We know dogs need to be acclimated to doing their work in new places, but in this letter Andrea Kiss restates it from the dog's point of view. If dogs really do associate what they learn with the place they learn it, then it makes sense that in a new place the behavior disappears. Instead of being frustrated—"But he does it perfectly at homeâ€¦" you might expect to "re-teach" any new behavior a few times in various environments. (In my own observation, even just changing direction in your own living room, facing the dog north, east, south, and west, "reteaching" the behavior four times, can make it easier to take that behavior on the road. KP)
From Karen Hatch: After receiving Don't Shoot the Dog, I was itching to try clicker training—but failed in getting my cocker Anna to accept a clicker, even muffled. Seeing how I don't have another dog, you gave me an idea. I have *clicker voice trained* a Florida rooter to retrieve. (A Florida Rooter is a wild hog living off the land like all wild animals free ranging.)
From Pat Wolff: I have several clickers from your store and they all sound almost exactly the same. This is a drawback for my family—we have trained our horses using these clickers and here is the problem: we go trail riding, using the clickers for reinforcing behaviors we want, but often when a click occurs more than one horse stops for its reward. When we are riding close, or side by side, how can anyone tell who clicked? I have sought out different clickers, but they are very hard to find and/or unreliable (break!). I switched to a different soundmaker, a squeaky toy rubber ducky ("Why do you have a rubber ducky tied to your belt?" is an interesting, if somewhat embarressing, way to proselytize for operant conditioning), but the squeak is different each time and so it doesn't work as well.
From Eileen Laber: I have read Don't Shoot the Dog and Morgan Spector's book Clicker Training for Obedience. I am unsure about using the clicker for two dogs. When one dog is offering a behavior and the other is doing nothing, and I click and treat the dog offering the behavior, am I diluting the effect of the click for the dog that is doing nothing. Sometimes the dog doing nothing comes to me looking for the treat. In a "training" situation, I think the dogs can figure out which dog is getting the click, but when we are just looking for the dog to do something cute, both dogs respond.
From Melanie Walton: I have a male pointer mix dog that is about 2 years old. He likes to bark at everything! He has been through a basic obedience class and I do use the clicker when working on training skills with him. He loves working with the clicker and learns skills quickly. My problem is I don't know how to Discourage an undesired behavior. He barks a lot. There are two different situations in which he barks that I would like to stop.