Takes practice!I trained my previous dog (Dynamo) with a vocal marker, and it worked great, but it was short sharp and I sounded like a clucking chicken, which was fine at the time (I have no shame when it comes to dog-training) but my new future dog will hopefully be visiting the nursing home with me, so a less obnoxious marker would be nice.
So I might try a clicker, but, really super dumb question coming, ready...?
How in heck do you hold the clicker, click, collect treats to deliver and do hand signals (touch, target) move things around (targets). My two hands are super busy, would love to see pics and videos of the human end of clicker training, or I go back to clucking like a chicken, it worked for Dynamo right through agility.
Oh, and I get to practice on my cats in the meantime--they don't mind at all.
I don't have any one set way of juggling everything. Depends a lot on the behavior, where my dog is working (my left, right, front, out at a distance...), the stage we are at for the behavior, what else I have (leash, props, etc.)...
I guess in general, I have the clicker in the hand I am not feeding from. Most of the time treats are in pockets (which again depends on where my dog is and reward placement).
If just starting a new behavior and needing a really high rate of reinforcement, normally clicker is in opposite hand and I have multiple treats in the hand I'm going to feed from. I try to keep that hand behind my back/out of sight until after the click. And to reward I slide a treat out of my palm with my thumb.
If working something in front or behind positions I switch the clicker and treat hands backs and forth to encourage a straighter position. Always feeding from one hand causes a crooked position. That def takes practice and it's not unusual for me to ditch the clicker and go with my verbal marker!
I've learned to hold the clicker in my hand with my thumb and to click with my thumb as it frees my fingers should I need to give a hand signal.
If working with a leash or prop (cane, Target stick, etc.) I hold the clicker in that hand and keep the hand I would be feeding and likely signaling with/using as target free.
Like I said takes thought and intentional practice to get good at it. The trainer who owns the facility I take classes and teach at actually offers classes and workshops periodically on just this... The finer details of handling and training (also includes theory, rate of reinforcement, reward placement, how/when to raise criteria, setting criteria, etc.) I take the classes each time she offers them. I tend to fall back into bad habits so it helps me to clean up my training.
My verbal is ''yep!" though this is an area I've developed bad habits...Second question, related to the first. Ha, just in case I decide to continue with a vocal marker, would love to know everyone's 'bridge word' or non-mechanical marker.
Mine was a high pitched 'gud!' (from the back of my throat, hence, like a clucking chicken), very distinct, and quick but weird.
"Yes" was no good, as I use it casually in general praise talk.
Have tried 'click', the word, on the cats, but it seems to lack the head swivelling punch.
So, what's everyone's bridge word or marker?
I think it comes from demo'ing with student dogs. Lots of different markers (yep, yes, da, tongue clicks, recently had a ''bueno''). I get used to using different ones and am not as consistent with my own dogs. "Yes!" often pops out of my mouth now as that's a common choice... Fortunately as my guys are pretty savvy they've been figuring it out. Just isn't a good habit on my part. Sigh.