eye contact before you open the door to let him out to pee
    – play tug o’ war, then ask pup to release the tug toy & sit for a moment… then continue the game
    – use your imagination… what things does your dog find reinforcing? Praise, gentle petting, a game of fetch? Use all of those things as reinforcements!

    A lot of this is described in the lessons – look at the end of the Sit, Down & Stand page as well as the Advanced Training page. Best of luck & have fu

  4. Stephanie Hincks-Wighgt said

    could you be Mary Woodward from Payette Idaho? If so nifty, if not sorry to have bothered you. Steph

  5. Goodness… I need to start checking this more often. But sorry, I am not from Idaho. I live in Delaware.

  6. Stephanie said

    When trying to train for a specific behavior, should you only use the clicker when they do it? For example, if my dog waits instead of bolting out of his crate, but I’m training him to ‘watch me’, should I click for only watching me or also other good behaviors? He already knows basic commands (just found out about clicker training!) and he knows to wait before coming out of his crate. However, he doesn’t follow commands enthusiastically, much like your dog, Teddy. He knows these things, but I want him to be happy doing them. Do I click for everything or go back and start over? (Re-teach sit, then re-teach down, then etc…one at a time.)
    Thanks for any info you provide! (:

    • Stephanie,
      Sorry for the delay in answering you! Hopefully you have figured out what to do, but in case…

      In your situation, I would re-teach many behaviors, using different verbal and/or hand signals. Since your dog already has learned many behaviors, you should find the training to go very quickly.

      Also, use the clicker for any behavior you want to work on. It does help, of course, to concentrate on one at a time, but that can mean working on Watch Me for a couple of minutes before moving on to something else. As soon as he is responding reliably (80% of the time in a least 3 different places), then you can stop using the clicker for that behavior. Bring it back out if you want to further shape the behavior someday or to teach something else.

  7. Paulo said

    Hi, I have an unusual clicker training problem.

    I have a healthy, happy, stereotypical food-obsessed adult lab. I’ve trained him to the point of roadcraft and knowing “his” rooms in the house, so he’s no slouch at learning. I’m trying to switch to clicker training, but I’m having issues with acclimatizing him properly to the clicker (recognizing the clicker as signifying “job well done, food reward coming” and trying to find the action that will get treats). Can you help suggest how to get him through it?

    What’s happening is that he watches the treats intently as always. I _think_ he has made a connection “click might mean treat is due”. I’ve click-treated in sessions of 5-10 minutes to try and build his understanding. I’ve varied the timing from simultaneous (click-treat) to a second or so’s pause (click-pause-treat) to test this. I’ve also tried the most basic of training that would be something new for him – “nose the neutral object and get a click/treat”.

    I’m not convinced he’s making a strong understanding of the connection of click to treat. He’s always looked to body language/verbal cues for when he will get treats before and is very skilled with body language (people generally not just me). So I think he’s seeing body language as primary and the clicker as an adjunct, not the main thing to look for.

    The other thing is that when I try “nose the object”, which he will, he’s sniffing/nosing it for a treat to appear but isn’t taking away the idea that “nosing is the behavior”. I move the object around now and then to avoid beliefs based on location.

    If I keep going he reverts to “sit nicely as long as needed” which is his main treat behavior, and however much I point to the object he sits as still as he can. Eventually he breaks his “sit” to sniff the object to please me and see if there’s food hidden, but he never seems to get past the superstition that a good sit, patience, and watching the human is how treats are obtained.

    Can you help? Thanks!

    • Paulo,
      First – I commend you for being willing to try something new!
      Sometimes dogs that were trained with other methods are not at all quick to try to figure things out. If their past training included punishments (even verbal, for some sensitive dogs), then they are hesitant to try. My friend Susan’s old GSD (who competed successfully at the utility level in AKC obedience) was very stressed when she tried this with him, too fearful of punishment. The dogs she & I have trained since then have never been punished for a wrong guess when training, so are eager to learn.

