Getting Started With Clicker Training

Getting Started With Clicker Training

Author WDF Staff


If you are looking into dog training methods, you probably already heard about clicker training. Although the term might sound familiar, most new dog owners are not familiar with the exact training method. We will let you in on all clicker training secrets and show you why this method is effective. Let’s dig in.

What is clicker training?

Clicker training can be best described as a positive reinforcement training method using a clicker. This method is focused on rewarding good behavior by letting your dog know exactly what type of action you are rewarding and why. Instead of telling your dog what not to do and punishing the bad behavior, the clicker training method will flip the situation. It will give your dog a healthy option to choose the behavior that gets them rewards.

shepherd training

You must use the clicker properly and click it at the exact moment your dog does something you are expecting of them. It eliminates the possibility of your dog guessing what they did right and tells them exactly that. For example, if you teach your dog to give you their paw, you must click at the exact moment their paw touches your hand.

Before any advanced training begins, the new puppy needs to be leash trained. Here is an article about it - Leash training.

Click - the meaning

The click doesn’t have any special meaning; it is just a sound that your dog will associate with good behavior. The click will notify the exact moment your dog does something you want to encourage. It doesn’t even have to be a clicker; you can snap your fingers or use a whistle.

You must use the click only when you are actively training your dog, and make sure not to use the clicker unnecessarily. Also, the click itself has no meaning if it is not paired with a reward. The best practice seems to be food-based rewards. Most dogs will do anything for a treat, and by using a clicker, you will tell your dog the treat is on the way.

You should start associating clicks with treats from the beginning.

Advantage of clicker training

The most significant advantage of clicker training is the exactness. Your dog will know exactly why they are rewarded. If you are not using a clicker, the dog might be confused by what exactly they are being rewarded for.

For example, if you are teaching your dog to lay on the ground, it is hard to give them a treat while their belly touches the ground. They might start thinking that they are being rewarded for getting up from the floor and walking towards you. The clicker will indicate the exact moment your dog’s body touches the ground.

retrieving training

Click vs. praise

Clicker training is a lot more precise than praise. Praise is usually used a lot more often than a clicker, and it is not specific for the exact moment. Your dog can easily get confused about why they are being praised when they are clearly not training.

The clicker training method is not that loose. It is used specifically for training, and you wouldn’t want it any differently. Praising and cuddling your dog is one of the best things about dog ownership, and training shouldn’t spark any confusion. Luckily, the clicker will prevent that from happening.

Benefits dogs get from clicker training

We cannot stress enough how much clarity and preciseness help your dog in training. Studies suggest that dogs that have been clicker-trained love learning new things. Scientists concluded that clicker-trained dogs are eager to please their owners and work hard to earn the magic click. Mind you, the study says that using a sound or visual cue makes the same effect, and the preciseness gives the advantage.

Do you know how service dogs are trained? Check out this article - Service Dog Training.

Getting started

To effectively use the clicker training method, you need to create a direct link in your dog’s brain. That means that a click is a sign of a coming treat. You should start with 20 repetitions and see how your dog reacts when they hear the clicking sound. If they expect the treat, that means that the link was created.

yorkie during clicker training

You can start clicking when your dog does something you want them to do. You can lure them into doing a specific task like making them lay down by luring them with a treat. When their belly touches the ground, you click. You can also make them sit by gently pushing their rear to the floor, and when it touches the ground, you click again. Make sure you don’t forget the treat every time you click!

Clicker training is excellent for teaching your dog complex behavior. Take it step-by-step and click in the exact moment each of the steps is done successfully.

In short

Clicker training might seem hard before you learn what it exactly is. It is one of the most effective training methods if done correctly. You can use different sounds or visual cues that can replace the clicker. If done correctly, your dog will achieve great results very fast.

If you are interested in getting a clicker for training, you can check the Downtown Pet Supply Clicker.

World Dog Finder team

World Dog Finder Logo