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The newest addition to our household is the adorable Ollie; a golden cocker spaniel from a rescue centre who came to stay with us at the age of two. On his arrival we were delighted to see that Ollie knew all the basic commands and was very ready to please. He could sit, and soon would lie, stay and wait for his food. His recall was not so good, and what little training he had in this area seemed to quickly disappear once he had experienced our novice approach to dog walking. Gradually the call of the rabbits overcame his desire to please us, and we had to embark on some serious training to avoid falling out with our local park keeper for ever.
Reading through various training advice on the internet, the clicker method of training seemed to be the one that made the most sense. The advice was "how many times a day do you say Good Dog, and not mean it?" Using a clicker to communicate your approval allows the human owner to speak to the dog in a more meaningful way.
I rushed out to my local pet supermarket and bought the CLIX multi-clicker for £3.95. The clicker itself is a rather neat blue plastic device that, at 7cm long, can fit nicely into your palm when you are out walking. My clicker has an elasticated thong so that it can be attached to a belt or zip if you do not want to carry it. A thumb-shaped button is ridged for extra grip, and when it is depressed it depresses a flexible metal sheet, making a sharp clicking noise. Another button on the back allegedly turns the volume of the click up or down, but in reality this seems to make little difference.
My clicker came with a free training guide in four different languages. This includes a variety of basic training - both practical things such as walking on a loose lead, lying down etc, and fun things such as spinning. We had to laugh when we read this, as it is very difficult to stop Ollie from spinning naturally - as soon as he gets excited he spins like a top, often wrapping us up in his extendable lead like a parcel!
The most useful thing that the training guide told us was to click as soon as the dog exhibited the required behaviour - so that he knows straight away when he has got it right, and gets a reward. The click should not be used at any other time and it is a good way of communicating your pleasure to the dog. I immediately started to use the clicker on walks. I called "Ollie, Come", and as soon as Ollie scampered towards me and landed at my feet I would give one click and a treat. It soon became obvious that Ollie knew the "Come" command very well and was just being a bit of a teenager with selective deafness when he headed off into the undergrowth. With the clicker system we soon managed to get him back on track and now he comes immediately.
Our next challenge is to stop him chasing the cats. If we can successfully call him away from the cats, or get him to stop his frantic barking when he sees them, he gets an immediate click and reward. This is gradually starting to work, but in very small steps. I feel the clicker is the best tool we have at our disposal at the moment, as he knows that a click means that he has pleased us and done something right.
The clicker itself has so far proved to be fairly indestructible. There is really very little that can go wrong with it. I like it because it slips so easily into a pocket or palm. Sometimes I feel that I am weighed down with poo bags, treats, leads when I take Ollie out, and I don't want to add to the burden.
I think the clicker is an excellent training tool if used properly. We only use it for specific training needs, and not for everyday commands. I also read a long time ago that it is a bad idea to recall train a dog using a whistle or clicker as there is a risk that you will lose control if you leave the whistle or clicker at home. For this reason we train using voice commands - the clicker just re-enforces approval and motivation.
I tried to get into the clicker training with my dogs and what better way but to buy a clicker.
It is probably just the fact I didn't really get on with the clicker or my dog training was a different kind of training to what clicker needed.
The basic idea to clicker training is that when the dog completes a desired task the clicker is clicked to signify that the task was correct. The clicker basically replaces the verbal praise to let the dog know it is correct. Coupled with a treat the dog then hears the click and knows a treat is coming.
I tend to not train with food as I want the dog to work because I've asked it to not because it may get some food. This then made the clicker a bit redundent to behonest. No treat after the click ment the dog didn't really associate the click with praise. I used verbal praise and the dog liked this better than the click!
So unfortunately the clicker did not work for me and my dogs. It is in fully functioning order and so if it was to be used I do not see that it would break etc.
The unit comes with a variation of the sound of the click and it has a little elasticate wrist strap too to keep it safe.
If you are looking to train with treats then the clicker is probably for you, unfortunately it was not for me.
We have been talking about getting a dog for what felt like years and finally after moving from the city to the country we decided the time was right. I wasn't that picky on what kind of dog we ended up with, initially we thought that we might get a smaller dog, as I had previously (when I was young) had a Yorkshire Terrier that was just lovely. However, my hubby fancied a labradoodle as he can be slightly allergic to some dogs. We looked around and our timing seemed to be perfect and there were labradoodle pups available and ready to take home close to our area.
