What Is Clicker Training? (Advantages, Exercises and Tips)
Training a dog can be other dogs and it's quite possible that it takes many attempts: your patience will be put to the test. However, we have the perfect solution for you: clicker training. This method makes training a breeze!
Clicker training is the solution for many owners.
Clickers are one of the most versatile training tools out there for dogs.
This is what makes the clicker such a godsend for new dog owners.
This form of training is not only particularly effective. It is also much more fun than conventional exercises.
Whether basic training, tricks, bite inhibition or Leash training: the method is suitable for any type of training.
And best of all, clicker training is based on a simple principle and can be implemented by anyone.
Get your clicker ready because you're about to read the definitive guide on clicker training.
What Is Clicker Training?
This method can improve normal dog training. You show your pet by clicking sounds to indicate they are doing something right at that moemnt
With clicker training, your dog will understand why they are being rewarded for, which will prompt them to repeat the desired behavior.
In recent years, behavioral research in dogs has become more important. Studies showed that animals learn better when they are rewarded for correct behavior.
Dogs Learn Better With Rewards
Punishment, of course, also has a learning effect. However, it is by far not as effective as learning through reward.
Your dog no longer enjoys training if they are constantly punished and uncomfortable. As a result, they grow to hate training, even.
Moreover, they only learn to avoid doing what you're trying to teach them. This is an awful mistake that'll make a puppy untrainable in the future.
So, to teach your pet, you should resort to the treat method.
This is probably nothing new for you. Most dog owners praise their pets and train them with this method.
Dogs learn very quickly. They notice that something good comes out of a certain behavior. That's why they repeat the rewarded behavior. After all, they hope for more of the same.
Associate the Reward With the Action
Remember to take these tips into account! there should not be too much time between the desired behavior and the reward. Your dog won't be able to associate these two things.
If the reinforcement happens as soon as possible, the learning effect is much greater.
And here lies the problem with conventional training. Should your dog walk next to you without pulling on the leash?
You would have to praise them at the exact moment they are next to you. But that is not so easy. And until you have given them a treat, important time passes again.
How to Use a Clicker for Dog Training
To show your dog they are doing something right, use the clicker right away. These are simple devices where a click sound is produced by pressing a button.
This click is loud enough that your dog can easily hear it. It stands out clearly from the ambient noise, so they'll always recognize it.
Now, when your pelt shows correct behavior, you simply press the clicker.
So the sound is heard at exactly the right moment. Then you give away a treat. After a while, your pet will associate the click with the reward.
Due to the conditioning effect, the click alone has almost the same effect as a treat. So your pet always knows why the reward: the behavior they showed at the time of the click.
A clicker device is not absolutely necessary for this method. Self-generated sounds such as a whistle or a specific word can have exactly the same effect.
However, make sure that you do not use the word in everyday life.
5 Advantages of Clicker Training
1) Clicker Training Is Extremely Effective
Your dog should associate the reward with their behavior. By clicking this connection can now still faster and more precise be built up.
After all, they now know at that very moment that they've done something right. So what has been learned can be implemented much better.
This method also promotes problem-solving skills. They will try a lot of new things to hear the clicking sound again. This will make them more creative and learn faster.
2) Exercises Are Easier to Learn
With conventional methods it is often not possible to teach more difficult exercises or tricks. Clicker training, on the other hand, is suitable for all forms of exercises.
Even complicated things can be practiced with a little patience. Clickers are therefore used in training police dogs or practicing tricks on zoo animals.
3) You Can Use Clickers for Any Dog
In clicker training there is no age limit. Older dogs can learn tricks with the clicker just like puppies. Dog breeds that are not considered particularly capable of learning, can benefit from this special training. Especially for more difficult cases, the method is suitable.
4) There Are No Punishments
A very big advantage is that during training no penalties are necessary at all. This promotes learning progress. Your protégé now has no longer afraid of doing something wrong. It will even creative and try more.
No physical contact is required. So even fearful or shy dogs can be trained. Trust can be built up much better this way.
5) It's a Fun Training Method
And now the most important thing: clicker training is just fun.
Not only you, but also your dog will like this method very much. They will realize they can earn treats very easily. Thus, they'll get better and better at it, reinforcing the behavior.
After only a short time, your dog will strive to hear this sound more and more often. The exercises are varied and are more reminiscent of games than training.
5 Tips and Tricks for Clicker Training
Did you get interested in clicker training? Or are you looking for some improvements for your exercises?
Then here are some tips to make your workout even more effective:
1) Get Used to the Clicker Before Training
This strange clicking sound is still completely new for your dog at first. They don't know what to do with it yet, it's just a another sound. They won't pay much attention to the device during the first exercises, it's common.
