Clicker Training for Dogs
A number of dog trainers and pet owners swear by clicker training, and there’s a good reason why. This training method is based on behavioral psychology and is deeply rooted in positive reinforcement to teach good habits.
How does it work?
Clicker training works by using a device that you press to make a short, distinct “click” sound. You press the clicker when your dog performs a task properly, so he or she associates the “click” with a job well done. This mechanical sound, combined with positive reinforcement, is definitely an effective way to inculcate good behavior. It allows your dog to know exactly what kind of behavior is earning him or her treats at the moment. This being said, never use the clicker just to get your dog’s attention. It will only confuse your dog and in turn, hinder the training process.
Tips to enhance the effectiveness of clicker training
1. Keep the training sessions short. Instead of doing the same tasks for an hour, keep it short to three sessions of five minutes each.
2. Fix bad behavior by clicking for good behavior. This means using the clicker for silence, instead of scolding your puppy for making your noise. You can also cure leash-pulling by clicking and treating those moments when the leash happens to go slack.
3. Don’t wait to click as soon as the complete task is performed. Click and treat for small movements in the right direction. Here’s a concrete example: Instead of using the clicker only as soon as your dog sits as cued, start clicking already when your dog starts to crouch its back.
4. Timing is very important in clicker training. So, if you feel that you are not making any progress with a particular behavior, it might mean you are just probably clicking too early or too late.
5. The most important thing is to have fun with clicker training. It is a wonderful way to enrich your relationship with your fur baby.