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Clicker dog training: Fun and effective!
Dog clicker training tips
- A Guide to Getting Started With Clicker Dog Training
What is clicker dog training? What are the benefits of clicker training? How to clicker train a dog? How to encourage good behaviors? Tips from professionals to remember during clicker training.
Clicker dog training
While owners and trainers still debate over whether this method is the most effective one for training your dog, do your own research and make up your mind.
Training your dog is a very important thing, whether it is just potty or house training, making your dog do complex tricks, or special training. That’s why it is best to do it yourself as an owner. But, to do this, you will have to know a few things about training. If you are a first time dog owner, start with the basics, by making yourself the leader and having all the authority. After that, you should decide which method you would use for training your dog.
If you are thinking about clicker dog training, you should know that it is one of the most effective methods of training. This method implies using positive reinforcement as encouragement method and, after a while, your best buddy will start to associate the clicking sound with getting praise or even better, a treat. Praise and treats are what actually drives your dog to behave the way you want him to behave. The clicker serves just as a reminder for the treats and the praise.
This may be the most humane type of training and be sure that your buddy will like it the most! Opposed to trainings that use physical punishments, or bad language and harsh commands, there are far better results if positive reinforcement is used, like in the clicker training.
There are many benefits from clicker training, like building confidence in your dog, strengthening the bond with your dog, encouraging creativity and initiative in your dog and so on. Using this technique will make your best buddy feel confident and not afraid of making mistakes. He will know that the worst that can happen if he makes a mistake is just not getting his treat, unlike with other harsh teaching trainings, that use physical punishment. You won’t have to worry about causing stress and fear in your dog, while using this method.
Spending time with your pet is very important and it strengthens your bond, especially the time spent during training. Make sure to use positive reinforcement, because this way you will encourage your dog to trust you. When a dog starts to trust you and is not afraid or stressed from the training, making you happy will be his number one priority. When you finally manage to gain your dog’s trust, what follows will be fun and games.
Why this method?
Some trainers and owners will tell you that clicker training takes a lot of time and effort, while actually there are studies that say that it’s one of the most efficient ways and equally fast as other methods. The nice thing about this type of training is that it should be done in short, but frequent sessions. This way anyone can find the time to do it.
When it comes to training your dog, there is always a chance of human error. For example, if you train your dog by using verbal commands, it will only work if you use them right. You will have to use the right word, the right tone when commanding your dog. With clicker training, there is no chance of not getting it right.
Encouraging good behaviors!
There are several ways to encourage good behavior in your dog; the most common ones are shaping, catching and luring.
The catching method is the easiest even for beginners. The point of this method is to catch your dog doing something right, for example lying down, then clicking the clicker and giving him a treat. After few times, your dog will start to associate the behavior (lying down) with the click and the treat, and will gladly do it after hearing the click.
Another method is shaping; this is a bit more advanced and it is advised to use it later on in the clicker training. This type of training is used for example when you want to teach your dog to fetch something for you. You might have to use several clicks and treats while training your dog this way.
There is a method that is used for teaching your dog commands like lying down or following your movement and it one is called luring. For example, you will use a treat to make him follow your hand (treat) with his movement (lying down/ following you).
Tips & Tricks
- Use a different clicker for different dogs; meaning, different sound. Dogs need to differentiate the sound of the clicker as their own, otherwise they won’t follow command.
- Never click randomly when you are not training your dog. The most important part of this kind of training is for your dog to associate the click with a reward, so don’t confuse him!
- Timing is essential. Don’t waste time - you need to click immediately when you see the desired behavior in your dog.
- No distractions! At least in the beginning of the training, make sure that you find a spot where there will be no distractions for your dog. That means quiet location, where your dog can stay concentrated on you as a trainer and gain trust and confidence in you.
- Short sessions are advised, for more concentration from your dog.
- As a trainer, you should never train your dog when you are in a bad mood. Dogs feel the mood that people have and respond accordingly. Don’t expect for a dog to learn something if he feels that you are not in a good mood.
There are many ways of training your dog, but clicker training has shown to be one of the most effective ones. If you decide on training your dog this way, remember to stay positive and do it with positive reinforcement, if you want to see good results in a short period of time. Otherwise, you will accomplish nothing and neither you nor your dog will be happy.