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Thread: Instructors Meeting

  1. #1
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    Default Instructors Meeting

    Well went to the instructors meeting. Here I am all prepared for discussion on should we have the first day of training a no dog day and it never comes up for discussion. I would of liked to have said something but with puppies and mum at home and everyone else out at Scouts I didn't have the time to hang around.

    Instead we discuss various other things which are all fairly routine and then finish the night off with a heated discussion on what to do if a person with a clicker comes to class.

    Now I like clickers, don't use one, prefer to use voice 'Yes', but have had to for courses etc and we trained the pet rat (nothing special) using one.

    My thoughts are that if an experienced person was to come to class with a clicker I've got no problem, but I find most inexperienced people are going well to control their adolescent dog, have the lead in the correct hand, manage their treats etc etc. Let alone time the clicker.

    We are talking a big club here, on an open oval, Sat arvo the average mum and dad with a dog between 8 months and 2 years. They either did puppy class and then stopped and have now come back or skipped it all together and have joined because they are sick of the dog taking them for a walk. But it brought up all sorts of questions that others members might ask. Why don't I have a clicker? That clicker is distracting my dog. etc etc.

    It has been proven that dogs learn to identify their own clicker but we're talking beginner classes here.

    What is happening in your club and do they use clicker, voice or both?

  2. #2
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    I took Madeline to a large obedience club for about 4 months, I never saw anyone using clickers there. But they didn't use bridge words or treats only check chains.

    I took Griffen to smaller group training classes. We were taught about clickers in the first class but alot of the people didn't really know how to use it properly and clicked at the wrong times. We were also taught bridge words, we were given the choice which to use

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    Thanks, so would you say the majority of people were confused because the instructors had not taught the methods correctly?

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    No I think it was actually taught well but it wasn't followed up on, the teacher didn't correct the mistakes people were making, an example when we were doing sit, one person would click then say sit but wasn't told what they were doing wrong.
    I really liked the idea so after the lesson I went and did alot of reading up about it so I knew what I was doing.

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    I think dispite being a fairly easy concept some people find it hard to learn the correct timing unless they already know about using a bridge word.

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    thanks for the feedback, given me food for thought.

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    There has only been one dog club I've been to that has allowed use of a clicker but it was only in advanced classes. You had to complete level one and two before being allowed to use the clicker. During levels one and two students are taught all about bridge words, correct timing of bridge words then had the theory of a clicker explained before being taught how to implement the clicker as well as charging etc.

    The first lesson on bridge words was without dogs and IMO it's brilliant! It's by far the best way to get the owners to understand the implementation while they aren't distracted by their dogs.

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    When we first started doing formal training with Pepsi, she was already 2 yrs old and had no training, the people we trained with were great but there was a divide within the group over clicker training, one trainer believed that all dogs should be trained with a clicker the other didn't.

    I also think it would have been a whole lot easier if some one had sat down with us before we started and explained what and how we were going to achieve our goals.

    We only went to get some basic training and manners for our dog, we never wanted to turn her into an obedience star, sometime this is lost on the trainers, i know you as a trainer want to give as many skills as possible but i found it quite intimidating.

    We reached level 3 obedience and she now has reliable recall, sit, drop etc all of which i am most grateful for! but there were times when i wondered if it was worth listening to the trainers bicker over clicker v's reward v's words!

    just my opinion!

  9. #9
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    Gary Wilkes has this to say about clickers in classes - look at number 5 on this page

    Gary Wilkes ClickandTreat.com Myths about Clicker Training and Intro
    The reality is that dogs have better hearing that we do and they quickly learn to listen for their owner's click, while ignoring all others.
    And timing is EVERYTHING - and that may be a problem in a big class where people with bad timing don't get corrected.
    This article stresses the importance of timing (and it needs practice to get right)
    Gary Wilkes ClickandTreat.com Training for Real Dogs in the Real World
    At a recent seminar I gave, the promoters insisted on offering an additional evening for "advanced" trainers. As I began the seminar, I asked "how many of you have clicker trained more than two dogs?" Of the 50 people there, only one raised her hand. During the course of the evening, I saw people who didn't have a clue about how to hold or use a target stick, others who clicked late and early or had no idea how to vary the reinforcement. Regardless of their prior knowledge, many of these "advanced" trainers didn't have any clicker training skills to build on.
    From the above quote you can see what you might be up against with non-clicking instructors when they start learning the clicker.

  10. #10
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    Pepsi, sounds like you have done very well with your dog. I am hoping to get feedback so that our club doesn't get as confusing as yours obviously was.

    Like the idea of it being used in the advanced classes, but then again why not get stuck into it earlier?? That's the million dollar question.


    Hyacinth, thanks for the info, I had a quick browse and will now go back and re-read it in depth.

    I can see benefits of the clicker and then I can see problems. As I said for those that have a little bit of dog know how or even just coordination with lead etc (which I'm surprised so many people don't) I think they will love it and so will the instructors. It's the rest of the people I'm worried about and of course those instructors that are dead against it.

    I watched the UD training on Wednesday night before the meeting and one instructor had a valid point. Her dog was distracted by another handler using the clicker albeit only a head turn from her dog.

    I'm on the fence with this one. I haven't used it on the dogs myself because I feel my voice is with me everywhere, but when I showed my SD how it worked and we used her pet rat both she and the rat got it in minutes. But then you're not juggling leads etc either.

    Will have to do more reading because I'm going round in circles. Thanks.
    Last edited by mouseandchicken; 02-04-2010 at 04:20 PM.

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