      For your dog, I suggest doing some behavior shaping. From your description, he sounds eager to learn. Try a game called “101 things to do with a Box.” Take a box (or some other household item) and just set it down in front of your dog. If he looks at it, click & treat (and be SURE of your timing… click the instant the dog looks – he needs to hear the click while looking – THEN quickly deliver the treat. From your explanation, I suspect your C&T timing is off.) After eating his treat, he will likely look at it again. C&T again. Then, hold off on the C&T until he does something else. He may look at it, then back at you a few times- ignore that. Wait for him to slightly change his behavior – perhaps he leans towards the box – then C&T. Once he picks up on the game, he should be quick to change his behavior until he accidentally does something you find amusing or worthwhile. Then, keep C&T’ing him for that behavior, and start to add a verbal cue just before he does it until he will perform that action for the cue. Do this over several different training sessions. I suspect that this game will help your clever Lab better figure out that his behavior will cause that C&T. Be careful to shape the behavior in very small increments – it’s easy to want to jump ahead, but that will actually slow you down in the long run.

      Remember… the timing is crucial. The click marks the behavior – it’s a fast & accurate way of saying “That’s it!” The treat should quickly follow the click. If you click while giving the treat, you are actually training the eating behavior… not something most Labs have a hard time with.

      Lastly, I highly recommend some outside reading for you. Try Karen Pryor’s newest book, Reaching the Animal Mind. She only describes shaping behaviors, which some people consider the only “true” way to clicker train.

      I’d love to hear an update on your you two are doing someday!

      • Paulo said

        Thanks – I’ll look into this once New Year is over! It’s certainly quite a new adventure for both of us!

        My main training method has been to show more unambiguous body language/voice tone (gentle fingerpointing etc) and then make it simpler and more subtle by adding distance/nuances, until the desired behavior is shaped. Works very well, he knows how to “read” gestures by now, and he’s become something of an expert at reading human body language and social cues as a result. Clickers are new to him!

  8. Thank you so much for all the clicker training information. I;m ordering a clicker today. I have one LARGE question that I can’t get an answer for from vets, trainers, groomers, etc. I rescued Basset Hounds, including an 8 year old blind one who lived for a wonderful 8 more years. But I had to move to an apartment for seniors (I’m 73 and need a walker to walk PJ) that only allowed dogs under 20 lbs. I adopted a wonderful 15 lb. Yorkie/terrier mix and was warned he wasn’t good around other dogs. To quote the rescue, “If he gets near another dog, he’ll kill it and keep him in a crate when you’re not home or he’ll destroy your apartment.) He was so sweet when I met him. He wasn’t barking at the other dogs. I hadn’t seen any dogs in my apartment or out around the area in the 4 months I’d lived there, so I decided to take a chance with him and brought him home with a new crate. He was house broken, could sit on his haunches and would climb up next to me on the couch and sit up on his hind legs to have his belly rubbed. He didn’t bother anything in the apt. When I went out, I put him in the crate and he would bark the whole time I was gone, so I tried leaving him without the crate and he was fine. Turns out there were four other dogs in the building whose owners never walked them, but Pj and I ran into 1 or 2 of them when they carried them down to sit in the first floor lobby, which is not allowed. when he ran into them unexpectedly, he went ballistic on the leash and I pilled him back into the elevator and escaped. Then dogs started
    showing up being walked around the neighborhood day and night, large and small and he would get violent on his leash long before they even got near, This doesn’t happen away from the area. He’s around dogs at the vet, the groomer, Petsmart and my daughters and he’s fine with other dogs. He pulled out of his halter once and chased a dog, but all he did was dance around it barking until I caught him. He’s friendly with many people in an around the area, but this behavior, but he.s getting harder for me to handle. I’ve tried over the counter calmers, citronella spray, training with treats and nothing will distract him when he does it. He also barks when the intercom buzzes and people come to the door. When they come to the door, he starts barking and runs for a toy for them to play with. He’s not a mean dog, but can I stop this awful barking with the clicker and treat training you describe?
    He’s kept me walking. He’s wonderful company for a lonely old woman. He even checks on me if I sleep too late by patting my face and then whining softly. Vets have said it won’t happen. What is your answer? Thank you for listening
    Paul and PJ

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