Aug. 15, 2007 — We’ve had Lola, our six month old Rottweiler rescue puppy, for less than a week now, and she and I are already well into clicker training. I’ve decided to do something a little different to begin with: I’m going to work my way through the exercises in Kay Laurence’s clicker training books. Here is the first one:
I say it’s a little different because it doesn’t just go in an ordinary order, like “sit, come, stay.” Lola is already developing the sit and the down by using some of these methods, though. She did have an inkling of the sit when she came.
The first book, Clicker Foundation Training, has 15 “recipes” and we are already doing the 4th recipe. The first two were about luring with food held in my fingers and then giving it to her with the flat of my hand (Laurence points out that it’s wise to always give treats in that way… you’re more likely to keep all your fingers unharmed!)
The third recipe involved getting Lola used to the clicker, by doing several things. Her favorite was that just before giving her a meal, I’d toss a bunch of pieces of her kibble on the floor and click each time she put one in her mouth. I was challenged a few times to click each piece as that mouth can operate like a vacuum cleaner!
We just moved on to the fourth recipe, and this was the first time that I used a treat other than kibble — I cut up some cheddar cheese into quite small bits. The process involved offering Lola the flat back of my hand, with the cheese tucked between 2 fingers. As soon as she touched my hand, I moved the cheese to the flat of my palm and gave it to her. After doing this, we advanced to offering the flat of my hand without cheese, clicking when she touched it, and giving her the cheese right after.
She sure likes the cheese!
I practiced the exercise first with our older dog, LarryDog, and he had it down pat immediately. But then he’s an old hand at dog clicker training.