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Yes, but if clicker training is used to guide a dog to the correct behavior when learning a new behavior, throwing a ball or playing tug does not seem to be an appropriate reward.

Whyever not?

Mary H. and the Ames National Zoo: Regis, Sam-I-Am, Noah (1992-2001), Ranger, Duke,
felines, and finches
How much free food does your dog get each day? How much are you feeding in daily meals. Most dogs are overfed and that would certainly lead to lackof food drive.

Hah. And again I say, HAH! ;-D Dogs with serious food drive will eat no matter what, when, or where. Brenin, aka Mr. Piggy Boy, would be a blimp if I let him eat all the food that he wanted..
On a more serious note- if you're going to use treats as part of your daily training, you
should be factoring them into your dog's overall food intake. That's one of the reasons my primary training treat is small chunks of high-quality, smelly,
sausage-like dog food- my dogs are getting something they really like, but it's also nutritious. I reserve the highest level daily reward- CHEESE - for jackpotting and things which deserve being marked with a memorable treat. Cheese in question is low-fat string cheese, though.
Yes, but if clicker training is used to guide a dog to the correct behavior when learning a new behavior, throwing a ball or playing tug does not seem to be an appropriate reward.

Ah, but you see, it isn't up to you (or me) what an appropriate award is. Let the dog tell you what works.
Tug and fetch are often used as awards.
Why not? If your dog loves playing tug, then playing ... your dog loves belly rubs, then belly rubs it is.

If you would use the clicker system to guide a dog to, let's say, the heel position, do you really ... small amounts of soft food is best because the food is easily swallowed and is not disruptive to the guiding/lesson.[/nq]By the time you are teaching the heel, the clicker itself can be the reward if you load the clicker properly. Every time you click, tug or whatever and the dog learns that click equals reward through associating the click with the tug. Once the association is strongly established, the dog should be okay with the click alone signaling that he "got it" with the correct behavior. Think of it like saying "good dog." If you say good dog to a puppy that has had no interaction with a person, it doesn't mean much.

But when you consistently tell the dog it is a good dog for doing what you asked it to do, it starts to wag its tail and stop trying to do what you want when it hears "good dog." It hasn't learned English, but it has learned that the phrase means both that it got the right action in response to the command and that you are happy about that, which it has learned is a rewarding thing.

Paula
"Paula talks tough, and she wears vicious lipstick, but she lacks the depth of hate that I have spent many years cultivating." The Avocado Avenger
tolerates it. I don't think she is a good canidate for clicker training because of her very high drive, but, ... I will be asking several more questions on this topic, but I want to go one at a time.

My weim pup is extremely high drive, and she's learning very well with the clicker - an intelligent dog that wants to work is going to offer more behaviours, so you can move on very quickly whereas one with less drive won't offer behaviours so quickly and you'll take longer to train. She bounded ahead in puppy class Emotion: big smile
Diana
Once the association is strongly established, the dog should be okay with the click alone signaling that he "got it" with the correct behavior.

NO. Do that more than a few times, and the dog will A. begin to lose the association with the click and B. learn not to trust you. The only time I would ever click and not reward immediately is if I'm reinforcing a rapid-fire behaviour (like doing a set of weave poles, which takes only a second or so) with a series of clicks. IOW I'm clicking the dog for every pole, and giving a big reward at the end. This is non-standard clicker usage, but works well with some very focussed/driven dogs.
Once the association is strongly established, the dog should be okay with the click alone signaling that he "got it" with the correct behavior.

NO. Do that more than a few times, and the dog will A. begin to lose the association with the click and B. learn not to trust you.

Exactly. In order to remain a powerful tool, the clicker must always signal that a treat is coming and that treat should come as soon as you can deliver it to the dog. When the click no longer signals that the treat is coming, it loses its power.
NO. Do that more than a few times, and the ... with the click and B. learn not to trust you.

Exactly. In order to remain a powerful tool, the clicker must always signal that a treat is coming and that treat ... deliver it to the dog. When the click no longer signals that the treat is coming, it loses its power.

I am no clicker trainer, that's for sure. It is probably a different concept I am thinking of. I still think you could condition a dog to see a clicker as a marker of having performed and use the click when it is impractical to throw a ball, though I probably shouldn't be calling that clicker training. Probably a lot of what I do with a clicker is not actually formal clicker training, but, anyway, I think you can do a lot with a clicker and some ingenuity even if your dog is not all that food driven.

Paula
"Paula talks tough, and she wears vicious lipstick, but she lacks the depth of hate that I have spent many years cultivating." The Avocado Avenger
Exactly. In order to remain a powerful tool, the clicker ... signals that the treat is coming, it loses its power.

I am no clicker trainer, that's for sure. It is probably a different concept I am thinking of. I still ... can do a lot with a clicker and some ingenuity even if your dog is not all that food driven.

The click doesn't have to be associated with a food reward, though food rewards work very well with clikers because they can be delivered swiftly and there's very little downtime. A thrown toy can certainly be used instead. Whatever it is, it must be of high value to the dog, the dog must want it, and it must always be delivered.

Where people start making mistakes with clicker training is in trying to fade the reward and disassociate the reward from the click. However, if you are doing true clicker training, the click ends the behavior, always. You never use the clicker as a KGS (keep going signal). Click must always mean, "YES! You did that right! Here's your reward!" It must be completely unambiguous to the dog.
If you want to fade clicker, you fade the number of times you use it and increase the chain of activity you ask for in order to get it. So if you first clicked the dog for entering the weaves the correct way, resulting in a click and treat/toy (and no, it doesn't matter if the dog pops out of the poles to get the treat/toy), you can then build the behavior so that the dog must do 2 weaves, then 3, then 6, then 12 before getting clicked. But the click still ends the behavior and the dog still gets the treat.Some people will, say, ask their dog to do an agility course, and click for a correct aframe, click for a good directional, click for completed weaves, then not treat until the end. They are using the clicker as a keep going signal. But in doing so, they are diluting the power of the tool. They are also taking a risk. If you click a good weave entry but then expect the dog to complete the weaves before getting a treat, what happens if the dog pops out at the 5th pole? Do you still treat? You clicked, so if you don't treat, your dog will learn you lie to him.

If you do treat, you have now just rewarded a bad behavior through the primary reinforcer (treat/toy). So clicking and a quick reward (and there's all kinds of debate as to whether where you deliver the reward is important) is key to successful clicker training.
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