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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello again! I have yet another question...

Bree and I are new to the clicker training concept (she's around 5 yrs old and I've had her since Jan. 20th!), and we are working on "settle", which I define as "lay on your side with your head down". Kinda like play dead, but without rolling onto the back. She has a strong aversion to rolling onto her side except when extremely relaxed, so I thought I would free-shape this behavior to encourage calm behaviors in the future.

Anyway, how often do you need to be clicking? I know at first you click everything (eye movement, ear twitches, shifting body weight, etc..), but what about after a few sessions? Is it okay to wait more than 30 seconds or so to click something? What is the longest you should wait between clicks?
 

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If you want to teach her to roll onto her side, at first click anything that is leading to the behaviour you want...moving her head that way, rolling halfway etc...Once she's offering those behaviours, wait and see if she will explore further. You could also try tempt her onto her side by luring her with a treat, that's what I did for teaching our dog the same position.

When I was teaching my chicken to peck at a CD, I clicked whenever she looked at the CD. Then I waited until her head moved towards it. Then there was a long gap here when she was moving her head towards it, expecting clicks, but she didn't get anything until she pecked at it. Then she began pecking at it reliably. I just pushed her that little bit further every time and waited until she worked out what I wanted her to do, if that makes sense? :)

You don't have to click constantly or within a certain time limit...because you're not expecting anything from her, you're not giving her a command...you're just waiting until she does the behaviour you want. Then you can click and reward, and eventually add a verbal cue to it, such as "settle".

I have no idea if any of that makes sense haha :D

**edit to add** Also, she may be unwilling to offer the behaviour if she really hates doing it...you'd have to use really really high value treats and break it down into smaller sections, so that you are changing the way she thinks about lying on her side to being a good thing.

Red
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
You don't have to click constantly or within a certain time limit...because you're not expecting anything from her, you're not giving her a command...you're just waiting until she does the behaviour you want. Then you can click and reward, and eventually add a verbal cue to it, such as "settle".


Red
Thanks! I keep forgetting that part! I grew up with very traditional training techniques and Bree is my first dog as an adult, so she's my first opportunity to try clicker. It is helpful to know you don't have to click within a time frame, and the process you described above does make sense :)

So, at the moment, she reliably throws her back legs to the side and will look to the right/left/at me (tricks we worked on previously) hoping for a c/t (and she will get that at the beginning of the session). She will also shift her body weight forward and back, which I also c/t. She seems to be stalled here, since she offers those behaviors almost immediately for the last couple training sessions but if I wait too long, she'll start grumbling and showing stress signals (looking out the window, scratching her ear). I am not sure if the stress signals are part of the learning process (She's been traditionally trained also) or if I am missing something important in the free-shaping method.
 

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If she's getting stressed, then it's time to end the training session and go back a few steps in the next one. Training sessions are supposed to be very positive and fun, something she really looks forward to - Kasper go berserk when I pick up the clicker! :D

I'm not really sure on the rest, as I'm really not a professional...have you tried luring her into the position you want with a smelly treat? This worked for us, and is how we taught Kasper to lay on his side.

Good luck :)

Red
 

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actually, the number of clicks in a span of time can make a huge difference. waiting too long before giving her feedback, can create anxiety, especially when she is throwing what she thinks will earn a reward... i would suggest using treats of different values for this sort of training. it is a great way to build confidence and keep the dog engaged in the training session. i would lose a lower value reward and c/t for what she is already reliably doing, then a higher value reward for everything that is moving her closer to what you want. that way you don't ignore the progress you have made, and frustrate her. keep the training session extremely short... i also suggest that you grab a small amount of treats to use, and when they are gone, end the session, this is more for your benefit than the dog's, as it will help you to keep the session shorter. it doesn't mean that you can't train for extended periods of time, but if you use up the treats, release the dog before she is ready, she will be more likely to want to work when you start again. you can take very short breaks between sessions, just a minute would be fine, make sure you release her.



Dog | Forum | Rocks!
 

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Im all for free shaping, but since your dog is stressed its probably time to lure this behavior. A half circle motion (preferably with a hand target but food works) will cause her to flop over

I truely free shaped bang and roll over with chili who is very very savy and it took MONTHS. I can say its 110% a behavior he invented BUT it took an eternity


Imo you should free shape only if time is not a concern or for games. If this a behavior you want now or the dog is lost. Just train it imo :)


Otherwise ditto fawkese. Differential reinforcement (dif treat values) works
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Dog | Forum | Rocks!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for your advice everyone! I have tried luring a bit.. but she stops thinking and just waits and wait and waits (not even an eye flicker!) after I lure a few times. Since I tend to use the clicker training sessions as a way to wear her out with all that thinking action, I think I'll skip luring for now. It's not a vital trick, and it's teaching us both something about patience and persistence, so if it takes a long time, that'll be alright.

Also, doing shorter training sessions is working, and happily, she's started offering the "sloppy down/look away" half of the trick even when highly excited about something else (i.e., when I block her from saying "hi" to the cat!). And I can see her shifting her weight in the right direction (or she was before I thought I'd help with the luring), so I think the varied treats will get her on the right track. Again, thanks for your help!
 
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