Updated: Feb 13
Clicker training, so what’s the go?! I am sure you have heard about it and maybe you have even tried it! How did it go for you? Did you feel like you knew what you were doing? And did it help you to train your dog effectively?
Using a clicker as a tool for dog training helps to identify the exact moment that your dog (cat, rabbit or even fish) performs a behaviour. You use it to mark that behaviour, in doing so it helps your pet get the indicator they need in a timely manner. Dogs for instance need to be reinforced 3 seconds after they have performed the behaviour that you asked for. Getting a treat to them is great, but without the tool of a clicker it is very likely that by the time they are given the treat it has been much longer than those 3 seconds, so they may not know exactly what the treat is then for. Therefore using a clicker will help your pet learn faster, I’m sure you as an owner would be quite happy with that!
How do you then start clicker training? The first step is to go out and get yourself a clicker and some tasty treats! Then you have to pair the sound of the clicker with a treat reward often enough that the sound will become a reward in itself. You will need to in the beginning simply click and give a treat straight away (remember the 3 seconds)! It has to be quick! Once you have done that a few times start leaving giving a treat for a few extra seconds. You should start to see your dog looking for the treat after you click the clicker. If you are not seeing this then you have moved too quickly, so you need to go back and do more practice of just clicking and giving the treat straight away. Once your dog has started to get the hang of it with the delay of the treat reward, you are ready to take it a bit further. I recommend getting some treats in a small bowl and sitting them beside you in the evening while you are relaxing. Click every now and then and watch for your dog’s response, he/she should now come running at the sound of the clicker. And just as before, if your dog doesn’t come running you need to go back a step, maybe just try when your dog is already nearby and there are few distractions.
You can start clicker training at any age, so this is not something that will work only with puppies! Just look at the photos above, Sam only started clicker training at 4 years old! Look how interested in the clicker he is!
As a positive reinforcement trainer, clicker training is something our trainer Lisa uses routinely, if you are considering using Four Happy Paws for your future training needs, this is a technique that you will be taught to utilise. It is something that you will wonder how you went without once you get used to using this tool. And you can use it on any pet you want to train, no matter what the age is! SO what are you waiting for?! Get out there and give it a try!!