There are several dog training techniques, but clicker training is probably the most gentle, effective and fun. As with any dog training method, repetition, patience, persistence and consistency will be the keys to success with clicker training for dogs.
A Quick Explanation of What Clicker Training Really Is
First, it’s important to understand that clicker training works exclusively through positive reinforcement. You do not make any corrections or physically compel your pet to do anything. Punishment, be it scolding your pet or something more physical, is merely not a part of clicker training for dogs.
Rather than using harsh corrections, clicker training’s humane, reward-based techniques train dogs by applying time-tested psychological principles. Specifically, this scientifically-based training technique capitalizes on a straightforward, easy to understand core principle of dog psychology: behavior that is positively reinforced (rewarded) is more likely to be repeated, while behavior that’s not reinforced (ignored) is less inclined to be repeated.
Clicker training involves letting your dog hear an audible click at the precise moment he is doing what you need, then immediately giving your dog a treat to reward that desired behavior. How To House Train A Dog Your pet will soon arrived at love hearing that click and can work to create it happen, because he’ll associate the click with finding a treat. Essentially, the clicker tells your dog which particular behavior you need, and that he’ll get a treat when he does it. Additionally you use verbal commands and/or hand signals as long as you’re having your pet perform the behavior you’re teaching him.
As your pet learns the commands connected with that behavior, you gradually phase out the clicking. And once your dog has formed a solid association between your commands and the desired behavior, performing it reliably each and every time, the treats can also be phased out.
Instead of punishing undesirable behaviors, clicker training for dogs uses the energy of positive association. You click to mark (identify) the precise behavior you want and immediately follow it with a reward. Because unwanted actions are ignored (and go unpunished) while desired behaviors are rewarded, clicker training sessions are highly motivating. Clicker training may be used to teach your dog just about anything you need, including traditional obedience commands and tricks.
About the Clicker Itself
The clicker is an inexpensive, plastic hand-held device. It produces a sudden, audible click when you press its small metal button or strip. Dogs have sharp hearing, and many can hear the click from as much as 30 yards away. As the click is distinctive and always sounds identical, it’s impossible for your dog to misinterpret.
The click tells your dog that what he is doing is precisely the behavior you need. It simultaneously pinpoints the desired behavior and gives your pet consistent, immediate positive feedback. In a nutshell, the clicker is a tool that pairs the sound of the click with receiving a treat. With repetition, your dog forms a solid mental association between these two otherwise unrelated things. As you only click whenever your dog does what you want (that you will immediately reward him), he quickly learns that when he hears the click, he’s going to receive a treat.
A Step-by-step Guide to Clicker Training for Dogs
Clicker training for dogs works well with all ages and breeds, including young pups. Workout sessions should be short (5 minutes or so) to keep them fun and engaging, but have several every day.
Follow the seven steps below to employ a clicker to successfully train your pet:
1. Teach your dog that the sound of the clicker means he’s going to get a treat and praise. You can do – while your dog is standing calmly, click and then immediately give him a delicacy and praise. He’ll get the idea after you do that several times.
2. Choose the behavior you want your dog to understand. Let’s use sit for example. Either await him to sit on their own, or coax him to sit with a treat.
3. The instant he begins to perform the required behavior (his rump starts heading down, in this example), mark the behavior with a click.
4. Reinforce and reward the behavior (sitting) by praising your pet and giving him a delicacy. Keep carefully the treats small but tasty so he’s wanting to receive them. He’ll soon start sitting by himself because he wants to hear the click and get the praise and treat.
5. Instill the behavior with repetition. Gradually increase the challenges your pet faces during his training sessions. For example, slowly raise the duration, distance and distractions.
6. Add a verbal command and/or hand signal to cue your dog to perform the required behavior.
7. Once it’s clear your pet understands what you need him to accomplish and does it reliably, gradually phase out the clicker and treats. Your dog will now take a seat on your verbal command or hand signal.
Remember, clicker training isn’t command-based. If your dog doesn’t respond to your verbal command or hand signal, he’s not disobeying you – he just hasn’t learned the cue (yet). Be patient and keep practicing.
The Pros and Cons of Clicker Training for Dogs
Clicker training has multiple advantages. It is possible to teach your dog almost anything without resorting to punishment. It’s a positive, stress-free training technique that builds a solid bond between you as well as your dog rather than causing your pet to fear or be intimidated by you. Your dog will be more confident because he’ll gain a clear understanding of the behavior you need rather than focusing on avoiding what’s wrong. It’s even effective with young puppies.
Some people aren’t fond of clicker training for dogs since they want their dogs to obey them out of respect, not since they want a treat or they’ve been “brainwashed.” However, there’s no question that this training technique is effective. Your pet will do as you ask because you’ve taught him you are happy when he does.
I know how it can be tough and time consuming to teach a dog. With patience and consistency it will be possible to put an end to all or any your dog’s “problems” nevertheless, you need to do it the right way.