We went out to see them and the mother was huge, but lovely. We choose and collected our very own black and cute as a button puppy that day. I was a bit concerned my husband would be a bit wary at the size he would eventually grow into, but he fell as head over heels in love with our new addition as me. However, because he is going to grow and grow we decided that we want to make sure that he is trained properly, therefore, after reading a bit about it we went out and invested in one of these Clix Mulit-Clicker training aids.
The Clix mulit-clicker is quite a simple concept and it is a very simple piece of kit. It is just a button that you press which cause a piece of metal to make a click noise, the added extra or multi click feature of this is the volume control. For my personal preference I have only ever used this at the quietist setting, believing that you shouldn't really need it to be loud as I don't use it to get the pups attention I only use this when I already have his full attention.
Although this is a simple device you can do a lot with it. I have used it to help teach him to sit, give paw, lie down and my husband's all time favourite to high-five. There are still loads of things left to teach him and with the use of this clicker he seems to be picking it up quickly and well.
It is simple to use when the puppy or dog does something you want him to do, you click him and give him a treat. Click then treat - it's that simple. He will eventually learn extremely fast how he gets the click and treat. After he has gotten the idea of what you want him to do then you introduce the words, e.g. sit and match it to his behaviour. I only use this for ten or fifteen minute bursts, I want to make it fun and I don't want to tire him out or make it less interesting. Training should be as fun as you can make it, if he enjoys learning then personally I think that he will pick things up faster.
These are available from most pet stores and online pet shops even including Amazon, there are a few different types of these available and they are all pretty much for sale for under £5. For the amount I have already used this and I will continue to get a lot of use from this over the next few months, I think that this is a bit of a bargain.
I wouldn't be without one of these clicker training aids now. It really is a product that deserves a five out of five star rating. If you have a puppy or are thinking of getting one then I would completely recommend investing a few pounds in one of these as it has helped me and the puppy to bond and it is helping him to become a well trained pooch.
For the first time, our family expanding was planned
Oscar the black labrador-collie cross
We had been talking about getting a dog for what seemed like our entire life. But, with the kids being young, we never got one because we did not feel that it would have been safe. That all changed 8 months ago, when in an extreme move by my good self, I suddenly decided it was a good idea. The fact that my fantastic wife was having baby pangs for the fourth time was purely coincidental!!
We carried out a lot of research, and spent a long time deciding on which breed to get. Intelligence was a key factor, but more important was the need for a dog that would be safe for our family. We decided on either a labrador, or a collie. So, when we saw an advert for Labrador-collie crossbred puppies, we jumped at the chance.
We went to see the puppies, and Oscar chose us. He moved away from the rest of his family, and picked us to be his new pack. We fell in love with him instantly, and over the past 6 months he really has become one of us. Things have been great. His temperament around our kids is remarkable. Even with little Grace who is three, and loves to treat him like a big teddy. His development was fantastic, until around a month ago, when we started to experience a blip.
Oscar seemed to no longer react the same to vocal commands, especially when he was further away. He seemed not to hear, or not to understand. We were concerned for a while, especially as some unfavourable activities were also developing. For example, he was digging in the garden and barking more than usual.
Me being me, I jumped on the internet and did some research. It seems that it is a common problem when the dog is growing up. They can become so engrossed in what they are doing, that they find it very difficult to concentrate on you. The best approach is to make a sharp noise to break his concentration, so that he fixes it on you.
Now, I am not a big fan of walking down the street making noises on par with someone suffering from tourettes, so I checked out what aids there are available and came accross clickers. Basically, it is a little piece of plastic, containing a piece of metal that clicks when you push a button. The click will cause the dog to look over, and this combined with a reward system train the dog to see the click as a positive thing.
*To start with, you need to get the dog used to the clicker. He needs to see it as a good thing. The best way to achieve this is to start without demanding the dog to do anything more difficult than to look at you. Have your dog facing you, and wait until his attention starts to wander. When this happen, use your clicker. If his attention moves to you then give him a tasty treat and praise him. You will find that very quickly he will make the connection between you clicking, and him getting something nice as long as he does what he is told.
*Once you are happy that your dog will respond to the noise of the clicker by offering you his full attention, then you are ready to move on to the next stage. You can use his expectation to your advantage by training him to do all sorts of tricks. For example, ask your dog to sit. Do not click, or reward until he sits, and as soon as he does click, reward and praise. It really is that simple.
*Moving on from here, if you use the clicker everyday, it can be used to draw his attention away from bad behaviour, like barking. He will be so happy to here that click, that he will stop what he is doing and come to you. Breaking his attention on the bad behaviour is the key, and once you achieve this he will soon forget.
