clicker training for dogs
Dog clicker training is so much fun for both dogs and people that the training part just slides right off! Dog clicker training makes the dog discover what you want, which makes it a fun game.
This wonderful cruelty-free method is revolutionizing dog training!
Have you already tried it? It’s fairly easy to learn at a basic level, and once you and your dog get into the habit, it can be used for many fun tricks, as well as all the essentials of training. Clickers are inexpensive and widely available at pet stores and online.
Here’s how you can do a short dog clicker training session (and short sessions work best for learning dogs):
1. Has a clicker in hand and some small treats in or near a pocket. Treats can be small pieces of dry dog food, commercial dog treats, small pieces of cheese, or anything you know your dog likes to eat. You’ve chosen what you’re going to train for this session… let’s say sit.
2. Your dog wanders, for whatever reason. It happens that he raises his head, you click the clicker and give him a treat.
3. Now you have their attention. Let’s say she happens to sit down. You immediately click and give her a big “jackpot” gift because she’s done exactly what you want, even though she didn’t know you wanted it.
4. After a few more rewards when he does something that is the behavior you want or part of it, he realizes that yummy treats come when he does certain things. He can offer you a variety of behaviors. He only rewards the ones you want in this context.
5. If he doesn’t sit because he’s too excited about the treats, he could hold a treat up over his head, so far back that he would sit up (or even make a sitting motion) and then he could click on it. Try to click at the very moment it does what you want.
Once he definitely gets the idea that sitting brings a treat (which could be more than one session), you can start using the word “sit” and time him to say it just before he thinks he’s about to sit. You still sit because in your mind sitting and treats are connected, but after you’ve heard the word ‘sit’ in that context enough times, you’ll get the idea.
This is exactly how I trained my Basenji to sit the first week we had her as a puppy. It was my first time training a dog to sit without endlessly pushing his butt off, and he got me hooked on dog clicker training!
Clicker training is a relatively new method of working with dogs. Dolphin trainer Karen Pryor began using the process with dogs. Its popularity has spread rapidly as its effectiveness has been proven: with young puppies, with “problem dogs”, with countless dogs in a wide variety of situations. It is solidly based on scientific principles of how animals learn.