How do you start clicker training a dog?

How can a dog be trained with a clicker for beginners? Clicker training is a common way to provide dogs positive reinforcement. A little device that trainers press for a click whenever the dog exhibits the desired behavior is used in this straightforward and efficient training technique. Saying "good dog" is much slower and less clear than clicking, and training with only goodies is far less effective.

How does clicker training work?

Dog clicker training

A clicker is used during clicker training to "mark" the intended behavior. You don't need to give a food treat and a toy every time your dog exhibits desirable behavior because the sound of all clicks is regarded as a reward for the dog. Dogs try to mimic the actions that produce the clicks after associating them with positive results.

A clicker could make it much simpler to educate a dog to carry out the trick or retain the position you're expecting while going over an instruction with them for the first few times. It is simple for the dog to grasp exactly what is desired when it hears a click at the precise instant it complies. A clicker can aid with posture and how effectively a dog follows instructions as well as teaching new commands.

Why use clicker training?

Dog clicker training

A dog who exhibits a desired behavior is rewarded with positive reinforcement training. It might be clear to the trainer what is being rewarded without the aid of a clicker and other markers, but is it clear to the dog? How can you make it plain to a dog that you are praising its belly being on the ground, for instance, when teaching it to lie down? Make sure the dog receives the prize while lying down instead of rising up to receive it. If not, the dog might believe that the incentive is getting up or approaching you. With food treats, that is simple, but it is impossible if the prize is a game of fetch or tug.

What about dogs that immediately get back up after touching the ground? You simply cannot deliver the reward to them quickly enough. What about more difficult behaviors, such as those carried out at a distance? How can you train your dog to leap through a hoop just as it is about to pass through it? That is where the click and other markers' strengths are useful. The click bridges the time lag between the time you get the reward and when it really happens. Your dog is well aware of the proper course of action.

But why not just utilize compliments in a similar way? You might, but it wouldn't be as obvious. You frequently use praise when speaking to your dog. In fact, it's a great way to give your dog praise. Furthermore, praise is not tailored specifically to the context of training, nor should you want it to be. Part of the fun of owning a dog is gushing over it. The use of a clicker or another training-specific signal eliminates any uncertainty regarding the forthcoming reward.

Clarity is a benefit, but clicker-trained dogs also frequently like learning. To get a click, they want to put in the effort and training. Mark or reward training turns teaching new behaviours into a game from your dog's perspective. It also relieves the trainer of some pressure. By keeping an eye out for clickable times, you may encourage your dog to make wise decisions rather than focus on poor ones. Clicker training improves communication, strengthens your relationship with the dog, and makes training enjoyable, just like any other positive reinforcement training method.

Clicker training for dogs

Dogs training

You must first instruct the dog on the purpose of the marker before using a clicker or another type of marker. By combining the chosen marker with a reward, sometimes known as "loading the clicker," you can achieve your goal. So click, then start treating right now. Your dog will learn that the marking signals an impending reward after roughly 10–20 trials. You are now prepared to use the clicker in practice.

With lure-and-reward training, one can use your marker to entice your dog to exhibit the desired behavior. However, it's also helpful for influencing behavior. Shaping is the process of gradually constructing complex behaviors. The clicker was a fantastic tool for documenting good behavior. Therefore, click after noticing your dog sleeping calmly on a mat rather than begging at the table. Alternatively, if your dog is on the floor with all four paws as the doorbell rings, you can click at that time to prevent your dog from jumping up on visitors. Not to mention, using a clicker is a fantastic method for teaching tricks.

You won't require the marker any more once your dog has mastered the new behavior. After all, it's just a tool for instruction. However, the clicker and other markers can help you and your dog communicate effectively so that you receive the behavior you desire when you want to entice, mold, or catch it.

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