*Remember never to use the clicker as a threat, and always keep it positive. It is all important that the dog feels happy and comfortable in during the training.
I found this clicker in my local pet store. The thing that drew me to this one was the fact that it had a setting control, allowing you to set it for louder or softer clicks. Some smaller types of dogs get very startled by sharp noises, and the lower setting is good for this. That however was not going to be a problem for my 8 month old lab-collie cross! The louder the better, especially considering that we are blessed with a good sized garden..
The clicker was attractively packaged. and looked pretty nice compared to the others. It also had a basic training guide with it and was on a little elastic strap. The price was good too, at only £3.99.
The clicker has turned out to be very sturdy, surviving its constant daily use with consumate ease. It fits very well in the hand, allowing you to have it and use it, without the dog ever seeing its there. The training booklet was a bit basic, but all the information you will ever need on clicker training is out there for free on the old world wide web.
The only real negative i would have is that the elastic strap was pretty useless. But it was very easy to fit your own stronger strap, maqking this the ideal training tool.
This little lump of plastic and metal has been an absolute godsend! It took me about half an hour to get him used to the device, and after that the control I had over him was incredable. Younger dogs often struggle with "stay", and we were having real trouble with that one. The very day I got the clicker, I got Oscar to stay for the first time! It made me so happy. I thought I was doing something wrong, or that he just wasn't listening to me.
We have since been able to step it up to more complex tasks, like rolling over, dancing and begging. He seems to relish the challenge now, and also the tasty treats! We have been able to stop the bad behaviour that was creeping in as well. When he barks or digs, we click and he comes straight away. Give him a wee bit of attention, and he soon forgets about the bad stuff.
The only warning I would have, is to not over train. A dog finds mental stimulation very tiring. Try to keep the training to half hour slots. You will find that your dog will be a bit lathargic after, and will sleep better, and this will also help to deter any bad behaviour. If you over train, they will eventually lose concentration in your demands, the same way that we would lose concentration in work at towards the end of a thirteen hour shift.
I Would recommend one of these to all dog owners. It makes training so much easier, and takes the stress out for you and your dog. He will get confused and frustrated if he cannot understand what you want him to do, and this device is about as close as you can get to being able to talk dog!!!
With a wedding approaching it was only natural that we would start to discuss a family. We both agreed that although a family was certainly on the agenda we were not 100% ready for kids; however a canine friend would be a welcome addition to our family, we really didn't want a baby and a puppy at the same time for practical reasons.
We discussed breeds and after some deliberation decided that due to friendly temperament, small size and lively personality the Beagle would give us years of enjoyment and would be a great dog to have around children. We found ourselves becoming quite obsessed looking at websites, books and even You Tube to get a thorough understanding of behaviour and training requirements. We soon learned that although an older Beagle is a lovable breed the training and puppy months can be somewhat stressful. We knew that to enjoy our Buster in later life we would have to work hard in his first months with us.
Before we had even paid our deposit for Buster we booked him into a training school however the popular training school was fully booked until September. We contacted the breeder and booked a date 2 days after our honeymoon, much sooner than we had anticipated but nonetheless we were excited and ready for the challenge. We were confident that we had done our 'homework' and knew that to see us through the period before his final puppy injection and the wait for his puppy classes we would need to start training from the word 'GO'. The research had assured us that we would rather use positive reinforcement rather than resort to shouting and smacking. The older methods really did not appeal to us. We visited our local pet store hoping to buy a 'clicker' of some sort - a quick chat to the shop assistant confirmed our thoughts and we ended up purchasing the 'Clix Multi-Clicker'.
The product states that it is recommended by Dr Roger Mugford, an influential animal behaviourist. The 'Clix Multi-Clicker' is a small blue device with a pressurized metal strip inside. When the button is depressed the device makes a 'click click' sound. The volume/sound can be gradually increased or decreased to suit the hearing ability/preference of the puppy/dog. The 'Clix Multi-Clicker is about 5cm long and about 2 cm thick with a small elastic wrist band. The clicker comfortably fits in the hand. The 'Clix Multi-Clicker' is ergonomically designed with a raised button so that it is easier to use. The 'Clix Multi-Clicker' comes with a training guide which helped us train Buster how to go toilet on the newspaper and training pads and to sit however the down command took a lot more work and I found myself searching pet forums and You Tube for advice on other commands and training issues. We soon learned that the timing of the 'click click' sound is crucial. The treat should be given after the sound is heard and the sound should be straight after the desired behaviour has been achieved e.g. for the 'SIT' command the clicker should be pressed as soon as the bottom touches the floor and then the treat must be given when the command has been completed e.g. the puppy stays in the position long enough to call it a sit e.g. a few seconds.
