Using ‘clickers’ in animal training has been around since the 1940’s, but they didn’t catch on in popularity until recent years. In the 1990’s, Karen Pryor, one of the most respected figures in dog training, popularized their use as a positive training tool.
At DogBoy’s we incorporate clickers in our dog training, along with treats and praise. Now we want to share some of our best tips and tricks with you. Here’s the how and why of using a clicker to train your dog.
Clickers Are A Better Way To Say “Yes” When Your Dog Behaves
This doesn’t mean you need to stop saying “yes,” or “good boy,” entirely. Your dog definitely loves that praise and will acknowledge it. But, during training, you want communication to be as clear as possible. A clicker’s tone is:
These traits make the clicker more easily audible to a dog. Even if there are other distractions, your dog will still be able to register your signals.
A clicker is a quick way to mark a specific behavior you’re trying to encourage. It’s clearer and more consistent than verbal signs. However, the trainer must instill the clicker with value before using it as reinforcement.
Use positive rewards to create the clicker’s value. However, just like with giving your dog treats, there’s nothing given away for free when training them. When your dog is performing the desired behavior, click once and immediately reward them with a treat. This reinforces both the clicker’s value and the behavior.
You have to get the timing right as well. If you don’t click immediately after the behavior, your dog will have the wrong idea about what the click was rewarding. You can accidentally reinforce the wrong behavior. This is why learning how to use a clicker from a certified trainer is ideal.
Some trainers claim that you can’t rely on clickers because you won’t always have access to them. That’s true, but clickers are more for shaping behavior than for giving day-to-day directions to your dog like “sit,” or “stay.”
Clickers Are A Sign of A Good Trainer
Clickers are a hallmark of positive dog training. If you’re looking at trainers for your dog, and they advertise that they use clickers, it’s a good sign that you’ve got a positive trainer.
If you have any questions about using a clicker in training your own dog, don’t hesitate to contact us today.
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