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***Clicker Club***

***Clicker Club***
EagleGirl & Deerslayer
2014-01-08 03:26:52
Oh, I'm so excited to see all of you! It is great that you are joining us!

This club is going to be about clicker training. Some people may already know about, and others may have only just now heard of it. We are going to be learning more about it, and using it to work with the animals in our lives.

A clicker is inexpensive; you can pick one up for a couple of dollars at any large pet store. If you can't get one, you can use a tongue click, but I think a clicker is easier. I put mine on one of those stretchy wristbands that people sometimes put their keys on. That way if I have to drop it while working with my mule, it doesn't hit the ground. I am very careful about bending down to the ground when working with a mule!

So, let's get our clickers, and decide which animals we want to work with. Then we can talk about what to do first!

Be sure to tell your pals about this club. They might want to join too!

EagleGirl & Deerslayer
2010-07-18 01:13:18
Introducing the Clicker Club!

You've probably all noticed that there are cool new clubs forming every week. This week one of those clubs is a Clicker Training Club! If you have never heard of clicker training, you are in for a treat. Clicker training makes use of a small plastic tool called a clicker. Ask your parents and grandparents; they may remember a toy called a "cricket". It was a clicker without the plastic box around it. I had one when I was a girl. It was lots of fun, though I usually had to play with it outside. It makes a really fun sound that will drive your parents crazy if you do it inside the house too long. But the main benefit of the clicker is that the "click" is used to tell an animal exactly when he has done what he is supposed to do. When he hears it, he knows that he did the right thing. The click is followed by a small treat. I say small because if you give really big treats you will eventually have a happy, well trained, FAT animal!

For those of you who are history buffs, or just curious, ask your grandparents about how clickers were used by paratroopers in World War II!

Clicker training came into its own in the 1960's. It was used to train dolphins. It's really hard to pat a dolphin and say "good boy", and it's even harder to tie one up so it can't swim away! So a whistle was used to let the dolphin know what the trainer wanted. Every time a dolphin did something the trainer wanted, the trainer blew the whistle, then tossed it a fish. Yum! Let's do that again! If you've ever had the opportunity to go to Sea World or some such place, you have seen the amazing things those animals can do. Even though the trainers used a whistle at first and not a clicker, the principle is the same. When the desired behavior is exhibited, make the sound, then offer a treat. A lady named Karen Pryor used a clicker to train dolphins. She is still working today, only she works mostly with dogs and cats. She has written quite a few books, and has made videos.

Clicker training is all the rage in dog training circles, and most of the large pet stores sell clickers for just a couple of dollars or less. So, if you have a horse, dog, cat, or other animal you have been thinking about training, you might consider joining our Clicker Training Club.
We hope to see you there!

EagleGirl & Deerslayer
2010-07-18 01:52:16
LOL, Boston. You know, clickers are so inexpensive, you might consider getting a second one and hanging it on a nail in the barn, so you will always have it handy. Although, the stretchy wrist bands are a bit more expensive.

And before I forget, we need to talk about how to carry the treats! There are lots of different ways to do it. Some of the ways people can carry treats are: fanny packs; fishing/hunting vests (great with all those pockets), waist tie aprons with pockets, chef's aprons, canvas nail aprons (from the hardware store), plain old pants pockets or shirt pockets. I use a canvas nail apron. It has two pockets in it. I put my mule's feed in one side, and his dry treats (peppermint horse treats!) in the other side. I also keep his hoof pick in with the treats. I have little vinyl bags stuck in the pockets, and that is actually where I put the treats.

It's very important to have the treats where they are accessible but your animal cannot readily access them. It doesn't work to carry them in your hands, because you need one hand for the clicker and the other hand for everything else.

I have become quite adept at holding the clicker in my left hand. I find that I can actually use my hand for many things while holding the clicker. I just have to be careful that I don't accidentally click when I don't want to!

So, for those of you who are already clicker training, or have decided that you are going to give clicker training a try, how would you like to carry your treats?

