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

A Quick Explanation of What Clicker Training Really Is

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

Instead of 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, easy to understand core principle of dog psychology: behavior that’s positively reinforced (rewarded) is more prone to be repeated, while behavior that’s not reinforced (ignored) is less inclined to be repeated.

Clicker training involves letting your pet hear an audible click at the precise moment he is doing what you would like, then immediately giving your dog a delicacy 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. Essentially, the clicker tells your dog which particular behavior you want, and that he’ll receive a treat when he does it. Additionally you use verbal commands and/or hand signals as long as you’re having your pet 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 solid association between your commands and the required behavior, performing it reliably every time, the treats may also be phased out.

Instead of punishing undesirable behaviors, clicker training for dogs uses the power 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 can be used to teach your dog just about 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 an abrupt, audible click once you press its small metal button or strip. Dogs have sharp hearing, and several can hear the click from up to 30 yards away. Because the click is distinctive and always sounds identical, it’s impossible for your dog to misinterpret.

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

A Step by Step Guide to Clicker Training for Dogs

Clicker training for dogs is effective with all ages and breeds, including young pups. Training sessions should be short (five minutes or so) to help keep them fun and engaging, but have several every day.

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

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

2. Choose the behavior you want your dog to learn. Let’s use sit as an 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 heading down, in this example), mark the behavior with a click.

4. Reinforce and reward the behavior (sitting) by praising your dog and giving him a treat. Keep 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 obtain the praise and treat.

5. Instill the behavior with repetition. Gradually increase the challenges your dog faces during his training sessions. For example, slowly increase 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 would like him to do and does it reliably, gradually phase out the clicker and treats. Your dog will now sit 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). Show patience and keep practicing.

The Pros and Cons of Clicker Training for Dogs

Clicker training has multiple advantages. It is possible to teach your dog almost anything without resorting to punishment. It’s 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 dog could be more confident because he’ll gain a clear understanding of the behavior you want rather than focusing on avoiding what’s wrong. It’s even effective with pups.

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 that you’re happy when he does.

I know how it usually is tough and time consuming to teach your dog. With patience and consistency it is possible to put an end to all your dog’s “problems” nevertheless, you need to do it the proper way.