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- The use of a clicker is one form of positive reinforcement dog training wherein the owner or trainer communicates to the dog by marking a desired action and then rewarding it.
- When using clickers for training your dog, it is important that you click at the right moment to avoid confusing your dog which of his actions are marked as a good behavior.
- When utilizing the clicker training method, break it into smaller sessions so as not to overwhelm or bore your dog. Gradually reduce treats as well and use other rewards such as praises and pets.
Clicker training is a mark and reward system used in dog training which generally runs on the idea of positive reinforcement. I personally like to clicker train my dogs as it is a simple way to communicate to them that an action they have done is a good behavior that merits a reward. This encourages my dogs to repeat this action.
If you want to learn more on how to clicker train your dog, read my full guide below.
Use positive reinforcement to teach your pet with a clicker
What makes dolphins jump through hoops, goldfish swim to a goal, rats sniff out landmines, cats come running when they’re called, and dogs sit on command? A tiny tool called a “clicker,” when combined with positive rewards and repetition, can become any pet owner’s most valuable asset. The dog training clicker is a small plastic tool with a metal strip inside which give gives the clicking sound when pressed. This training tool has revolutionized animal training by making positive reinforcement, as opposed to negative correction, the primary teaching method. Puppy clicker training is a great way to teach your puppy tricks, such as shake hands or roll over, or basic commands like sit and stay. You can start clicker training a young pup as soon as you bring them to their new home.
Clicker Training Your Pet:
The premise of the clicker is simple; it works as a secondary reinforcement, providing a consistent sound that instantaneously marks good behavior. The exact timing of the treat following the clicker does not matter, because as you progress in the training, once he hears the clicker, the dog understands that he did a good behavior. Without a clicker, our praise is likely to vary—our tone of voice or the reward we give might change, extending the time necessary for an animal to associate his action with a positive reward.
Dog clicker training
Clickers also ensure correct timing during the training process, to make sure the dog associates the sound to good behavior, which is hard to accomplish without a tool. It’s difficult to consistently reward a dog for sitting at the exact moment his haunches hit the ground, but a clicker allows for that precision. Animals soon associate the sound of the clicker with a job well done, and become more likely to repeat the action. This is especially when training for the reliable recall.
What Are the Benefits of Puppy Clicker Training?
There are many benefits to using clicker training for your dog. For one, it is a very effective way to train dogs. Clicker training can help you teach your dog new commands and behaviors quickly and effectively. It is also a great way to keep your dog motivated during training sessions. Clicker training can be fun for both you and your dog, and it can help strengthen the bond between you.
How Does Clicker Training Work for Dogs? Obedience training
“Charge” the clicker
In order to help the animal associate the sound of the clicker with a positive reward, begin by simply clicking, then giving the animal a treat. Make a click, then give a treat, and repeat several times—“click, treat—click, treat.” Be sure to use high-stakes treats that the animal loves and can chew easily, such as tiny bits of cut-up chicken or cheese.
You don’t need to reward with a huge treat, just something the animal can swallow fast and would really enjoy. When you click and the animal begins looking for the treat, you’ll know she associates that sound with a reward. You are now ready to use the clicker to mark good behavior.
Click at the right moment
The most important characteristic of good clicker training is timing. You should click at the exact moment the dog performs the behavior and not a moment after or before. If you want to teach an animal to respond to its name, click at the moment the animal turns to look at you after hearing its name.
For sitting, click at the moment the animal’s haunches touch the ground; for lying down, the moment the animal’s legs completely release to the floor. As long as you click at the right moment, it doesn’t matter if your actual delivery of the treat is a bit delayed; you have already marked the exact behavior with a positive reinforces that the animal recognizes.
Break commands into small steps
It is best if the animal realizes his good behavior on his own rather than having you force him into it, so as hard as it might seem, refrain from pushing or pulling the animal into the correct position. A traditional training method for teaching a puppy to sit involved pushing down on his hind end while saying “Sit.” With clicker training, you might begin while standing close to the animal and raising a hand (with a treat in it) just above his nose until he is forced to sit to get it.
Soon you can eliminate the treat from your hand and just transmit an action clue with your arm making an upward motion. Once the animal sits successfully with this nonverbal cue, begin to add the verbal command “Sit.” In this way, without ever touching the animal, you help the animal think for himself, and you might find him offering good behavior around the house because he has learned
How to Train Your Dog to Use the Clicker: Tips for Successful Puppy Clicker Training
If you’re new to clicker training, or just looking to brush up on your skills, here are a few tips to help you get started.
- First, it’s important to choose the right clicker. There are many different types of clickers available on the market, so it’s important to find one that is comfortable for you to use. If you’re not sure which clicker to choose, ask a friend or trainer for their recommendation.
- Once you have your clicker, it’s time to start training! When you first start out, it’s important to keep your sessions short and sweet. Start with just a few minutes at a time, and gradually increase the length of your sessions as your dog gets more comfortable with the process.
- It’s also important to be consistent with your clicker training. Dogs learn best when they are given clear and consistent instructions. If you only use the clicker sometimes, or if you use it for different behaviors each time, it will be much harder for your dog to understand what you’re trying to teach them.
- Finally, have patience! Clicker training takes time and patience to learn, but it’s a great way to bond with your dog while teaching them new tricks and behaviors. If you persevere, your dog will surprise you by how quickly he or she learns.