Clicker Training

Clicker Training Your Dog or Puppy

If you are looking to train your dog. You might consider using the 'clicker training' method. Which has recently become popular amongst dog trainers all over the country. In this method, the trainer has to make use of a clicker. A tiny plastic box with a metal button. Which makes a distinctive click sound once the button has been pressed. The training method is simple and is in many ways parallel to the positive training method. Here is what you have to do. Decide on a certain behavior that you want to teach or reinforce your dog to do. Many behaviors/actions come naturally to the dog. Like sitting, eating, standing, barking etc. and these need to be reinforced. So that your dog knows when you want him to do what. Various other actions like acting dead, shaking hands, and rolling over. Do not come naturally to the dog and need to be taught. Clicker training can be used to do both.

Clicker training works according to the basic principles of operant conditioning. By associating the sound of the clicker with a food item that the dog particularly likes. Now all you have to do is use the clicker to command the dog to do something. The dog, given that he associates the sound of the clicker with the food. Immediately obliges and the training is complete.

Let us take an example to illustrate the method better. Suppose you want to teach your dog to sit. You put a cookie on your dog's nose playfully and then move it upwards. The dog will follow the movement of the biscuit with its nose. And will then rest its posterior on the floor. Thereby putting himself in a sitting position. Now is the time for your clicking to be accurate. To occur right as the dog seats himself, now give him the biscuit and praise him. Continue doing this for some time. Till the dog begins to associate the clicking with the food. Until the click makes him sit without you luring him with treats. Now teach him another behavior, but remember to attach the clicking cue only. Once the animal himself offers you the behavior. Otherwise, the clicking will not be connected to anything in the dog's head. And he will be confused about what it means.

Your dog is one smart little animal and it's time you gave him due credit for that. Many trainers have been known to use negative reinforcement techniques. Alongside the clicker method, but this doesn't work. Because punishment at all times creates many unwanted behaviors. Even if it serves the primary purpose of teaching the dog to not do something.

Any kind of training is a strenuous and rigorous process and needs time and patience. Although clicker training method has a high success rate. It might not work for certain types of dogs. If you see that it's not working for your pet you would be well advised to use some other technique to teach it tricks.

Try Clicks Instead For Dog Training

The first major improvement in dog training since choke chains and spiked collars. Click and treat has quickly establishing itself in becoming a big hit in the world of dog training. Currently, there are over 10,000 trainers who are using this training method every day.

One advantage to using this form of training at home is it’s easy to learn for both the dog and his trainer!

Originally used to train marine mammals. Click and treat breaks down the process. Into two separate steps, information and motivation. The click is the information, the treat is the motivation. While other trainers still work on these two steps. They try to teach them all at once, which can confuse the animal and slow down results.

Most trainers will verbally praise a dog for good behavior. While at the same time motivating the dog to repeat his actions. This can be a good method, but it takes longer for the dog to understand. Which behaviors and actions caused the praise from the trainer.

With the click and treat method, the processes are easily taught. In normal training, a person would say “good boy.” When a welcomed action occurs and proceeds with giving a treat. The clicker becomes a substitute for verbal praise. And can actually catch the “good boy” behavior quicker than saying it. Letting the dog know exactly which behavior he is being rewarded for.

Another way to look at click and treat training. Is viewing it as a secondary reinforcement. While food, water, physical affection, and play (things the dog wants). Become primary reinforcement. When you take a dog for a walk, the leash works as a secondary reinforcement. It is obvious to the dog that the leash is not taking him for a walk. The owner is, yet, it triggers a reaction in the dog. Telling him that the leash will let him know where he will go and where he will not. And if he reacts to the leash with good behavior, his reward will be a nice leisurely walk.

Click and treat works the same way. When a dog hears the clicker. He will know that he performed good behavior and as long as he keeps hearing a click, there is a treat coming his way. So, the clicker works as a secondary reinforcement. Teaching him boundaries and appropriate behavior.

A couple of advantages of the click and treat method include;

  1. Faster response than verbal praise. The clicker can identify the exact behavior at the time it happens.

  2. It takes the place of treats. While motivating the dog to hear clicks. It will also teach him to work without the expectations of having treats given to him. Each time he does something good.

  3. If the trainer is working at a distance from the dog, the clicker will still work, without having to be right next him.

Are you ready to try clicker training?

The first thing you’ll need to do is go to your favorite pet supply store and invest in a clicker. The clicker is nothing fancy and should cost you under five dollars. While you’re there grab some pocket treats, little bits of dried liver work well.

A good method to use when getting started with click and treat is to stand in front of the animal. Click the clicker and give a treat. Continue doing this for 20-30 minutes, or until the dog becomes startled by the sound of the click. This will familiarize him to the clicking sound. While teaching him that every time he hears it, he has done something good. After he gets the hang of it, begin by adding commands, such as “sit” and “stay.”

Click and treat has proven to be a simple, yet consistent training method with quick results. So for the trainers out there who are looking for a new and innovative way to motivate and praise their animals, get out there, buy a clicker, and... click!