How 8 Things Will Change The Way You Approach Training For Dogs Is Gentle

There are several dog training techniques, but clicker training is one of the most gentle, effective and fun. Much like any dog training method, repetition, patience, persistence and consistency are the keys to success with clicker training for dogs.

A Quick Explanation of What Clicker Training Really Is

First, it’s important to recognize that clicker training works exclusively by way of positive reinforcement. You don’t make any corrections or physically compel your pet to do anything. Punishment, whether it’s scolding your pet or something more physical, is merely not a section of clicker training for dogs.

Instead of using harsh corrections, clicker training’s humane, reward-based techniques train dogs by applying time-tested psychological principles. Specifically, this scientifically-based training technique capitalizes on a straightforward, easy to understand core principle of dog psychology: behavior that’s positively reinforced (rewarded) is more likely to be repeated, while behavior that’s not reinforced (ignored) is less inclined to be repeated.

Clicker training involves letting your dog hear an audible click at the precise moment he is doing what you want, then immediately giving your dog a delicacy to reward that desired behavior. Your pet will soon come to love hearing that click and can work to create it happen, because he’ll associate the click with finding a treat. Essentially, the clicker tells your pet which particular behavior you need, and that he’ll receive a treat when he does it. You also use verbal commands and/or hand signals while you’re having your pet perform the behavior you’re teaching him.

As your pet learns the commands connected with that behavior, you gradually phase out the clicking. And once your dog has formed a good association in the middle of your commands and the required behavior, performing it reliably every time, the treats may also be phased out.

Rather than punishing undesirable behaviors, clicker training for dogs uses the energy of positive association. You click to mark (identify) the specific behavior you want and then immediately follow it with a reward. Because unwanted actions are ignored (and go unpunished) while desired behaviors are rewarded, clicker workout sessions are highly motivating. Clicker training can be used to teach your dog just about anything you need, including traditional obedience commands and tricks.

About the Clicker Itself

The clicker is an inexpensive, plastic hand-held device. It produces an abrupt, audible click when you press its small metal button or strip. Dogs have sharp hearing, and many can hear the click from up to 30 yards away. As the click is distinctive and always sounds identical, it’s impossible for your dog to misinterpret.

The click tells your dog that what he could be doing is exactly the behavior you need. It simultaneously pinpoints the desired behavior and gives your pet consistent, immediate positive feedback. In short, the clicker is really a tool that pairs the sound of the click with finding a treat. With repetition, your pet forms a solid mental association between these two otherwise unrelated things. As you only click whenever your dog does what you want (for which you will immediately reward him), he quickly learns that whenever he hears the click, he’s about to receive a treat.

A Step by Step Guide to Clicker Training for Dogs

Clicker training for dogs is effective with all ages and breeds, including young pups. Training sessions should be short (five minutes or so) to help keep them fun and engaging, but have several each day.

Follow the seven steps below to employ a clicker to successfully train your pet:

1. Teach your pet that the sound of the clicker means he’s going to get a treat and praise. It’s easy to do – while your pet is standing calmly, click and then immediately give him a delicacy and praise. He’ll get the idea after you do that several times.

2. Choose the behavior you want your dog to learn. Let’s use sit for example. Either wait for him to sit on his own, or coax him to sit with a treat.

3. The instant he begins to execute the required behavior (his rump starts heading down, in this example), mark the behavior with a click.

4. Reinforce and reward the behavior (sitting) by praising your pet and giving him a delicacy. Keep the treats small but tasty so he’s wanting to receive them. He’ll soon start sitting by himself because he really wants to hear the click and obtain the praise and treat.

5. Instill the behavior with repetition. Gradually increase the challenges your pet faces during his training sessions. For example, slowly increase the duration, distance and distractions.

6. Add a verbal command and/or hand signal to cue your pet to perform the desired behavior.

7. Once it’s clear your dog understands what you want him to do and does it reliably, gradually phase out the clicker and treats. Your pet will now take a seat on your verbal command or hand signal.

Remember, clicker training isn’t command-based. If your pet doesn’t react to your verbal command or hand signal, he’s not disobeying you – he just hasn’t learned the cue (yet). Show patience and keep practicing.

The Pros and Cons of Clicker Training for Dogs

Clicker training has multiple advantages. It is possible to teach your dog almost anything without resorting to punishment. It’s a positive, stress-free training technique that builds a strong bond between you as well as your dog rather than causing your pet to fear or be intimidated by you. Your pet will be more confident because he’ll gain a clear understanding of the behavior you need rather than focusing on avoiding what’s wrong. It’s even effective with young puppies.

Some people aren’t keen on clicker training for dogs since they want their dogs to obey them out of respect, not because they want a treat or they’ve been “brainwashed.” However, there is no question that training technique is effective. Your pet can do as you ask because you’ve taught him that you’re happy when he does.

I know how it usually is tough and time consuming to teach your dog. With patience and consistency it will be possible to put an end to all your dog’s “problems” but you need to do it the right way.