We have an Honor Roll on our current website. There are hundreds of dogs on the list, plus some cats, rabbits, and birds. There are numerous perfect obedience scores of 200; lots of obedience degrees, agility titles, and search and rescue and disaster dog achievements (a clicker-trained FEMA dog searched the Pentagon on 9/11). And yes, there are OTCh dogs too. Take a look.
What happens when you click is incredibly important, but what happens after you click and BEFORE you reward is also incredibly important. If I click a dog for a sit, and as I fumble and reach for the treat, he also sniffs the ground, turns his head, and sneezes before I give him the treat. What I actually rewarded is the entire behavior chain. Next time I ask for sit, I may also get a sniff, head turn, and a sneeze.
At ClickerExpo last season, Karen Pryor talked about paired or "opposite" cues, and gave the "bark/be quiet" pair as an example. This is an easy pair to train as a demonstration if you happen to have a very barky dog handy. The concept of teaching cues in pairs is new to many dog trainers, although a familiar tool to some marine mammal trainers.
Q: I'm training my dog, an English springer spaniel, to do signals for Utility obedience competition. My dog understands what the sit signal is. When I am close he sits up like a rocket, as I get further he sometimes hesitates, and if too far, doesn't do it at all. If I go back, again he sits up like a rocket. However, when I go just a bit further, he sits on the signal but moves forward a bit. I have used things to prevent him from moving forward but they only temporarily fix the problem. I'm looking for some guidance on building a sit signal so my dog eventually understands that I can give the signal when I'm 20 feet away from him. I'm not in a hurry and am willing to build; just not sure I'm going about it right.
During the first season of ClickerExpo, it seemed to me that a lot of people had questions about behavior chains and back-chaining. I'd like to shed a little light on the subject. A behavior chain is an event in which units of behavior occur in sequences and are linked together by learned cues. Back-chaining, which means teaching those units in reverse order and reinforcing each unit with the cue for the next, is a training technique. We use this technique to take advantage of the intrinsic nature of the event.