What Does a Dog Clicker Do?
Training your dog may not be as easy as you think. Like humans, dogs have their own personalities and character traits, and some are better learners than others. This is why many owners choose to use a dog clicker to train their pups.
What is a Dog Clicker?
A dog clicker is a small device that you hold in your hand that make a clicking noise when you press it. Clickers can be used to train other animals, such as dolphins. Dog clickers are a positive dog training tool, making them very popular among trainers and pet owners.
What Does a Dog Clicker Do?
Clicker training involves using a unique sound – the click – to tell your dog when they have done the correct task. As the clicking sound is difficult to recreate in normal daily life, it is a very distinct sound that your dog will learn to associate with good behavior and actions.
How Do You Train a Dog with a Clicker?
To start with, you dog needs to be taught to associate the sound of the click with a delicious reward. When your pup obeys a command, such as sitting or lying down, you press the clicker and then immediately give your pooch a reward.
You need to give your dog this instant feedback to reinforce that the choice, action, or behavior that they have just done was good. Your pup will soon learn to associate the clicking sound with something good and will respond quickly each time in the hopes of receiving a reward for the action.
The dog clicker is normally a small device which you hold in your hand. This can be difficult for some dog trainers to use. But, if the dog clicker is placed on your finger or worn on a bracelet around your wrist, you can have easy access to it while leaving your hands free to keep hold of your pup’s leash.
Over time, you may prefer using simple words like “yes” or “good” as a verbal indicator rather than using the clicker. You can do this by saying the word you want while pushing the clicker and giving the treat. This way, your dog will easily make the transition between using the clicker to only using verbal cues.
How Does Training with a Clicker Work?
The usefulness of the clicker will depend entirely on your dog’s ability to learn by association. The clicking sound will mean nothing at the start, but as your pup begins to notice that each click is followed by a tasty treat, they will begin to pay attention to the click. They will start to associate certain behaviors and actions to the click and the treat.
Food is what is known technically as a primary reinforcer. It is primary because a living animal does not need to learn to enjoy the item – they need it to live, so enjoying it is a built-in thing.
A reinforcer is a consequence that encourages and strengthens any behavior that has produced the food item. For example, when you say your dog’s name, you click as soon as they look at you, and follow the click with the treat. The treat then reinforces the behavior of looking at you when called.
Reinforcement training and weight lifting have been compared by Kathy Sdao, the great trainer: Your muscles get stronger the more you practice, and in the same way, the more the good behavior is reinforced, the more regular that behavior becomes.
Rules for Dog Clicker Training
- Only click once
- If you press the clicker, you have to give a treat
- Never point the clicker at your dog – hold it behind your back or at your side
- Do not use the clicker if your dog is scared of the clicking sound
Will You Always Have to Carry the Clicker and Treats?
Training your pup with a clicker is a good way to motivate them to learn new behaviors and actions. But once your dog has learned the behavior or become proficient at the action, you can slowly phase out the clicker. When you are teaching your pooch something new, you can always reintroduce it again.
Teaching your pup good behavior, new tricks, or certain actions doesn’t have to be a frustrating task. Like most living creatures, your dog just needs some motivation and a few rewards to get them going. Using clicker training is an excellent way to do this. It is an easy and cheap solution to creating positive behavior patterns in your pooch.