Whatever kind of dog you have, clicker dog training is one of the most effective and impressive methods for controlling and dictating a dog’s behaviour when trying to teach them basic commands. It takes very little time to master clicker training and with a well-operated clicker, you can teach your dog nearly anything.
How Clicker Training Works
The idea behind clicker training is that you’re teaching your dog to associate the sound of the clicker – a strong, sharp sound that they can hear from 20+ yards away – with a specific command you give. The goal of the training is to mark specific desirable behaviour and then reward it with the sound of the clicker.
Of course, clicker dog training does not start with a clicker. You must first teach your dog that the clicker is a reward for good behaviour. This can be done with a bag of treats and a simple, two dollar clicker from your local pet store.
It is important that you use a clicker in this instance for a number of reasons. To start with, a dog will never hear that clicker for any reason other than to tell them they did a good job and that a treat is on the way. A word or verbal command might be given in different situations and the relationship in their head is not quite as strong because of it.
How Clicker Dog Training is Done
When you start training your dog to respond to a clicker, there are three very basic steps. First, you will get the behaviour – convincing your dog to do something that you want. It may be sitting, speaking, rolling over, or whatever other tricks you’re trying to teach. Once you’ve gotten them to perform their behaviour, mark it with the clicker and a reward.
It usually only takes two or three markings before a dog learns what the behaviour they did was and starts repeating it whenever you click to use the clicker. Clicker dog training works well because they will immediately respond, allowing you to reward them and immediately instal it in their minds. A verbal command will take time to get through.
Once the dog has done the behaviour and received their reward, continue doing it to reinforce the behaviour as much as possible. You do not have to use treats every time. Praise and petting work just as well and can eventually replace the behaviour.
Transitioning to a Command
Once the dog has learned the behaviour well, clicker dog training will have you transition to a spoken command that can be used anywhere, even when you don’t have a clicker. Whenever you are about to use the clicker, say the command and then click, followed by the reward. The dog will quickly learn to associate all three.
Eventually, with good clicker dog training, a dog will respond to a verbal cue and praise for their action and then they will simply learn it. The need for treats or praise will be gone and the dog will simply know that the action pleases you.
As you might imagine, clicker dog training has a number of applications. It can make training your dog so much easier in many ways. With a simple, sharp command, you can mark and reinforce nearly any behaviour.