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Crossing Over: A Trainer "Unleashes" with Clicker Training

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Dear Karen,

I just wanted to write you a short note to say "Thank you."

I have "trained" dogs for about 18 years, obviously the compulsion way. I have what I refer to as the reverse Midas touch. Everything I do seems to fall apart. I have a couple wonderful working bloodline German Shepherds who were quite frankly a little more than I was capable of "controlling" because of course that's what compulsion is largely about.

I had heard vaguely of clicker training but thought it was a fad or strictly for toy poodles doing cute little useless tricks. After being frustrated at the dull, disappointing way my really high-drive dog, who normally relished playing, dragged through his unbelievably basic obedience training, I read a short article on clicker training and bought a video of yours.

I got a clicker and decided to try something my dogs had never done and I would have had no idea how or why to teach them to do this. I got a short dowel rod and clicked when he showed interest and then gradually when he touched it with his nose.

I remember on the second day with my clicker sitting on the kitchen floor crying. Years of jerk and release and in two days both my dogs and I were having more fun than I had ever had before.

I just can't believe this. I wonder if this is like being blind and then all of a sudden being able to see.

Thank you.

Lisa Weaver
Jacco & Petra


Sanja Miklin's picture

did things even worse

I was in the same situation... although I heard about clicker about a year before I switched to it... I was laughing at it together with other people at my dog training club, as something being so stupid and useless... It saved my relationship with my first dog bringing him from hating working with me to loving it.

Sanja Miklin


LPC UWC, Hong Kong

Know the feeling

I trained my toy poodle with the traditional methods. I feel bad because she is my baby and I feel like I abused her. She is also the one that has picked up on the clicker the quickest. It's as if she's relieved to have me "treating" her rather then "jerking" her. It's hurts to know I could have gotten her to do what I wanted by giving her what she wanted. Then we both could have been happy.

I know what you mean...

It's actually like being deaf, then suddenly able to communicate with your animal.

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