Clicker Training: What Is Clicker Training for Dogs?

23/06/2022

Clicker Training is a great way to let your dog know that they have done the right thing in that moment. A clicker is perfect to help with new tricks and new behaviors.

Let’s do a deep dive into “clickers” and what “clicker training” is about.

What Is A Clicker?

a mixed breed dog sits in front of a person holding a dog clicker
By Elf at the English-language Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=15582233

A clicker is a tiny little box shaped tool that makes a “click” sound every time you press it. The click sound is a constant sound that makes it easier for the dogs (and humans) to be consistent with their “mark” for good behaviour.

Clickers work because your dog starts to associate the clicking sound with a reward (for most dogs that means a treat).

How Do We Start Clicker Training?

The first step to clicker training is “charging the clicker”. What this simply means is associating the clicking sound with a yummy treat. So all you have to do is “click”, then give your dog a treat, “click”, “treat” a few times. There is no expectation for your dog to perform any cue at all. We are just teaching the relationship between the click meaing somehting good first.

After a few training sessions, start with something easy that your dog already knows. “Sit” is a good one to start with. Ask your dog to “sit”, click the clicker, and then reward your dog with their fav treat. After a few days of practise, start to introduce the cicker with any new trick you want to introduce. “Down” is a great one to try, as is “eye contact”.

Why Is Clicker Training Useful?

golden retriever dog holding a flower in it's mouth

I love clicker training for very precise behaviors when trick training or doing film work with my dogs. It can make it much easier for the dog when the human is struggling with consistency. It is an easy way to let your dog know they have got something right.

Personally, I mostly use verbal markers for every day training with my dogs (as I find it easier than remembering to bring a clicker), but whenever a dog is finding something “new” difficult- the clicker comes back out again.

If you want to give clicker training a try, find a dog trainer who can teach you.

what is clicker training poster with small dog

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