Clicker Training is conditioning your dog so when she hears a “CLICK!” she knows she has done a GOOD thing and pleased you.
Positive reinforcement is giving praise, treats, a “click” or any other GOOD, positive thing to the dog as soon as she does something RIGHT, and ignoring all her mistakes and saying nothing when she does the wrong thing.
Clicker training and positive reinforcement represent the greatest advance in dog training to ever happen for dogs. There is absolutely no pain and no psychological disturbance for the dog. It’s absolute positive dog training.
Dogs are no longer jerked around and slapped on the hind end with a rolled up newspaper like we did back in the 40’s and 50’s. We used to scold them and the primary dog command was “NO, I said NO!” back then. Positive reinforcement? Who ever heard of that?
Who would have thought a simple little hand-held gadget that makes a clicking sound would teach a type A Rottweiler to heel with no pain, no fuss?
German Shepherd being taught the “down-stay” with the clicker out of sight.photo
How Clicker Training Works
Clicker dog training allows you to hold a small device in one hand and out of sight of the dog.
You train the dog to understand the “click” means “GOOD” by sitting with her and tossing her a tasty little treat as you “click” the clicker. She learns to associate the “click” sound with the treat, which is always something GOOD.
You simply press on the clicker when the dog does something GOOD. The dog has done a positive thing. That’s positive reinforcement… reinforced by a “CLICK.“
Now, your dog understands every time she hears a “CLICK,” she has just done something YOU LIKE. She has pleased you! And, a TREAT is coming to her right now! Dogs live to please their humans so she’s happy.
TIMING is very important. The “click” must come the instant the dog does the good thing, such as sitting. Tell her to “sit” and as soon as her butt hits the ground, give a CLICK and PRAISE.
If the dog does something wrong, just start over and say nothing. No treat, no click, nothing. Dogs hate to be ignored.
You can then begin to give clicks for everything from teaching the dog her name to teaching her to roll over or heel. In time, the dog will begin to look forward to performing her commands and hearing the clicker because she knows a treat is coming and that she has done a GOOD thing, that is, something YOU LIKE.
I’ve had dogs actually sit, roll over or lie down without me saying anything, in expectation of getting a “click!”! Dogs seem to become anxious to learn new commands with clicker training which is using the positive dog training principal.
Don’t Go Too Far
Be careful. Try to find objects other than treats after things are going along so the dog doesn’t become totally hung up on the food aspect. Some fun play time or a favorite toy can replace a treat now and then. However, the clicker training never gets old. Dogs love to hear the clicker after they learn what the “click” means!
In time, the idea is to do away with the clicker and treats entirely.
Once the dog has learned the command really well, so well she can do it in her sleep, try to give her the command in different places, different environments and without the clicker.
This is positive reinforcement training at its best. You are taking advantage of the dog’s natural ability to relate action with success. As quickly as she does the RIGHT thing, she gets acknowledgment such as a “click” and reward.