EagleGirl & Deerslayer
2010-07-19 05:14:47
LOL ponyluv! You may find the cat the biggest challenge! Are you planning to start with just one of them, or with all of them?

Boston, that clicker sounds really cool. How do you click with your foot? Do you just put the clicker on the ground and then poise your foot above it?

EagleGirl & Deerslayer
2010-07-21 04:39:30
Okay, this will be great! So, let's decide how we're going to carry our treats, then let's all choose an animal friend to work with. Then we can decide what we are going to use for the treats. We want our animals to stay healthy and not get fat, so we need to be careful in choosing the treats. Also, if you feed really big treats your animal may get full in a hurry and not care to do anything else because he doesn't want anything else to eat. (Although I have not noticed that this is a really big problem with dogs. LOL.)

For a dog you might use small pieces of bagged soft-moist food. It's shaped to look like pieces of ground hamburger meat. Dogs usually love it, and the pieces are just right for treats. If you happen to feed your dog a dry food that has soft-moist pieces mixed in, like Beneful, you can always pick out the soft-moist pieces to use for treats. You could also use individual pieces of small dog kibble. I suppose you could also use individual pieces of dry cat food, since for some reason many dogs really like dry cat food. For jackpot treats you can use something really special and yummy, like say a small piece of hot dog. If you will cut it into little "sticks" instead of rounds, it will be a bit easier to handle. It will also make it a little safer. Even dogs can choke. If you really want to go all out, you can ask your mom to buy some soup bones at the store, and after they are cooked you can pick the meat off them.

For cats, you might choose to buy some Tender Vittles or other soft-moist cat food. Cats tend to get full much faster than dogs, so you really want small treats. For jackpot treats you can try little flakes of real tuna or tiny pieces of chicken. You will probably want to put these wetter treats in a little plastic bag before you put them in your apron or pouch or whatever you are using for treats. That way the treat bags won't have to be washed as often.

For equines a really good choice is to simply use a portion of their daily feed. That is what I do with my mules. My Welsh mule, Little Man, tends to gain weight easily, so I have to really watch what I give him. In the summer when he has lots of grass to eat, the only time he gets feed is when we are clicker training. He has started to develop a thick crest on his neck, so I really have to watch out for his weight.

Other good treat choices for equines - for jackpots especially - would be little cubes of carrot (it takes a while to cut all those up, though, so save what you don't use and refregerate it and use it next time), small cut-up pieces of apple, commercial treats, homemade horse treats . . .

You know what your animal likes. And if you experiment you will find out new things all the time. You can buy small bags of alfalfa hay for growing rabbits, and most equines will think that is a great treat. My mule happens to adore peanut butter crackers. Yes, those are the orange colored ones that come in plastic wrapped packages of six crackers. I happened to have a pack and offered him one once and that is how I discovered how much he likes them. Turns out my neighbor's mule loves them too, and now my neighbor keeps a package handy in case her mule gets out. One glimpse of an orange cracker and back comes the mule! These crackers are not really good for them, and my mule hasn't had one in well over a year. But it is always good to know what they really go crazy for, so you can have it just in case.

Okay, once we know which animals we are going to start with, let's hear your ideas for what you are going to use for treats!

EagleGirl & Deerslayer
2010-07-22 04:33:13
My dogs work well with a squawker. Because they're greyhounds and they raced so they're already trained to come with the Squawker and do much more!
chillycat12 & Crystal Rose
2010-07-23 00:45:22
Or my rabbit, like she'll stand still enough for me to click and treat her!
Nat2 & The Price of Valor
2010-07-23 01:38:17
What can't you figure out Comanche? To join you just pop in and say "Hi!" Anyway, tell us what you can't figure out and hopefully we can help you. :-)
EagleGirl & Deerslayer
2010-07-23 02:04:27
How exciting to have some new members! Let's all introduce ourselves! Let us know what animal you will be working with, how you plan to carry your treats, and what kind of treats you plan to use. Also, let us know what experience, if any, you have with clicker training.

We are going to have a marvelous time! Won't it be fun doing this together?!

EagleGirl & Deerslayer
2010-07-27 03:35:26
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