There are several dog training techniques, but clicker training is among the most gentle, effective and fun. Much like any dog training method, repetition, patience, persistence and consistency will be the keys to success with clicker training for dogs.

AN INSTANT Explanation of What Clicker Training Really Is

First, it’s important to understand that clicker training works exclusively by way of positive reinforcement. You don’t make any corrections or physically compel your dog to do anything. Punishment, be it scolding your dog or something more physical, is merely not a part of clicker training for dogs.

Instead of using harsh corrections, clicker training’s humane, reward-based techniques train dogs through the use of time-tested psychological principles. Specifically, this scientifically-based training technique capitalizes on a straightforward, clear to see core principle of dog psychology: behavior that’s positively reinforced (rewarded) is more prone 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 complete moment he is doing what you want, then immediately giving your pet a treat to reward that desired behavior. Your pet will soon come to love hearing that click and can work to create it happen, because he’ll associate the click with receiving a treat. Essentially, the clicker tells your dog which particular behavior you want, and that he’ll get a treat when he does it. You also use verbal commands and/or hand signals while you’re having your dog perform the behavior you’re teaching him.

As your pet learns the commands associated with that behavior, you gradually phase out the clicking. And once your dog has formed a good association between your commands and the desired behavior, performing it reliably 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 then immediately follow it with a reward. Because unwanted actions are ignored (and go unpunished) while desired behaviors are rewarded, clicker workout sessions are highly motivating. Clicker training can be used to teach your dog almost anything you need, including traditional obedience commands and tricks.

About the Clicker Itself

The clicker can be an inexpensive, plastic hand-held device. It produces a sudden, audible click once you press its small metal button or strip. Dogs have sharp hearing, and many can hear the click from around 30 yards away. As the click is distinctive and always sounds identical, it’s impossible for your dog to misinterpret.

The click tells your pet that what he is doing is precisely the behavior you want. It simultaneously pinpoints the required behavior and gives your dog consistent, immediate positive feedback. In short, the clicker is really a tool that pairs the sound of the click with receiving a treat. With repetition, your pet forms a solid mental association between both of these otherwise unrelated things. As you only click whenever your dog does what you would like (for which you will immediately reward him), he quickly learns that when he hears the click, he’s about 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. Training sessions should be short (five minutes or so) to help keep them fun and engaging, but have several each day.

Follow the seven steps below to employ a clicker to successfully train your dog:

1. Teach your pet that the sound of the clicker means he’s going to receive a treat and praise. It’s easy to do – while your pet is standing calmly, click and then immediately give him a delicacy and praise. He’ll obtain 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 his own, or coax him to sit by using a treat.

3. The instant he begins to execute the required behavior (his rump starts going 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 treat. 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 obtain the praise and treat.

5. Instill the behavior with repetition. Gradually increase the challenges your pet faces during his workout sessions. For example, slowly increase the duration, distance and distractions.

6. Add a verbal command and/or hand signal to cue your dog to perform the desired behavior.

7. Once it’s clear your dog understands what you would like him to accomplish and does it reliably, gradually phase out the clicker and treats. Your dog will now sit on your verbal command or hand signal.

Remember, clicker training isn’t command-based. If your dog doesn’t react 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 PROFESSIONALS and Cons of Clicker Training for Dogs

Clicker training has multiple advantages. You can teach your dog almost anything without resorting to punishment. It’s a positive, stress-free training technique that builds a strong bond between you and your dog rather than causing your dog to fear or be intimidated by you. Your dog could be more confident because he’ll gain a clear understanding of the behavior you want rather than concentrating on avoiding what’s wrong. It’s even effective with young puppies.

Some people aren’t keen on clicker training for dogs since they want their dogs to obey them out of respect, not because they want a treat or they are “brainwashed.” However, there is no question that this training technique is effective. Your dog will do as you ask because you’ve taught him that you’re happy when he does.

I know how it might be tough and time consuming to teach your dog. With patience and consistency it is possible to put an end to all your dog’s “problems” nevertheless, you need to do it the right way.

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