We used the clicker from day one and within 3 days noticed an amazing improvement with behavior. Buster was able to toilet on the training pads and understood the command 'sit' and 'down'. We are now able to use the 'SIT' command when Buster is biting feet, hands, and furniture or barking. Without hesitation Buster sits making it easy to remove the item he has stolen or stopping him from Barking. If Buster is jumping up at guests or furniture we use the 'DOWN' command and he reluctantly sits on the floor with a slight growl.
The use of the 'Clix Multi-Clicker' has enabled us to reward desired behaviour rather than punish him for undesired behaviour. Training Buster has been fun, we use the 'Clix Multi-Clicker' twice a day for 5-10 minutes or until Buster loses interest. We are now able to pick the 'Clix Multi-Clicker' up off the shelf and Buster is sat waiting for his next command. In the 2 weeks that we have Buster the 'Clix Multi-Clicker' has made the 'house-bound' stage prior to his vaccination more bearable. We will continue to use the 'Clix Multi-Clicker' on car journeys, walkies and when visiting the vets, family or friends. We couldn't imagine what the last 2 weeks would have been like without our 'Clix Multi-Clicker' although I am sure it would have involved more Elastiplast, Strepsils and socks. We have found that the volume control has been beneficial for indoor/outdoor training. When Buster is outdoors in the garden I find that the maximum volume is most effective as the sound of traffic or background noise can be distracting. When indoors or when it is quiet however the lowest volume is sufficient as the higher sound can be quite alarming and can distract him. The 'Clix Multi-Clicker' is therefore better suited than cheap or non-branded clickers for Buster.
The 'Clix Multi-Clicker' cost £3.99 from the local pet store although it can be purchased online for £1- £2 less however this saving must be weighed up against postage and packaging. I personally think the £3.99 price tag was well worth it and a price cannot be put on a well-behaved, pleasant dog. The investment at the beginning will pay off in a few months when Buster starts teething as he is now aware of 'Buster's' toys and 'Human toys' knowing that he should not touch shoes, DVDs, CDs, cups of tea etc.
The 'Clix Multi-Clicker' is not a miracle cure for bad behaviour however it relies heavily on owner enthusiasm and participation. The clicker needs to be used at the correct time and must be used regularly. We have since purchased two more clickers so that my husband can use it; we found that we were using it so often that chucking it across the room made the training ineffective. We can now teach Buster to 'FETCH' and to 'COME', a spare 'Clix Multi-Clicker' has been given to my parents who have agreed to look after him if we need to go somewhere for more than 3 hours so that the training is consistent. I am now at the stage where for new commands we give a small treat (actually a chunk of dry dog food Buster will not eat training treats) however for old/learned commands we can get away with praise and attention so Buster does not expect a treat when he sits.
I would not hesitate at all in recommending this product especially for puppies, they are so quick to learn.
As many of you know I have two Old English sheep dogs and I buy and try everything doggie related I can, and if they are all good I pass on my wisdom to you lucky people in the form of my pet reviews.
A few moths ago I purchased a clicker training kit and if you read the review, you will notice that the multi clicker was not that helpful in helping my Meg walk at heal, but my older dog has an issue with barking in the car.
After using a citronella bark collar on her she improved rapidly but did not stop barking altogether and when we stopped using the bark collar she seemed to know she wasn't wearing it. Rather than inflict the nasty citronella on the dog and anyone in the car I decided to try the multi clicker as it was just lying around collecting dust.
THE CLICKER DEVICE
The multi clicker is a devise that is a flat pear shape and sits comfortably into the palm of your hand, it is small enough that you can clasp your hand shut and the dog will not even realise you are holding the training clicker.
This works by emitting a sharp sound that instantly gets the dogs attention and distracts them from what they were focused on at the time, once the dog has turned its attention to you ideally they should be rewarded with a nice treat.
The multi clicker has two settings a low and a high setting, I tend to use the low setting as the barking is only occasional but if the dog becomes persistent I will use the higher noise setting as this is the only way to get her attention as she gets really wound up when she has her barking fit and I really struggle to get her attention on the low setting.
To emit the sound you just click the button on the top of the devise, all you hear is the click and the dog hears the high pitched sound so this works very well as it is very quite but very effective in getting the dog to stop barking.
