Saturday, July 16, 2011

Clicker Training part 1

Two weeks ago, I decided to introduce Fred to clicker training. I have wanted to embark on this new technique for quite some time. I have been having a hard time figuring out how to get started with it. My hesitation comes from the fact that I want this to be a fun activity for us both. I have worried that for what ever reason it will just end up with the two of us completely frustrated.

With some much needed encouragement from some wonderful fellow bloggers I got just the boosts I needed. First I would like to give credit where credit is due. Thank you to Jackal and Storms Mom  along with her two dogs, she is also clicker training her two beautiful horses Faran and Chrome. She was the first one to pique my interest in clicker training.  I also want to thank Marley's Mom She had 90 days to train a wild mustang from the ground up for the Extreme Mustang Makeover that took place close to the end of June in CO and still attended college at the same time! Her blog chronicles her journey from start to finish and her continuing experiences. I found it very enjoyable to be vicariously a part of that. They both integrate clicker training into their training programs with slight differences, so my "technique", and I use that term very loosely, is hopefully going to be sort of a blend between the two. Thanks you guys for the unselfish guidance and continuing support!

I have been debating for a while now whether to share my little video here for all to see, but I figured, what the heck, this blog is about Fred, and I want to include you in my many experiences with him. This so happens to be a biggie for Fred and me. My ultimate goals for the clicker training is to be able to teach Fred new and interesting things. Not just parlor tricks, but hopefully more challenging things that can keep Fred interested. He really is a smart little guy and I know he will enjoy learning new things.

In order to reach that goal I need to first teach Fred what the clicker is and what it means to him. My first goal was to just to show Fred that the clicker means he will get a "good goodie" if he does what I ask of him. That's it, very basic. A Pavlov's dog type of thing.

After watching the long version of this many times I am pretty sure Fred pretty much got "it" way before I did. I obviously have coordination issues, and I hope Fred will come to accept my faults and be patient with me as I continue to learn along with him. And so, without further ado, grab some popcorn and enjoy the show! (Just kidding, it's pretty short).

Believe it or not, I actually fixed my hair and put make up on for this very special occasion. Embarrassed smile Fred didn't know what was going on, usually that means we are going to go somewhere.
I just threw a shoe in the middle of the floor and aimed the camera in that general area, god I'm a dork. Here is a picture of the top half of me.

(self portraits are not my "forte" I found this to be extremely challenging)
Obviously, this was taken in my half bath and when I tried to crop it, it just ended up very grainy, so I just left it as is.
This was after our session, I think Fred had had enough of me.
Well, I am pretty sure I was able to introduce the clicker to Fred without too much trauma. We are now on the road to some new and fun things ahead. I am anxious to see how far I can really go with Fred. He tries so hard for me, and he really, truly, wants to do anything I ask of him. I just need to be very clear on how I go about showing him what it is that I want him to do. Should be fun!
Thanks for stopping by my blog! Smile


  1. Fred looks so.... dismissive in that last pic lol

    Tried to play the video but it wouldn't work. It just said "This video is private"

    Bostons are really smart! Also independant, which is where Tucker's "Come" is less than stellar.

  2. Love the captions in the video!

    I suspect that in many ways, dog training isn't so very different from horse training (except for size of the animal). It can take time for the animal to figure out what we expect, which can lead to frustration for both parties. The key is to except even the slightest correct response, and then build upon it over time. When things don't go well, it's always good to go back to something they are good at, and end on a good note.

    Your self portrait turned out much better than any of my attempts. Due, in no small part I'm sure, to the fact that you have much better subject matter to work with. ;)

  3. It was nice to see you and Fred working together. Fred has so much personality and expression. He is clearly a very smart dog!

  4. I think you guys did great. :) Your timing and coordination will improve quickly. Before long you won't even remember why it felt so awkward. :) Stick with it because I think you'll both love it.

  5. I recall from endless obedience classes (my parents raised german Shepards for the Seeing Eye) where the instructor told us that most of the training was aimed at the people (handler)... a good dog just knew what to do.

    You look great! and it looks like Freddy is one-eager-to-please dog!!

  6. Looks like it went well. I saw a clicker trained cat at a cat show once and it was amazing. My first cat I had as an adult trained himself to retrieve and I even took him out on a leash for awhile. I'm working on training the chickens to go where I want them to and it's going pretty well considering....

  7. Great clicking for a beginner. It won't be long before it is easy for both of you--then you can teach him anything! Fred will love it, too. With my dog, I just reach for clicker and she gets excited.

  8. Wow I'm getting behind on reading again. I'll have to come read your new posts after supper. They look really interesting at a glance.

    As far as Chrome's growth, most horses don't finish growing until around six or seven years old. As far as his height though he should be almost done by three or four. Some horses will add another inch even after four though. :) There's no way to know for sure.


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