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Clicker-training question

Filed in - CLICKER - treats - rabbits

I know that the rule is, "one click, one treat".  The problem is that when my rabbits are in harness, they are less interested in receiving (edible) treats for good behavior.  They are more alert and eager to learn and absorb from the environment. They seem very receptive to a pet or a kind word as a "treat" rather than an edible treat. They simply are too excited in harness to eat treats (for the most part, Maddie is the exception to this generalization, for she sometimes will take a treat in harness).  

 I use the clicker in the morning when we go through their longtime morning routine of standing on their hind feet to beg for treats.  This was how I first introduced the clicker.  They have not had the clicker for secondary reinforcement for even a week yet, but they seem to recognize it is a positive good.  I also use the clicker with a treat when we are working indoors trying to master the "nose to the target stick" trick, with which we are having mixed results (in part because our target stick may be too small; we are working on getting another one made that will be more visible to them).  

 Yesterday, I had both Maddie and Dorcas in harness and tried them out on the new obstacle course.  I clicked at the appropriate times, but as usual, because they were in harness, they weren't very interested in the edible treats. So I just patted them and told them how good they were. I do think they receive this as feedback equivalent to a treat; at any rate, it is the only feedback they are willing to receive at that point, so I guess I need to go with that.  

Later, I was just letting Dorcas run on the harness, and I clicked continunously as she ran to let her know the whole time that she was running that I was approving of what she did. She seemed to appreciate that, she seemed to like running with the clicker clicking, even though she didn't get a treat. I sort of thought that maybe she had already learned to receive the click itself as positive feedback.  Am I pushing things too much and imagining these things because I want to, or is it not too early yet for the rabbits to be making these kind of connections (i have had the clicker for nearly a week now)?