I have my dogs somewhat trained, but I want them to be more thoroughly trained. I like the idea of clicker training, because that's a sort of ongoing thing, where the owner and dog are engaged in a project, so to speak, and that's what I want.
However, I found that CT did not work for us for two reasons: one of my dogs was just so flipped out about the treats that she couldn't concentrate at all: she just kept jumping around for treats. I had no idea how to get them to start doing anything for which I would then be able to give them a click&treat.
The other problem is that when they are separated, one in particular tends to be extremely distracted by the non-presence of the other. She looks out the window of the door when the other on is being walked, etc. She doesn't mind is she has gone away, more if we take her away.
Because of her distraction, I find it difficult to train her, because I never could get her to pay any attention to me, despite doing a lot of odd-seeming things like holding my arms out with a treat in one hand.
So, anyway, if anyone has any suggestions for either alternative rewards, or books with similar systems, I'd really appreciate it.
I have looked into professional training and not only is it way too far away, but I didn't really like the trainers' philosophies. Not that I am totally against negative reinforcement, but I wanted to be able to have the whole activity be a fun thing that my family and I could all do rather than the grim activity that they were painting. IYSWIM.
Thanks very much!!!
PS My dogs are lab sisters from the same litter who are about 5 years old and fixed. They are really mixes, but they look like labs. One of them has a very strong inclination towards hunting, too; the other is more laid back.
Re: Dog training book recommendation needed, please
Pat Miller's Power of Positive Dog Training is a good basic, clicker-based training manual. Donaldson also has a DVD training programme out, that might be worth looking at.
As for the issues you've mentioned - it reminds me of a quote from a training colleague "If you think you are training too slow, slow down some more."
Try this. Get a bowl of cheerios mixed with kibble, set it out of the dog's reach but within easy reach for you. Have one dog leashed (put the other in a room or her crate with a stuffed kong or a chewy toy). If she starts jumping around, wait her out. Eventually all four feet are going to be on the ground, simple physics - click, get treat. This is going to vastly improve your timing If you can't click fast enough, try this to up your timing - choose a random common word, and start "clicking" (slap your leg or something - don't use the clicker for this) every time you hear the word on television. Once she's starting to get it, standing still and waiting for the click, then you can start introducing a cue to a known action - sit, or down, or whatever.