Clicker training is a type of dog training technique which has become very famous over the years. This training greatly varies from the usual dog training methods. Here, they are not left without food, but they use it as a primary reinforcement.
Clicker training doesn’t utilize punishment or negative reinforcement. Trainings sessions are very short. Trainers allot around five minutes for each practice session. This is because clicker trainers believe that many shorter sessions are more effective for learning compared to a single long session which will get the dogs to feel bored or tired. According to studies, dogs that undergo clicker training take less time to learn dependable behavior compared to standard training. This type of training also uses a clicker as a behavior indicator.
When a dog does a certain action, a clicker trainer clicks. The dog will then receive a reward after the click. As time goes on, the dog will learn that the click is associated with his reward. Rewards given can either be food like roast beef or hotdog. Trainers can also pet them, letting them play with a tennis ball, or other things that dogs enjoy doing. Remember to keep food rewards into bits when you are puppy training, otherwise he will become too consumed with eating and forget about the training. Be sure not to feed your dog before the clicker training, or he will be too full to think of food as a reward. Also, it essential that you click while your dog is performing a behavior and not after he finished doing it. It is not that important when to give the reward.
A click is a lot more authoritative than speaking because it is a distinctive sound that is a sign of an oncoming reward. It can be used as a signal to indicate good behavior at the precise moment that it happens. With this, the dog will be able to know what it was doing. Words are spoken in varying tones and ways but a sound of a click is the same all throughout. Dogs may have problems understanding words but they will easily know what a click means.
While training your dog to run to you immediately upon called, don’t wait for the moment that he is actually darting to your side before clicking and rewarding him. Even if he has gone only a few steps onto your way, make the click and give the reward. After your dog has shown his ability to do this, try making him walk nearer to you every time before finally clicking and rewarding him. Let your dog do every procedure independently. Don’t try to make him do anything by pushing or pulling him. Treat your dog’s improper behavior through the clicker training method. Click and give treats to your dog when it relieves himself on the proper area instead of scolding him when he pees on your carpet.
There will come a time that your dog will demonstrate a certain behavior on his own accord. At this time, try teaching him a cue – it can be in the form of a word or a hand signal. First, the trainer utters or gestures the cue and the dog will repeat the behavior. The click and reward will be granted if the behavior is done after or during the cue. Don’t give the dog a click if he performed the behavior without your giving any cue. If the dog does not do any behavior at all, consider changing the reward or teaching the behavior in a setting with less diversion. Remember not to abuse your dog physically or verbally if he is not acting accordingly. This can make your dog lose his confidence in you or the clicker training.
Once your dog does the behavior consistently after a cue, you can stop using the clicker or give rewards. Maintain the behavior by giving pats on the head instead of giving pricey rewards. Go back to the clicker when you want your dog to learn new things or relearn a past behavior.
Clicker training is the sole dog training technique that is both safe and effective for three-week-old puppies because it does not use negative reinforcement and punishment. As of this time, it is not practiced universally but more trainers are beginning to recognize it as a good method in dog training.