Clicker training for dogs is a popular method of training dogs in various action cues and also changing behaviors like how dogs react under different situations and circumstances.
In clicker training, you need to make an association with the sound of click along with the treatment that you offer to your dog.
How Clicker Training Is Easier and More Efficient?
Clicker training for dogs is a form of positive reinforcement training.
In this training, you need to pay the most attention to when you make that sound of a click.
The timing of the click is essential and each and every click must be followed by a reward.
The purpose of the click is to make your dog believe that what they did was the right action and that is what you desire from them. Why does a dog respond to rewards? Let’s find out.
- Dogs have a habit of repeating the actions which give them rewards. This is what is known as positive reinforcement training in which you reward your dog when they behave the way you want them to behave.
- Start with very basic things, like asking your dog for his paw, if he agrees, you reward them. This will make your dog believe that this particular act will make me earn rewards so he will continue doing the same.
This article is about Clicker training for dogs which is also known as mark and reward training.
In this training, you are supposed to use a tool known as a clicker. It can make positive reinforcement training efficient.
After multiple sessions of training, your dog becomes accustomed to it. In the clicker training, the sound of the click becomes a reinforcer for good behavior.
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What Is Clicker Training?
- The tool used is a clicker, a small noisemaker that makes the sound of a click.
- A positive approach to train.
- Timings of the click are the most essential aspect of this training.
In Clicker training for dogs, we use a tool called a clicker. A clicker is a very small noisemaker that makes an appropriately loud sound of a click.
Animal behavior is in such a sense that they tend to repeat the behaviors which make them earn rewards.
This is a positive approach as in this training, you do not focus on what your dog is doing wrong, but rather on what they are doing right.
Here, you do not pay attention to their mistakes, but you appreciate the good behavior and do not take them for granted.
It is an indirect way to tell your dog what to do instead of what not to do. This approach is incredibly helpful as it can control your dog’s behavior.
The clicker should be pressed at the right time as it will tell your dog exactly what behavior is appreciated.
It eliminates the guesswork and makes sure that your dog understands what is rewarding and what is not. For eg- You can click right at the moment your dog sits while training them to sit.
What Does the Click Signify?
- The purpose of the click is to mark a moment.
- Nothing magical and extraordinary about the sound of the click.
- Don’t press the clicker unnecessarily.
The purpose of the click is to mark a particular moment. It signifies that the moment there was the sound of a click, that particular act was appreciated.
There is nothing magical and extraordinary about the sound of the click except for the purpose mentioned above.
If you are planning to go for clicker training for your dog or if you are already giving this training to your dog, you need to make sure that the only time your dog hears that sound of the click is during the training and never unnecessarily.
The dog needs to understand that this exact sound of the click is different from any other noise and he must understand its significance.
Is the Clicker Essential?
- Any other sound like finger-snapping or a whistle would do.
- In the case of deaf dogs, a beam of light is a good way.
- The sound of the click shall always be accompanied by rewards.
Though the name is clicker training which comes from the tool this training requires, the clicker however is not an essential part of this training. Strange, no?
Yes, though the training gets its name from that tool, the tool is not as essential as you might think.
As explained above, the significance of the clicker is just to make a unique sound.
If you can make that sound by any other means, it is perfectly fine. For example- in the place of a click, you can snap your fingers or maybe use a whistle or simply use the word yes or yay or wow.
In the case of deaf dogs, none of it would work. But it does not mean that deaf dogs can not undergo clicker training.
In the case of deaf dogs, you can use laser light or any gesture that they could see.
No matter whatever sound or way you use to make it unique, it is all useless until it is accompanied by a reward. You need to reward your dog every time you click.
Dogs are foodies, so the best reward is to give them something edible. The reward is supposed to be anything that your dog in particular loves.
If your dog is more into toys than food, go for toys. Customize the rewards according to your dog because remember, just like humans, every dog is different.
The most important thing is timing. Make the sound of the click at the correct moments and the sound must be followed by a reward. Never forget the reward, that is what this training is all about.
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How Does the Clicker Training Work?
- You might have doubts like, ‘That is what I do all the time when my dog does something good but there is a humongous difference between doing something just for the sake of doing it and including it as a part of the training.
- For example- One day you might say wow, the other day you pat them, and the next day you do something else, the human brain can comprehend that but how is your dog supposed to understand that? Dogs don’t speak the same language as humans. There is no consistency in your appreciation and the way you are appreciating them.
- Also, for example, if you ask your dog to sit, the dog can sit on the floor in multiple ways, how is your dog supposed to know the perfect way to sit? For this, you need to use the clicker appropriately at the time when your dog is sitting in a perfect position. This way your dog will know that sitting means this position.
- Make sure that you give a reward to your dog at the time while he is still sitting. If you give them a reward while they walk back to you, they will think that reward is for coming back to you. It can be a whole lot of confusion.
- While training a dog, you need to teach them a million things, like where to poop, how to poop, when to sit, stand, run, walk, and sometimes even some advanced things like jumping through a hoop.
- In such cases, teach them in a basic manner but use a clicker as a supplementary tool. The moment they are doing it perfectly, use a clicker. This way the dog will know what the right action was.
- People prefer praising but praising can not be consistent and the same every day. Besides, it’s hard to say the exact same word right at the moment. Praising works upon communication and it is not a perfect way when it comes to training.
- Communication is something that goes on between you and your dog on a daily basis. So communication won’t make much difference when it comes to training. Clicker training has to be something different than the usual that your dog hears every day, only then it will be significant.
- Also, it simplifies the training as you don’t need to remember what you did yesterday. Studies show that clicker-trained dogs love to learn even in later periods of their lives. They love to learn new skills just to earn a click. It makes the whole training process interesting for them. They feel like they are playing a game and enjoy it to the full.
Even for the trainers, clicker training is comparatively easy as dogs are very supportive and eager to learn in this form of training.
It makes the training fun and joyous and you, at the end of the day, develop a healthy good relationship with effective communication with your dog.
Out of a million ways and forms of training that are available for dogs, the clicker has proved itself to be really efficient.
You need to train your dog, never take this aspect of being a dog parent lightly. If you don’t train your dogs, you will encounter problems in the future.
They might bark and bite the guests and they might poop or urinate anywhere in the house. These are only a few problems to mention.
Use whatever form of training you find easy or take professional help if needed but try clicker training once and surely you won’t regret it.