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Jul 26, 2011


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Darcy, I've decided to start my 6 year old chow mix reusce on some agility training. Eddie has always been a great dog to work with, always willing and eager to learn. I decided to start with clicker training after having read about it in your blogs. I was excited to begin when I received the Sit Stay Clicker starting kit, and i read the book and watched the video. In our first session, just familiarizing him with the concept of the clicker, he ran away every time I clicked! He had the same demeanor that he has every time he gets his toenails clipped or his glands expressed he looks like I just hit him with a board. I stopped after 3 tries as I was concerned about what was clearly a negative experience for him. Do you have any ideas for me as to what other noise maker I can use instead of the clicker? I hate to give up on this idea so soon! JaneDear Jane, It sounds like your dog might be sound sensitive or you might be leaning toward him too much when you click so it's more like a reprimand type of action than a good thing. First use really, really fantastic treats, something your dog loves very much. You can warm up the treats in the microwave but just so they're warm not hot, that will bring out the smell. Or warm baked chicken meat is one most dogs can't turn down, that could get you started again. Or baked liver, that's always a treat! Go easy on the liver though, too much organ meat can cause loose stools.This is what I suggest. Put the clicker into a sock and hold it behind your back or at your waist at the side, not really hiding it but moving it away from your dog. The sock will reduce the sound. Toss treats onto the floor a ways from you, about three feet or so. As your dog picks up each treat, click instantly as each treat goes into his mouth. By the time you feed him 15 treats this way, you should be able to hand feed the treats as you click, still with the muted clicker.If he is still afraid of the muted clicker sound, go outside and try again. Dog on leash. The sound will be more absorbed into the outdoor air.If that is still too much for him, use a ball point pen clicker. That's a soft click.Do make sure that you're not concerned about anything when you start your training sessions. Laugh and have fun. Don't forget to breathe. When we are relaxed, our dogs tend to relax, too.If your dog isn't food motivated, you can use a toy toss as the reward.I'd strongly suggest that you go for a nice happy walk before starting clicker training. The walk helps your dog deplete some of that energy that might be causing his fear reaction to the sound of the clicker. Remember, it's a game so keep a smile on your face and don't lean or stand right over your dog.Let me know how it goes. I'm so proud of you! All dogs will learn clicker training quickly, with some we have to find a way around their regular fears to get started. You're going to do great. Darcie

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