Clicker Training Tips

Last updated October 14, 2007

Clicker training is a form of reward based, highly motivational training method to obtain the types of behaviors you want in your dog. So effective is this method that many dog trainers have started to run training classes using exclusively just clickers. In clicker training, whenever your dog has done something right, you will click the clicker and reward it for any positive behavior. So instead of pointing out what your dog does wrong, it tells her what’s she’s done right.

Although clicker training is currently in trend, it’s hardly new. Long before clickers found their way into dog obedience classes, they were used to train other types of animals.

Well, a lot of people who are not familiar with clickers have certain misconceptions about using clickers as part of their dogs’ training regime. Here are some of the more common misconceptions you may hear frequently.

My voice is better
Don’t kid yourself. It’s virtually impossible to maintain the same consistent tone & timing in delivering your praises for a dog’s good behavior. Your dog will be hard pressed to figure out what you are praising. The clicker’s unchanging sound and spilt-second timing ensure that your dog understand which behavior you are trying to pinpoint at.

The clicker is like a “remote controller”
The fact is that the clicker is only used as a complementary tool to help teach your dog precisely what you want, or to help refine a particular behavior. Once a behavior is learned and named, the clicker is no longer required.

I have more than enough equipment to handle
Even though trying to juggle all the trappings like bait bag, leash, squeaky toys and food can be a challenge for you. And with the addition of the clicker, it only seems to make the task more impossible. In actual fact, most clickers have little tabs that can be secure to a rubber band and let them dangle from your wrist. There are also retractable clicker holders that can be clip on to your belt or waistband for easy access.

Other people’s clicking may confuse my dog
Anyone who has clicker-trained a dog for a period of time understands that dogs quickly learn how to distinguish their clicks from those given to others. The sight of you or others taking out a clicker normally rouse excitement in those dogs that are present, but do not mistaken these reactions as confusions. Rather, they’re excited at the opportunity of training with it.

Over-reliant on a piece of equipment
The most important thing about clicker training is not the clicker itself, you can actually substituted it wit ha ballpoint pen or even a cluck with your tongue. It’s the working relationship it symbolizes. In a clicker training program, your dog is an active participant which in turn encourages her to be creative and think for herself.

As you consider clicker training, you will come across some people who don’t believe in it and will object to you using it, for a variety of reasons. That’s alright as many of these trainers have been training with their own methods for many years, even decades and it’s difficult for them to suddenly acknowledge or embrace new training methods.

Clicker training is liken to some sort of doggie Montessori which stresses on developing a dog’s creativity and individuality and it sort of becomes an addictive sport for dogs, similar to crossword puzzles for you. Clicker trained dogs normally operate in a state of elation that you don’t see in traditionally trained dogs.

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