They must associate the clicker with the reward right from the start. Therefore, use the clicker before the actual training.
Even without exercises, you can press the clicker and reward your dog immediately afterwards. If you do this often enough, they will quickly combine the two.
2) Be Consistent About Clicker Training
If you want your dog to learn an exercise quickly, lots of rewards will help. If they are only reinforced for a certain behavior from time to time, he won't associate the clicker with actions.
That's why you can happily use the clicker up to 15 times a minute when practicing something new.
But make sure that the exercise session is not too long. Your pet must be able to concentrate.
3) Reward Your Dog After Clicking
Every time you're using the clicker, you're essentially telling your dog they've won a treat. If you click without rewarding them, they'll be very disappointed. By doing this, the association between clicker and treat will gradually diminish over time. Eventually, clicker training will be pointless, so be careful when you click!
That's why every time you click, you have to keep your promise and reward your pet.
4) Start Simple
If you want to teach your dog certain things, always start small.
Your pet needs to get used to this new type of training, just like you. Take it slow and start with very simple exercises. A dog can't learn challenging activities if they haven't mastered basic ones yet. Don't rush it!
5) Don't Scold Them!
In this training method, you take a passive role and only react to your dog. If they do something well, you click. If they don't, they don't get a reward. That's it.
You should not show them what to do. They have to find it out. After some training, your pet will associate the clicker with treats, so they can only be creative if they see you with a clicker.
With several attempts, your pet will now notice for themselves what to do. This promotes their creativity while also increasing how much fun they have with you.
3 Exercises for Beginners
For beginners at clicker training, it's important to start with simple exercises first. These can also be very funny and a lot of fun for both of you.
The exercises presented here should be understood as suggestions. You can always modify them or think of a similar activity.
1) Control Their Impulses
This exercise is best done with two people. One operates the clicker, the other holds their hands outstretched towards the dog. One holds a treat, the other is empty.
Clench your fists so as to not let your dog see where's the treat. They can't see it, but they can for sure smell it. That's why he will only pay attention to the hand with the food unless you train them.
The difficulty in this exercise is that your dog must touch the empty hand with his muzzle.
Your pet won't get a treat unless they ignore the hand in which you placed the treat. Naturally, you can't explain this, but rather show it to them with the clicker.
Every time your dog takes their eyes off the hand with the treat for a moment, use the clicker and reward them.
Wait for your dog to look at your empty hand before giving them a treat. When they've finally mastered this step, reward them only when they get closer to that hand.
You'll be amazed at how quickly your dog understands the "don't eat yet" principle.
2) Target Stick Training
A target stick is a long object that you want your dog to touch with the tip of their muzzle.
Use a pointer, a stick or a flyswatter as a stick. Do note that the tip must stand out from the rest of the object. For example, by its color or shape.
At the beginning, only you reward your dog every time they take an interest in the stick. The next click comes when they get closer to the stick. After a while, only give away treats when they actually touch the stick.
After successfully mastering target stick training, you con move on to other interesting types of training, like Leash training or trick training, among others.
You can also use different objects as a target stick again and again. This way, your dog has to adapt to the object every time.
3) Keep up the Challenge!
If you both have some experience with clicker training, you can try many different exercises. Nothing stands in the way of your creativity!
For example, your puppy can learn how to poke, push and fetch objects.
You can also teach your dog how to place boxes and other thingss
Many toys can serve as "puzzles" for your dog. These do not even have to be directly suitable for quadrupeds. You can make do with normal children's even.
Despite unheard for many, another fun hobby would be skateboarding. Nevertheless, this is not a suitable activity for all dogs. Any puppy can learn this as long as they are not afraid of skateboards. In fact, smaller breeds learn how to skate way faster.
Parkour is another activity you can do with your dog in tow. You'll have to guide your pet through while they avoid or make use of various obstacle in the way.
Clicker training is a wonderful tool to raise your dog properly. It offers a myriad of possibilities.
Basic training, leash handling and other tricks can be practiced via clicker training. Your creativity is given free rein, as well as that of your dog.
Clicker training improves the success of training. It is also a lot of fun. You'll see your relationship with your dog grow immensely, even if they're shy or fearful.
It's advisable to practice with the clicker before the actual training. Click only at the right time. Your dog needs to understand the connection between the "click" and the reward.
Once you're both used to the clicker, you're ready to go. Try to step up the difficulty with lots of new exercises!
Remember that licker training doesn't have to be a strict training method. It can also be a game both you and your dog can enjoy..