If I haven't used a clicker so far, would there be any reason to start? Just wondering....
Is there a quiet clicker available?
Yes! It's unbelievable how quickly they can learn new things with clicker training... and they don't have to be puppies. I have a good friend (the person who also is helping me train Kodi) who teaches courses in Animal Behavior and Dog Training (among other things) at Becker College. For the Dog Training course, they get in a group of shelter dogs at the beginning of the semester. Most are not house broken or well-socialized, and NONE of them know even basic commands when they arrive. By the end of the semester, they hold a "Pet Fest" where the students show off their dogs doing both obedience and (very basic) agility stuff. They have almost 100% placement rate for dogs out of the program because they are so well trained by that point.
Here is a list of what Kodi has learned so far:
Sit (voice or hand signal)
Down (voice or hand signal)
Stay (voice or hand signal)
Touch (hand, target stick or target on the ground)
Heel (on and off lead, voice or hand signal)
Go on (means to move ahead of me)
Go play (means he's free to do "doggy" stuff)
He is also starting baby agility. He doesn't know all the words yet, though he's got "tunnel" and "jump"(over poles on the ground) down pat, but he also has learned to walk on a baby-height dog walk and A-frame, and walk, trot and run through a ladder on the ground. He's at the point with all of these that I can just point to the obstacle, and he does it. He learned all these obstacles in one afternoon with the aid of a clicker and a target stick.
Not too shabby for 4 1/2 months! He's not "finished" yet, by any means. He's very reliable at home, but he still gets distracted at the training school, so we are working to get him more solid on all commands in many different settings. That will take a lot longer!
But the best thing is, he LOVES to "work". He practically turns himself inside out getting me to work with him. Playing with a toy is fun too, but you can just see the wheels turning in that little head when we are working on this stuff.
As far as finding a quiet clicker is concerned, none of them are THAT loud... unless your dog has a severe sensitivity to noises, I wouldn't worry about it. But many training facilities have the smaller, oval clickers if you want that kind. They are called I-clickers. I got mine at:
They are cheap enough that I bought several to make it worth the shipping.