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Clicker for Dogs

 
By Josie F. Turner, Journalist specialized in Animal Welfare. Updated: February 22, 2018
Clicker for Dogs

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How many times have you wished you could ask your pet: "What did you just do?" Developing communication between you and your dog is a beautiful and exciting process. Although for some owners, it is very frustrating as they do not get results.

The basis of all communication is affection and patience, although it is also useful to understand how our pet thinks. However, today we will explain the use of a very interesting tool to improve communication with our pet. And, of course, to reinforce their training.

Keep reading as we now present to you, the clicker for dogs and everything you need know about it.

You may also be interested in: Best Techniques for Dog Training

What is a clicker?

The clicker is a small button that emits a sound. Said in a more mundane way, it is a small box with a button that clicks when you press it. Hence the name.

But what's the clicker for? The clicker is a behavior enhancer. The goal is that every time the dog hears the "click", they understand that they did something well. We will be able to tell our pet: "hey, youjust did that very well!"

This method of positive reinforcement helps us in two ways. On the one hand, it can be a substitute for treats and on the other, we can reward spontaneous behavior in our dog.


Imagine that you are in the park. Your dog is loose and a few meters from you. Suddenly, a puppy appears jumping on top of your pet because he wants to play. Your dog sits and patiently holds the little one. You have noticed that detail and you want to say "well done! You behaved so well!"

Even if you ran out to give them a treat, it would be too late. Your pet would not understand the message. If in that situation you had a clicker, you would only have to press the button to reward them.

Hopefully now you have been introduced to the posibilites of clicker training, Also, with the use of this tool you will improve communication with your pet. It will help you understand each other better. Of course, never forget that the best relationship you can have with a dog is based on affection.

Clicker for Dogs - What is a clicker?

Advantages of clicker training

Clicker training presents many advantages that you should keep in mind if you still have doubts about its use. One of the most remarkable is that through this method, the dog learns to pursue a purpose, not out of habit. In this way, learning lasts longer because the dog is aware of the behavior and the action he is doing. As well as this, the following points stand out:

  • Simple: its handling is very easy to understand.
  • Creativity: facilitating communication between your dog and you will make teaching tricks much easier. Let your imagination fly and have fun teaching your pet commands.
  • Stimulus: This type of learning makes your dog more motivated and alert. it promotes its development.
  • Concentration: Food is a great enhancer, but sometimes our dog is too aware of it and does not pay attention to the command. With the clicker, there is no such problem.
  • Medium distance reinforcement: You can reward actions without your pet being at your side.

Disadvantages of clicker training

Actually, clicker training has no disadvantages when done correctly.However, some people areoverly enthusiastic about the initial results (and with the ease in which theyare achieved), that they do not deepen the training.

You have to be aware that the reliability and fluidity of your dog's behavior are long-term goals; both in the clicker training and in the traditional canine training.

Clicker for Dogs - Disadvantages of clicker training

The clicker load

We are not referring to putting batteries to the device. The clicker load is nothing more than the process of exercises we must perform with our dog, so that they associate the sound of the click with a reward.

The basic exercise of loading is to make the "click" sound and immediately after, give a treat to your dog. It is important that before commencing clicker training that you verify the load has been done correctly and if your dog is understanding how the clicker works.

Clicker for Dogs - The clicker load

Examples of clicker training

Let's imagine that we want to teach our pet to pretend to cry or be sad. Or train him to cover his face with his paw.

Follow this step by step:

1.Choose a word to which you want to assign that command. Remember that it must be a word that your dog does not usually hear.

2.We put something on the snout of your dog that catches your attention. For example, a post-it.

3.When we see that they raise their paw to take it away, we say the chosen word ( "sad" for example).

4.Just after you've done it click the clicker.

5.Although in principle the dog should follow your instructions with the clicker. It is good to use small treats when we start with a new command. This way you will not forget it for sure.

As you can see, this is a very fast exercise. If we did this with dig treats, it would be more complicated. We would lose that speed and it would be more difficult for our pet to understand us.

Clicker for Dogs - Examples of clicker training

Facts and myths about clicker training

You can teach an exercise to your dog without even touching it: true.

With clicker training you can teach exercises without having to touch your dog or put on a leash.

You can train your dog perfectly without them ever wearing a collar or a leash: a lie.

Although you can teach the exercises without having to attach a leash to your dog, you will need a collar and a leash to generalize the learning.

This is necessary when you begin to practice the exercises in places where there are many distractions, such as the street or a park.

Anyway, the collar and strap are only used as safety measures to prevent your dog from walking or running into dangerous areas, such as an avenue. They are not used as corrective or punitive elements.


You will have to reward your dog with food forever: lie.

You can gradually cut out food rewards through a variable reinforcement program. Or, better yet, by using daily life reinforcers.


An old dog can learn new tricks by using clicker training: Truth.

It does not matter how old your dog is. Both old dogs and puppies can learn from this technique. The only requirement is that your dog has the strength to follow a training program.

Incorrect use of the clicker

Some trainers have the idea that the clicker is a kind of magic box that works without giving food or games to the dog. These trainers have the habit of clicking several times without giving any reinforcer.

So in your training sessions you hear a lot of "click-click-click-click-click", but you do not see much reinforcement.

By doing this, the coaches nullify the value of the clicker, since it does not serve to reinforce the behaviors of the dog. In addition, they are harmed when managing a tool that does not serve them because they misuse it. At best, this is a useless procedure that bothers but does not damage training. In the worst case, the trainer focuses on the tool rather than on training and does not progress.

Clicker for Dogs - Facts and myths about clicker training

What if I don't have a clicker?

The clicker is very useful. But it is not a necessity. If you do not have a clicker, you can replace it by making a clicking sound verbally or using a short word.

If you decide to use a short word, you must choose one that you do not use frequently. Also, you must pronounce it quickly to make it a good marker.

The sound you use instead of the click must be different from the commands of canine obedience. If you use "Ok", you should avoid using the word "Here" to call your dog. If you use "k" (pronounce the letter k), you should avoid using "Here" to call your dog. If you use "yes", you should avoid using "Sit" to ask your dog to sit down.

If you want to read more articles similar to Clicker for dogs - Everything you need to know , we recommend you to enter our section of Basic Education.

If you want to read similar articles to Clicker for Dogs, we recommend you visit our Basic education category.

Tips
  • Press the clicker once for each action.
  • Never use it just to gain their attention. The positive reinforcement element will be lost.
  • The time between a completed action and sound should be very short, otherwise you will confuse your dog.

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