Most dog owners have heard of clicker training but really aren't clear on how it actually works or how to implement it. In this article I will discuss what clicker training is, how to start using it as well as just how powerful clicker training can be. Most dogs take to clicker training very easily and enjoy learning through the use of a clicker.
What Clicker Training Is
Clicker Training is a positive method of teaching a dog new behaviors. This means there is no correction for the dog getting anything wrong, just reward for when he gets the new behavior right.
How Clicker Training Works
The principle behind clicker training is that the click sound means "correct". So your dog soon learns that the exact position he's in or behavior he's performing when the clicker goes off means that’s the correct position or behavior. When a dog becomes used to clicker training it is clear when he's doing the correct behavior and new behaviors are formed very quickly.
The main things to consider when clicker training are rate of reinforcement, timing and motivation. Rate of reinforcement is all about how often your reward and how much of a reward you give. When first starting you should reward and click simultaneously at the instant your dog complies. That is how he'll begin to associate the sound and the reward with a behavoir. As your dogs understanding increases the rate of reinforcement can be decreased and your dog should be holding the correct behavior longer. Timing is extremely important in any dog training and you must use the clicker the millisecond your dog performs the correct behavior.
The next consideration is reward. Without a reward your dog won't be motivated to learn. Use a reward such as small pieces of Kibble or a similar treat that your pooch loves. Always keep your training sessions short and positive. Ten to fifteen minutes at a time is perfect. Remember that you should always finish training when your dog is still enjoying the training. This gives him something positive to look forward to for the next training session.
How To Get Started Clicker Training
To get started clicker training all you need is a clicker, a reward and a willing dog. If you have these three things then you have everything you need to start clicker training. There’s no substitute to a good working relationship with your dog. When you have that great relationship you will find training so much easier because you already know exactly how your dog is going to react to everything you do.