Using a Clicker in Dog Training
What is a clicker?
We will be using a clicker to train your dog. A clicker is a small device that emits a sound. Your trainer will provide you with a clicker.
Why do we use the clicker?
There are several advantages to using a clicker over just treating or using a voice marker. Studies have shown the clicker to work considerably faster than training without it. This is probably because it is so distinct and succinct and allows you to communicate clearly with your dog. We chatter at our dogs all the time, and since they are not verbal creatures, it can be difficult for them to parse out what is important and what is not. The clicker gets past that. It also offers a way to mark a behavior that is quick and easy to do at the exact moment your dog is doing the behavior.
Another interesting benefit of the clicker is that studies have shown that the noise it produces acts on the amygdala (the part of the brain that tells our brains to start freaking out). It actually has been shown to have calming effects on your dog’s brain, which increases your dog’s ability to learn and comprehend.
How does the clicker work?
The clicker works by being paired with something your dog likes. The most convenient thing to pair the clicker with is food. Because we will pair the two, your dog will have the same physiological reaction to the sound of the click that he/she does to the treat. This means whatever your dog is doing when you click he will have been paid for, and what you pay for you will get again.
When do I Click?
Click when your dog is performing the behavior you want. Do not click at any other time. So if you are clicking for sit, your dog will have his/her bottom on the floor when you click. If the behavior has ended, DO NOT CLICK. Clicking late teaches whatever the dog is doing when you click. If your dog has moved out of position onto something else and you click you are training whatever your dog is doing when he hears the click, which you may not like! It’s better to miss an opportunity to click than it is to click at the wrong time.
Do not click to get your dog’s attention! I know this is tempting, but you are actually paying your dog to ignore you, which means he will ignore you more. Resist the urge to use the clicker for anything other than to mark the behavior you like your dog to do WHILE he is still doing it.
PLEASE NOTE: If you have trouble manipulating the box clicker you receive in class send me a text at (479)252-9510 and I’ll bring a different kind to the next class for you. Please be sure you check with me for it as I am forgetful!