When dog training just clicks! Everything you need to know about dog training clickers
Dog clicker training is a great way to train your pet, whether you want to teach them basic commands or more complicated tricks. Best of all, it relies on positive reinforcement, because when your dog hears the clicker, he knows he is going to receive a treat! But what exactly is a dog training clicker and how does it work? You’re in the right place to find out…
What is a dog training clicker?
Dog training clickers are small, simple, plastic devices that makes a clicking sound when you press them. They are used to help train dogs.
What exactly is dog clicker training?
Dog clicker training is a fantastic way of training your dog by rewarding him for good behaviour. Your dog will learn that the click from the clicker means he has done something right, and he’ll know a treat is coming! Dogs are great at learning behaviours that are rewarded.
What can I teach my dog with a dog training clicker?
All sorts of things! You can teach him anything from basic commands, such as “stay!” or “drop it!”, to clever tricks like “shake hands” or “roll over”.
Once your dog understands what the clicker is all about, you can teach him all the doggie tricks there are. And he will love it because there will be plenty of treats along the way!
One of the most important things when training a dog is consistency. A click from the clicker is always consistent – and quick – whereas the sound of your voice can fluctuate. Voice commands are still very important – but the clicker is a great way to get the training started.
Where can I buy a clicker?
Clickers only cost two or three pounds and there’s lots available online or at most pet shops.
How do I use it?
Dog training clickers are very easy to use. Before you get started, make sure you have lots of small food treats ready as well as your clicker.
Choose a nice quiet room with no distractions. Before you start the training, you need to introduce the clicker to your dog. With a treat in one hand and the clicker in the other, click the clicker once and immediately give your dog the treat. Repeat this a few times so that your dog soon learns to associate the click with a treat. The click should certainly start to get his attention!
You’ve already done the most important bit – you’ve made the association between a click and a treat. Now you can start to teach him new skills!
Focus on the action you want him to perform – for example sitting. As soon as he sits, click and give him a treat. You can gently encourage him to sit – each time he does, immediately click and provide a treat. He’ll soon make the connection between the desired action, the click and the treat.
You can then start adding vocal commands – “sit!” – each time, and still clicking and rewarding each time. Keep repeating the process.
Then progress to only clicking and rewarding your dog when he performs the action on your vocal command. Don’t click or reward if he does it by himself. When he sits on command every time, you can start phasing out the clicker and the treats. But still give him an encouraging pat and let him know he’s done well, and you can still give a treat now and then!
Now that you’ve mastered dog clicker training, why not take a look at our article on basic commands or teaching your dog tricks!
Timing is everything! It is important your dog understands what behaviour is being rewarded. So try and click during the correct behaviour if you can and give the treat immediately afterwards.
Reward every time. In the early stages of training, that click must mean a guaranteed treat. So even if you accidentally click the clicker, your lucky dog must get a treat!
Keep the treats small. Dog clicker training needs lots of treats. Keep them small so he doesn’t get overweight – it’s about the taste more than anything.
End on a positive note. Training requires a bit of effort for both you and your dog (though it is a lot of fun too). Always end the training session on a positive note – a correct action, a click and a treat, and lots of praise!
Phase the clicker out. Remember, a dog training clicker is only for training new behaviours. Once your dog responds to the verbal command alone, it’s time to phase it (and the treats) out.