Saturday, September 10, 2011

Click Treat

In my opinion, nothing works better or is more fun than clicker training.  Using the clicker training method turns everything into a game which keeps greyhounds engaged in obedience work.

Eris at 14 years old.
Clicker training was not the first training technique I was introduced to.  When I first joined the 4-H club with my greyhound, Eris, our trainer did not know how to work with greyhounds.  Her experience had always been with retrievers, shelties, and other "trainable" breeds.  Her technique was to push down on the hind end while giving the command "sit".  While the other kids were getting their dogs to sit by the end of the first class, I was still wrestling with Eris.  Clearly, this technique was not right for us, but we did not know any better.  Because of this difficult start, Eris lost a lot of interest in obedience and I was always frustrated by her performance.

A few years later I had a trainer who introduced me to the idea of clicker training.  Suddenly, Eris enjoyed obedience (well, some of it) and I realized there was an easier way to communicate with my dog without manhandling her.  This method also gives the dog a chance to use their brain and sometimes they come up with new tricks.
Are we going to train?

Since day one, I have been training Luna using this positive reinforcement style.  Not only does she love the "games" we play, but she seems disappointed when training is over.  Up until recently I had focused her training on simple behaviors to help her feel successful in obedience.  Two nights ago I introduced the idea of "down".  I've tried "sit" a few times, but it is obvious she is not quite ready.  To my surprise, Luna picked up on "down" very quickly and will now lie down in a variety of settings.  I believe that she is doing so well because of the positive training method (and some natural smarts) which allows her to think of training time as fun time.

Luna's current obedience knowledge:
  • Leave it
  • Heel position
  • Get into heel position
  • Down
  • Spin
  • Touch
  • Watch me

1 comment:

houndstooth said...

We've had a lot of success with clicker training our hounds, too!