How 8 Things Will Change The Way You Approach Training For Dogs Is Gentle

There are several dog training techniques, but clicker training is one of the most gentle, effective and fun. Much like any dog training method, repetition, patience, persistence and consistency are the keys to success with clicker training for dogs.

A Quick Explanation of What Clicker Training Really Is

First, it’s important to understand that clicker training works exclusively by way of positive reinforcement. You don’t make any corrections or physically compel your pet to do anything. Punishment, be it scolding your dog or something more physical, is merely not a part of clicker training for dogs.

Rather than using harsh corrections, clicker training’s humane, reward-based techniques train dogs through the use of time-tested psychological principles. Specifically, this scientifically-based training technique capitalizes on a simple, clear to see core principle of dog psychology: behavior that’s positively reinforced (rewarded) is more prone to be repeated, while behavior that is not reinforced (ignored) is less likely to be repeated.

Clicker training involves letting your pet hear an audible click at the complete moment he is doing what you need, then immediately giving your pet a treat to reward that desired behavior. Your pet will soon arrived at love hearing that click and can work to create it happen, because he’ll associate the click with finding a treat. How To House Train A Dog Essentially, the clicker tells your pet which particular behavior you need, and that he’ll get a treat when he does it. You also use verbal commands and/or hand signals as long as you’re having your dog perform the behavior you’re teaching him.

As your dog learns the commands associated with that behavior, you gradually phase out the clicking. And once your dog has formed a good association in the middle of your commands and the desired behavior, performing it reliably every time, the treats can even be phased out.

Rather than punishing undesirable behaviors, clicker training for dogs uses the energy of positive association. You click to mark (identify) the precise behavior you want and then immediately follow it with a reward. Because unwanted actions are ignored (and go unpunished) while desired behaviors are rewarded, clicker training sessions are highly motivating. Clicker training may be used to teach your dog almost anything you want, including traditional obedience commands and tricks.

About the Clicker Itself

The clicker can be an inexpensive, plastic hand-held device. It produces a sudden, audible click when you press its small metal button or strip. Dogs have sharp hearing, and many can hear the click from as much as 30 yards away. Because the click is distinctive and always sounds identical, it’s impossible for the dog to misinterpret.

The click tells your pet that what he could be doing is precisely the behavior you need. It simultaneously pinpoints the desired behavior and gives your dog consistent, immediate positive feedback. In short, the clicker is a tool that pairs the sound of the click with receiving a treat. With repetition, your pet forms a strong mental association between these two otherwise unrelated things. As you only click when your dog does what you want (that you will immediately reward him), he quickly learns that when he hears the click, he’s about to receive a treat.

A Step-by-step Guide to Clicker Training for Dogs

Clicker training for dogs works well with all ages and breeds, including young pups. Workout sessions should be short (5 minutes or so) to keep them fun and engaging, but have several every day.

Follow the seven steps below to use a clicker to successfully train your pet:

1. Teach your dog that the sound of the clicker means he’s going to get a treat and praise. You can do – while your dog is standing calmly, click and immediately give him a treat and praise. He’ll obtain the idea after you do that several times.

2. Choose the behavior you need your dog to learn. Let’s use sit for example. Either wait for him to sit on his own, or coax him to sit with a treat.

3. The instant he begins to execute the desired behavior (his rump starts going down, in this example), mark the behavior with a click.

4. Reinforce and reward the behavior (sitting) by praising your pet and giving him a treat. Keep carefully the treats small but tasty so he’s eager to receive them. He’ll soon start sitting by himself because he really wants to hear the click and get the praise and treat.

5. Instill the behavior with practice. Gradually increase the challenges your pet faces during his training sessions. For example, slowly raise the duration, distance and distractions.

6. Put in a verbal command and/or hand signal to cue your dog to perform the required behavior.

7. Once it’s clear your pet understands what you want him to accomplish and does it reliably, gradually phase out the clicker and treats. Your dog will now take a seat on your verbal command or hand signal.

Remember, clicker training isn’t command-based. If your pet doesn’t react to your verbal command or hand signal, he’s not disobeying you – he just hasn’t learned the cue (yet). Be patient and keep practicing.

The Pros and Cons of Clicker Training for Dogs

Clicker training has multiple advantages. You can teach your dog almost anything without resorting to punishment. It is a positive, stress-free training technique that builds a solid bond between you and your dog rather than causing your pet to fear or be intimidated by you. Your pet will be more confident because he’ll gain a clear understanding of the behavior you want rather than concentrating on avoiding what’s wrong. It’s even effective with young puppies.

Some people aren’t fond of clicker training for dogs since they want their dogs to obey them out of respect, not because they want a treat or they are “brainwashed.” However, there’s no question that training technique is effective. Your pet can do as you ask because you’ve taught him you are happy when he does.

I know how it really is tough and time consuming to teach a dog. With patience and consistency it will be possible to put an end to all your dog’s “problems” but you need to do it the right way.