I try to limit the amount of cutesy animal videos and photos I share on Facebook and I have only 2 dogs here and my 4 cats are in Canada - so really, not that bad. ;)
I've decided to try with my friend (another dog owner) to start clicker training with our dogs. I was worried that it would be too late because Blue will be 12 in a couple of weeks or so and Loki will be 8 (I honestly had to dig around in my photo albums and use a calculator...I thought he was turning 7!) this December.
But thanks to some encouragement from some other like-minded dog-crazy friends - I wanted and had to try.
We still have some behaviours that I'd like to work on correcting - mostly tugging like a psycho when they see another dog, squirrel or hare.
I can't blame them - a dog's bum is like a Facebook newsfeed and profile in one furry spot and a caught hare or rabbit is free, fresh food!
Also with Loki, he's still half teenager and doesn't come when called all the time - I'd say about 50% of the time he comes when I use my "Momster" voice and I'm already long gone. If he has his nose in a hole somewhere a rabbit or mouse was - I don't stand a chance!
I had used a clicker before - perhaps three years ago and it never really stuck. That's entirely my fault for not "conditioning" it first - teaching the dogs that simply a "click" means a treat and showing that it's a super positive thing and just as positive as belly rubs and ear scratches.
My friend wanted to find a better way to recall her dog better and I must've spoke wonders about the clicker because we both went out and got one and this morning was our first time trying it.
I didn't get any photos because I really only have so many hands - but I had conditioned it yesterday (*click, give a treat* repeat about 10x for each dog) and they saw the clicker (as it hangs off my key chain now) and Loki's recall time was much faster than normal!
Even if he did run back to that hole he was digging in and sniffing around - the main point is that he did come to me when called!
I've also seemed to become MORE of an alpha in the household and the dogs seem to track me even more because they know that Mommy has the clicker and the treats. ;)
My friend's dog is nearing 2 years old and he's at the super horny teenage phase and doesn't want to listen either. He's ultra protective and will bark at anyone and anything that gets near - so for her - this clicker will be super important in curving those un-wanted behaviours in a positive manner.
So I dug around online and found this super simple and basic video on how to start with the clicker.
My friend and I watched it together in the middle of the woods while our dogs ran around freely and figured, "We can SO do this!"
And once we get the basics down - then we can really push our dogs and ourselves - the sky's the limit!
So far so good.
PS A friend suggested if our local pet store didn't carry them and we had to wait for an online order to come in - to try using a retractable pen that clicks loudly!