Monday, July 21, 2008

To Click, or Not To Click...

and I'm really voting to Not Click.

So, while this is not a dog blog, I am going to write about Tiger again. Tiger and I have been taking a class called "Manners for Shy Dogs" from a local dog training school. I have taken dog obedience classes before, taking the first one in 4-H when I was probably 12. I've also done the PetSmart classes in the past with other dogs. This time, I wanted to try something different with Tiger. I was doing okay training him on my own (the first thing any trainer tells you is that they are there to train the owner, not the dog), but what I couldn't figure out was his timidness. He is really scared of a lot of things. I have not quite figured out the pattern of things, but "Manners for Shy Dogs" hasn't really helped me either.

Do you know about dog people? In some circles, I am considered a dog person. I love my dog(s), other people's dogs, many people ask me questions about dogs. I take classes, I read about dog anatomy to learn more about diseases, I try to figure out the psychology of the dog. But, compared to the people who run this dog school, I am nothing. These people are serious. They are the decendents of Pavlov. And they click.

Clicker training is very behavior based psychology. It trains a dog that the click of the little clicker (see photo) produces a treat. So, the dog becomes focused on doing whatever is necessary to make the clicker get the treat.

I'm just not that into the clicker. Do I really want my dog to think that I am a treat machine? Not really. I think for some people clicking is great. It gets them a very well behaved dog. I'm just trying to connect with my dog on a different level. So, that gets me to a crossroads. I think I am going to quit the class.

Now remember who we are dealing with here. I have quit very, very few things in my life. I can hear my Mom saying, "Didn't you pay for that class?" But, I feel as if I paid for something that I didn't really get. You see, I thought this class for "shy dogs" was going to help my dog overcome shyness. Nope. Not at all. It is the same old teach how to sit, down, stay, go to a specific spot, loose leash walk class I've taken several times. Nothing in particular about shyness or helping with it.

So, I am not going again. Tiger doesn't particularly have fun there. And potentially, I could get more benefit out of taking him on a walk where we could interact with some people or different situations. So, I think I can do it. I'm getting rid of the clicker.


i miss elvis said...

I typed this whole thing and then I lost it while trying to sign up for an account. Now I am annoyed.
I liked reading about the clicker. I agree, not needed for Tiger. However, I am thinking about getting a clicker for my kids. Maybe if there were a treat reward system in place, they would acknowledge me when I nagged them. Put on clean underwear - tootsie roll; wash your hands - starburst; brush your teeth - lollipop. Wait a minute!

K.T. said...

I'd be happy to send you my clicker if you think it would help!

Marianne said...

Totally understand. I never understood why clicker training was the cure for "shy dogs" anyway. Also, if your dog isn't motivated by treats (one of mine isn't) what's the point?

SSS said...

Does clicker training work for rabbits?

K.T. said...

Those who click say that clicker training even works for chickens (see for a photo of people with their trained chickens).

If it works with chickens, I'm sure it will work with rabbits. However, you'll have to find a cure for the too-many-carrotitus, because, well the treats have to keep coming. :-)

SSS said...

It just seems to lower the dignity of the rabbit-roommate relationship. (I do not think of myself as Milo's "owner" -- I am, rather, his "roommate.")

Therefore, I stand in solidarity with you, staunchly anti-click!