Saturday, April 11, 2015
Clicker Training-Not for Everybody...
I have come to the conclusion clicker training & I are not a good fit. Leisel & I completed 10 weeks of clicker training, first puppy classes & then basic obedience....and I admit..I really did not enjoy it! I felt compelled to participate in some form of training with her ...and basically clicker training is pretty much all that is available (or that I am aware of). Many years ago...we attended obedience classes with Schatzi & then Oskar..and it was the "old fashioned" type of training...in a ring..with other dogs. We did not use a prong collar or any type of pain method of training...it was all done with our 6 ft. leash, commands & good treats. Schatzi excelled in obedience..she loved it! Oskar...not so much. That being said..we were 12 years younger then too!
I'm not blaming clicker training methods or their success or failure..it just is not a good fit for us, for a few reasons. I'm sure someone with a great deal more knowledge than I... can debunk my observations & feelings...and that is fine. Firstly, I feel very awkward & un-coordinated...after all it's all about the timing of the click..which after all these weeks & months...I still suck at. It all flows & looks effortless...when someone else is instructing or working with a dog...but it was not that way for me. By the time I click...fish around for a treat in the not so handy dandy pouch velcro-ed to my jeans..the moment is lost. My bad...
Working in a closed environment...is much, much different that working with your dog outside...in the real world. Trying getting your dog to "watch" when you have 15 cars whizzing by you at 90 km/hr..and only a few feet from your arse! We are on a sidewalk...but it's still noisy & busy...and with a dog who is going straight out!
Liesel is a "puller"....she has one thing on her mind...getting to where-ever the hell she is going the fastest way possible! No amount of getting her focus with "watch", "sit" "heel"...or whatever is going to make her stop! When I asked, in class what to do about this...I was instructed to "run along with her!". Yeah...an over middle age woman with a heart condition...is going to run along with dog! Nope, that isn't happening!
And when she barks her wire head off at people..I'm supposed to "reward the quiet time" with a click & a treat! Cause that helps so much when she is barking at the guy on the sidewalk coming towards us! Ah..no. But the citronella bark collar she wears does help...she is smart enough to know when she has it on..and will let out a low "woof"...just enough not to set off the sensor of spray! I would have been run out of class had they known I was using a bark collar...as I should be able to "train" her not to bark. Good luck with that I say!
And..the pulling? I'm picking up a Size XS Halti tomorrow...and going to give that a whirl! Cause even though she is only 10 lbs....she is 10 lbs I don't need dragging me down the street. It isn't enjoyable for me...or her! And I want our walk times to be fun..for both of us.
I love this little wire girl with all my heart..and have spent far too much time feeling like I have failed..racking my brain on how to make this training work. I finally decided it isn't. Not for me.
I will take what I have learned over the years & use it where & when I can. And stop putting unrealistic expectations on myself & my 8 month old puppy! She is not perfectly behaved (not that it is expected of her)..and she & I are on an awesome journey.