Training your dog with a Clicker

dog training clicker

Training a dog using a  dog clicker can be a very effective method to speed up your dogs training overall. It does require some work at the beginning to train the dog and yourself but the rewards are great once it is mastered.

So firstly, what is a dog clicker? I clicker is something that makes a sharp snapping noise that is very distinctive and when paired with a treat, which must always be the case, grabs the attention of your dog instantly. You dog will very easily be able to identify the behaviour that lead to him or her being rewarded with a treat.

Using the clicker is all about forming good habits. You see good behaviour you click and treat. If the dog does anything at all that is positive, e.g. your puppy pees on the pee mat, or sits when told or comes when her name is called. The more that this behaviour is highlighted and rewarded the more common it will become to eventually your dog does not need to be told to heel, or where to pee or called a second or third or fiftieth time.

There are, however, a few common mistakes that many dog owners make when using a dog training clicker.

Tips on using a Dog Training Clicker

Always follow the dog training clicker with a treat.

You must use the clicker together with treats. Always follow the clicker with a treat, especially in the early stages when training with the dog.

Don’t completely depend on the clicker.

Back up the clicker with vocal rewards and love. Tell your dog he or she was very good for what ever they just did. You will not always have the clicker and dependence on any product to be able to train the dog is not good. Using vocal communication with the dog will also allow you to convey tone. Limit the use of the clicker to specific and structured situations, that way your dog knows when its training (lots of play and treats) time.

Phase out the dog training clicker in the long term.

The clicker and the use of it is not meant to be long term. You want to use the clicker for the initial stages of learning new things with your dog. It can be the first year or it can take longer, but once your dog has mastered the basic commands its time to start phasing out the clicker.

Common Mistakes

Never use the dog training clicker to get the dogs attention.

Using the clicker to get the dogs attention to often can lead to the dog becoming hesitant to be attentive to the clicker and eventually begin ignoring the clicks altogether.

Ensure your dog is calm and not too excited.

Your dog needs to be calm and attentive to you. If the dog is over excited progress will be slow simply because the dog will not give you it’s attention and you will not be able to re-enforce positive behavior.

Don’t completely depend on the clicker.

Back up the clicker with vocal rewards and love. Tell your dog he or she was very good for what ever they just did. You will not always have the clicker and dependence on any product to be able to train the dog is not good. Using vocal communication with the dog will also allow you to convey tone. Limit the use of the clicker to specific and structured situations, that way your dog knows when its training (lots of play and treats) time.

 

Post Page – Disclaimer 😉

After this post was written on clickers I came across a science paper conducted by Although clickers appear to be great in theory and perhaps your dog’s style of learning would suit the use of a clicker although we must present an unbiased view. 

A recent study has shown that surprising dogs trained using just words and just treats are just as successful as training using a clicker. A study of 54 dogs by a Cincenatti University revealed that there was no real difference at all between the three methods.’

“Although we should be cautious in drawing any strong conclusion from statistically non-significant results, our study is consistent with previous works conducted in different laboratories with both dogs and horses… which, taken together, point toward no advantage in favor of the shaping method using one acoustic signal over another.”

One main point that appeared to be addressed is that words and the use of a clicker fall into what we would call a secondary re-enforcer. At the end of the day a secondary re-enforcer only serves to predict a primary re-enforcer (i.e. food).