This Article is About
verbal signals
positive reinforcement
learned behavior
dog training
First Step Of Clicker Training For Your Dog
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We have all heard about clicker training your dog but what exactly is clicker training. Clicker training is a method of training your dog which changes your dog's behavior and conditions him to pay attention to the sound of the clicker, which is a small mechanical noisemaker. Positive reinforcement is used with this method and it is based on rewards. A clicker is used at the beginning stages for a new learned behavior. This will rapidly show the animal that a certain behavior is sought. With a clicker your dog learns without the use of force or any physical conditioning.

If you are doubting how reliable this type of training is, you can see this type of training being used at Sea World where they use this type of training for the whales and dolphins. You use the click as soon as your dog is performing whatever behavior you are looking for, then immediately follow the click with your dog's favorite treat. Eventually your dog will learn to love the sound and will do what it takes to make the sound happen.

When training your dog with a clicker you will also show him hand or verbal signals for the behavior, and as these are learned you can then phase out the clicker as it will no longer be needed. The dog at this point has learned the behavior you want him to perform. Clicker training works for all types and sizes of dogs. This type of training can be used for all types of dog training from regular pet obedience to the more advanced trick or service behaviors.

The first step of clicker training is the most important. We are going to be shaping your dog's behavior. The clicker will be the immediate way to signal your dog that he is performing the appropriate behavior. At first your dog will get a treat for accomplishing the right behavior. "The clicker bridges the time in between response and the reward. You will take the clicker and pair it with food until the dog learns and gets happy just to hear the click.

Remember you won't be using the clicker forever it is used only during the first phase of a new behavior.

Now go into a quiet room with your dog and a bowl of tasty treats that you have cut in very small pieces. As long as your dog is not misbehaving click your clicker then give him a treat. Now click it again and give him a treat. At this point we are just making the connection needed for the clicker to be effective. There are a few dogs who get frightened by the sound, if your dog is frightened muffle the sound of the clicker to make a softer sound. Soon the fear will subside. Repeat this process 5 - 10 times. You will know when you can stop, when you click the clicker and your dog looks up at you.

In order for this type of training to work it is pertinent that the bridge or clicker be followed by great reinforcement. This is called "click and treat".

This article will be followed with another article for step two of clicker training.

Street Talk

Thank you William. I will be adding more on clicker training.

  about 1 decade ago

Great article, I am using a clicker now, really good information. Thank you

  about 1 decade ago
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