The devise came with an elasticated strap which keeps the multi clicker to hand for any barking situations, with this having the strap has made I possible for me to use it in the car as I can still drive as well as click to tell the dog to stop.
PRICE / AVAILABILITY
I got my clicker as part of a training kit originally bought for my other dog, it was purchased from www.canineconcepts.co.uk for 9.99, within the kit I also got a dog training stick, treats, a treat bag and a full training manual.
However for the purpose of this review I have looked at canine concepts website and you can but this same clicker for 3.95, so if you don't have use for the full training kit this can be purchased on its own and it comes will a training booklet to give you tips and advice.
When I first got the multi clicker I thought it would be good to train aggressive dogs as it did not help with my walking at heal problem with Meg, In this situation in did not need to divert her attention just stop her pulling me.
Anyway my eldest dog has had this bark problem for years with the help of the citronella spray collar she has really improved and only barks on occasions, so this clicker has worked well in training her not to slip back into the old habit of her persistent barking.
I am so happy that I remembered I had this as it has worked wonders and I can go out alone in the car with the dogs and not worry about who is going to control the barking, this was something I could never do alone as the barking was a real distraction when I was trying to concentrate on the road.
I feel that the dog I much happier with the multi clicker as she is not getting sprayed with citronella, I also prefer it as is doesn't smell and I can't even hear it.
I would recommend this to any owner who has a dog with attention issues, I feel this would be perfect for puppy training as well, because you can teach the dog to sit, give paws and stay but this will need to be done along side reward treats as well, the puppies will soon associate the clicker with a treat and do as they are told.
Overall I feel this is a great universal gadget that can be used for many purposes and I would recommend this to any new dog owners of people like me who have stubborn dogs.
Let's face facts, if you are looking for some guidance on how to train your dog from the outset you are probably feeling pretty much stressed - I know I was - so I'll try to keep this review as straightforward as possible.
I'd actually threatened to buy a clicker for my older dog but never got around to it, however when I got a new puppy who quickly transformed into 'Thunder Thug,' as an adolescent, I knew I had to do something.
Firstly you can buy several 'packages' of clicker.
You can buy a standard, stand alone clicker. One tone and no instructions.
You can buy a two tone clicker and small instruction booklet
You can buy a clicker 'package,' which, I understand, contains the two tone clicker, lanyard (ropey thing for going around your wrist), instructions, and a pole thingy for training the dog. I know nothing about the 'pole thingy' so can't comment on its involvement or effectiveness, except to say that this package comes in at around £10.
I went for package number two, which costs around the £3-£4 mark depending on where you buy it from. So, I ended up with a two tone clicker (with wrist lanyard attached) and an instruction booklet.
I actually think that I did make a good choice. Without the lanyard I most certainly would have lost the device by now, without the lower and higher clicker tone I don't think my dogs would have taken much notice, and the information booklet is invaluable in pointing out what you are doing right, and probably more importantly, in highlighting what not to do.
The importance of the two tone clicker I found out more or less straight away. I set it on the quieter tone, not wanting to scare the dogs rather than just get their attention. They didn't hear it - and that was in the house, so if the wind is blowing outdoors you stand a chance of a dog taking no notice whatsoever.
It duly went on the louder tone and this certainly got their attention.
The booklet is basically an Idiot's Guide - something I do like to see, and is written in plain English giving instructions on how to train the dog to basic commands and then on to more difficult 'tricks' should you so wish.
Now as with all animal training, should you suffer a distinct lack of success, it is worth remembering the majority of the faults lie with the trainer rather than with the dog. A hard lesson for us to learn I know, but very true nonetheless, so I did set off with the mind-set that if the dog 'didn't get it,' then I was most probably doing something wrong.
But the dog did get it - provided I got the timing right -and as with most things, timing is everything. Basically you are getting the dog's immediate attention and rewarding it as soon as it does something right, but your clicker response has to be immediately the required action happens. Here was the only problem I found with the clicker - it was sometimes a little difficult to actually depress the clicker button itself. Fumbling about and giving the dog a click/reward a few seconds after the required action really does no good, so my one bit of concern is that I would like to see a quicker-clicker.
Other than that, if you get it right and are patient and persistent, then this product does work. Both my dogs are bull headed and somewhat thunderous, but it grabs their attention and I can now get the younger of the two to walk to heel - most of the time. But these things do take time and occasionally you have the odd slip up - however you do make it in the end and feel better about praising a dog for doing the right thing, rather than shouting at it for doing the wrong one.
Altogether a good product.
Clicker has an adjustable sound level to suit all dogs and comes with an elasticated wrist strap.