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Hi so I have bought a clicker to begin training my 6 month Chihuahua. He performs behaviours when he can see treats but doesn't seem to be grasping what I am trying to train him and only dies what I am asking when he can see or smell treats. I'm not sure he understands that im doing an activity with him at all, I think he sees the clicker and just thinks it's treat time. Help please!
 

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Charli29,

This thread explains the difference between using treats as a "reward" and as a "bribe."

http://www.dogforum.com/training-behavior-stickies/thoughts-training-food-1219/

My overall advice would be just to be patient and remember that Rome wasn't built in a day! LOL. Both you and Brows are starting to learn to be a team. Mainly, you'll want to focus on building trust and confidence. Once he starts feeling that good things come from you and from others in your household, he'll start to relax more and more. This takes time, and I wouldn't worry so much about whether he responds to your commands without the treats yet.
 

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How did you charge the clicker and how have you been using it in conjunction with treats for training? If you do it the wrong way, you can inadvertently train a dog to believe that he should only do the behavior for a treat.

When you first start with clicker training, you have to charge it. Click then treat. Repeat, approximately ten times works for most dogs so they associate the sound with a reward. It is important to note that you don't click and treat simultaneously. Click, then give the treat.

You want to begin with bribing and rewarding when the dog isn't exactly getting it. However, when the dog begins to catch on, you can reward every few successful performances. For weaning off the bribe, simply pretend you have a treat in your hand. You should also never bribe and reward out of the same hand. It sets a line, otherwise the dog will always be actively going after the bribe hand for food and fail to associate it with having to perform an action.
 

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When I started training my puppy, I used a combination of praise, pats and then a treat. By doing that she learned to associate behaviors with approval more than with treats.
Try this...
- get him to do something, then praise + reward
- do that three or four times
- get him to do one thing, then praise only
- on the next trick/behavior, praise + treat.

After a couple days of this, do two tricks/behaviors between treats. Remember to praise. a few days later, increase to three tricks/behaviors between treats. Wean him off over the next few weeks, and before he realizes, he'll be doing what you want for only praise. But still give him a treat once or twice a day. Good luck with your puppy.
 

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Agree completely with @SusanLynn !

I fell into the "bribe" trap when I first started with my girl haha... are you working with a Positive Reinforcement trainer? They can help you a lot.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Hi guys, thanks again for your replies. I think perhaps I'm expecting too much too soon but unsure exactly what to expect as me and Brows are both new to this :) I have watched lots of vids on here and charged the the clicker. It has only been a couple days and I guess I'm watching vids of dogs who have already done it a million times and with trained professionals. I will take all of your advice and persevere. He does the "leave it" game well and shakes in anticipation at the food on the floor by him bless him. I dont have a trainer helping me atm, I live in the uk and these people are few and far between but I will continue to bug you guys if thats ok and continue to research and watch vids :)
 

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Try keeping the treats on you, like in your pocket or a treat pouch, most of the day so that he learns to ignore the smell of them. Then when you are ready to train you can just grab some without him anticipating them.

Once he knows the command you don't have to use the clicker for it. Just tell it to him and give him the treat, or if he is VERY reliable at it you can start fading out the treat and substituting praise, play, or something else he enjoys. Stopping using the clicker once he knows the command will keep him from thinking he needs to see the clicker to do the command.

Don't fade the treats to fast, and remember to randomly reward him even when he's reliable with the cue. If you fade them to fast he's liable to think why should I do the behavior. Once he knows the behavior, and you start fading the treats, the goal is to have him wondering if this is the time the behavior gets me the reward.

My boy will do cues for me where ever and when ever because he knows he'll always get something, it might be praise, play, treats, continuing on our walk, but he gets something. With commands he doesn't know well it's high value treats that he gets, it's only with known ones that I mix in lower value rewards like praise and play, and he's always wondering if that is the time he gets the yummy, high value, reward.
 
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