Training Your Dog With a Clicker
So , How to use a Clicker to train your Dog Or Your Puppy , The method is the same …My name’s M Samy and let’s dive in…
In this article I am going to discuss clicker training and its use in training dogs. Most people have heard of clicker training but have no clue what it actually is, 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 training a dog new behaviors.
This means there is no correction for the dog getting anything wrong just reward for when it gets the new behavior right.
Unlike some other dog training clicker training does not rely on baiting where the dog is simply bribed into performing a certain behavior.
The problem with baiting is that its a very dependent on the owner and takes a lot time to become an independent behavior without many cues.
As well as allowing you to teach your dog an independent behavior much quicker than with baiting or other conventional dog training it also allows your dog to learn at a fast rate because its being given much clearer instruction.
The Benefits of training your dog with a Clicker
First, you can teach your dog anything and everything you want and reinforce or eliminate any behaviour using the clicker method.
There are many advantages when you use a Clicker to teach your dog, here are some of them
You’ll gain your dog’s trust because he knows he won’t be punished if he fails, but he just won’t get his reward.
Clicker training will improve the relationship between you and your dog because you will learn to understand his behaviour and he will learn to understand your reactions and what you expect from him.
Not only are you going to have a good time with your dog and him as well, but also your dog is going to develop a love for training because he knows that he will have the right to recompense and especially to your satisfaction and your caresses.
Clicker training is simple to master and understand by the dog too, and you will of course get quick results in just a few sessions of just a few minutes of training for each order.
You don’t risk hurting your dog emotionally or physically with clicker training and above all your dog will learn to be imaginative, creative and will be able to take the initiative to do what you ask him to do, which will help him in his daily life
How Clicker Training Works ?
The principle behind clicker training is that the click noise given off by the clicker means correct.
So the soon learns that the exact position its in or behavior its performing when the clicker goes off means that’s the correct position/behavior.
When a dog is use to clicker training and is clear when its doing the correct behavior 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.
1- Reward fast
When first starting you should reward often and always remember quickly. You need to reward as soon as the dog has performed the correct behavior this way the message that’s right is crystal clear.
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 you must use the clicker the millisecond your dog performs the correct behavior.
Clicker training is all about timing the quicker you click and reward the faster the dog will learn the new behavior.
The next major thing to consider is motivation ; without motivation you have nothing a dog must love to work.
Unmotivated dogs have no go about them and they simply do not want to work. If a dog does not want to work then you have a serious problem its one hundred percent the training responsibility to make the dog love working.
How to motivate your dog ?
There are many ways to motivate a dog these include treats, toys, fuss and just play in general. Always keep your training short and fun ten to fifteen minutes at a time is perfect any more than this and the dog will get fed up.
Remember that you should always finish training when your dog is keen and enjoying the training, never finish when your dog is bored and unmotivated as this produces nothing except a dog who does not enjoy working.
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. Experiment and have fun it’s the best way to learn about clicker training and training dogs in general.
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.
The Clicker Training method
The training method is simple and is in many ways parallel to the positive training method.
Here is what you have to do :
Decide on a certain behavior which you want to teach or reinforce your dog to do.
A number of behaviors/actions come naturally to the dog like sitting, eating, standing, barking etc. and these need just to be reinforced so that your dog knows when you want him to do what.
Various other actions like acting dead, shaking hands, rolling over etc. do not come naturally to the dog and need to be taught. Clicker training can be used to do both.
Clicker training works according to the basic principles of operant conditioning, by associating the sound of the clicker with a food item which the dog particularly likes.
Now all you have to do is use the clicker to command the dog to do something, the dog, given that he associates the sound of the clicker with the food, immediately obliges and the training is complete.
Example of Dog training session using a Clicker :
Let us take an example to illustrate the method better.Suppose you want to teach your dog to sit :
You put a cookie on your dog’s nose playfully and then move it upwards
The dog will obviously follow the movement of the biscuit with its nose and will then naturally rest its posterior on the floor thereby putting himself in a sitting position.
Now time your clicking to be so accurate as to occur right as the dog seats himself, now give him the biscuit and praise him.
Continue doing this for sometime till the dog begins to associate the clicking with the food until the click makes him sit without you luring him with treats.
Now teach him another behavior, but remember to attach the clicking cue only once the animal himself offers you the behavior otherwise the clicking will not be connected to anything in the dog’s head and he will be confused regarding what it means.
Let’s Wrap all this up
Your dog is one smart little animal and it’s time you gave him due credit for that. A number of trainers have been known to use negative reinforcement techniques alongside the clicker method but this simply doesn’t work because punishment at all times creates a number of unwanted behavior even if it serves the primary purpose of teaching the dog to not do something temporarily.
Any kind of training is a strenuous and rigorous process and needs time and patience.
Although clicker training method has a high success rate it might not work for certain types of dogs, if you see that it’s not working for your pet you would be well advised to use some other technique to teach it tricks , like the brain training for dogs.