You’ll find countless philosophies regarding in home dog training. It can be confusing to know which method to choose, but one of the secrets to dog training that is frequently used in dog training school is Clicker training. Learn more about this effective, positive behavioral modification technique here!
What Is Clicker Training?
Famous dog training expert Cesar Milan (aka “The Dog Whisperer”) explains: “Some of the trainers I know and respect use what is called ‘clicker’ training, where they make a ‘click’ sound to acknowledge that the dog has done the behavior desired. And then they give the reward. The dog begins to associate the sound with a treat, and when they do something that gets a ‘click,’ they want to keep doing it over and over again. Think about it as though the clicker is a camera, and you’re ‘capturing’ a wanted behavior.”
How Are People Using The Clicker Dog Training Method?
Another popular dog training expert, Victoria Stilwell of the hit TV series “It’s Me Or The Dog,” recalls the first time she used clicker dog training on the show. “Diesel was a one-year-old male that was demonstrating increasingly threatening behavior toward his female owner. Until I arrived, Diesel’s owners, a couple, were trying to curb his behavior with confrontational methods, a strategy that was making the situation a lot worse,” she remembers. “I introduced them to clicker training and, almost immediately, Diesel’s behavior began to change for the better. The couple was shocked that something so simple could achieve such life-changing results. Since then I have received thousands of e-mails asking me about clickers, and I have used clickers on many different shows over the seven seasons that I have filmed.”
Advantages of Clicker Training
- Consistently reinforces positive behavior
- Acts as a stimulus to produce a joyful effect upon the dog
- Lessens the need for treating once the dog has been trained
- Reduces overall training time by a third
- Can be used to correct problem behavior
Dog Training Tips: How To Clicker Train Your Dog
First, you must “load” the clicker with meaning for your dog. Spend some time clicking and immediately giving your dog a treat. Your dog will come to anticipate that the click means something good is coming. A good way to practice (and not overindulge your dog) is to portion out his or her meal and make it a play session.
When it’s time to get down to brass tacks and start training certain tricks or behaviors, you should use a “higher reward” treat like a little cube of chicken. Ask your dog to sit. While the dog is completing the motion, press the clicker, and then treat upon completion. Timing of the click is extremely important. You want to emphasize the act as the dog is thinking about it and carrying it out. You need not wait for perfection, but reward for compliance – as soon as the dog leans back for the sit, for instance. Raise your expectations over time, through repetition and practice. Remember that dogs have short attention spans, so you should keep your practice sessions short (five to fifteen minutes) — repeated several times throughout the day — and gradually increase the duration (to a half hour).
Click whenever your dog does a favorable behavior – touching your hand, lying down against the wall during dinner, or retrieving a toy for you. With puppies, you can use clicker training when the puppy eliminates in the proper spot, when he or she remains down as guests arrive, or when the leash goes slack during a walk.