Properly Clicker Train Your Dog

Edited by Mian Sheilette Ong, Anonymous, Lynn, Alma and 2 others

Positive reinforcement is the key to effective training. Clicker training is one of the methods utilized by professional trainers. It is based on rewarding desirable behavior. In clicker training, a clicker is used to mark the desirable behavior. The clicker referred to here is not a counting clicker with numbers used for manual counting. It is a device that makes a very short clicking sound that signals the animal that a task has been performed correctly. Clicker training is used on dogs for faster, more efficient training that's humane and safe for both the dog and the trainer. If you want to properly clicker train your dog, you should prepare three important things: A clicker, a bunch of treats, and patience. Clicker training your dog is a very rewarding thing, especially if you know everything that you can first about how to do it.

Was this helpful? Yes | No | I need help

Grizzlybabymian click1.jpg
Ad

Effectiveness of Clicker Training

"Operant conditioning" and classical conditioning" are the methods implemented in clicker training. These types of conditioning help make your dog associate objects, persons, places, events, and actions with a positive consequence. Classical conditioning comes first in clicker training because the behavior is instilled through the environment and events. Operant conditioning follows when your dog intentionally performs the task that was previously conditioned so that rewards can be obtained. Your dog will eventually perform the task with purpose and not just because a habit was formed with the clicker. Their enthusiasm is heightened because of the pleasurable reward that they will get to the task.

Was this helpful? Yes | No | I need help

Reasons for Using the Clicker

There are other training methods that are reward-based, but clicker training is clearer. In this training, the sound of the click makes the dog understand that the specific behavior was done correctly. If the click is not heard on the exact desirable action, your dog might not instantly connect it with the reward. It is also possible that without the "click", your dog will associate the sound with an undesirable action. The click marks the behavior that you want. It also connects the wanted behavior with the treat or reward. This is known as the bridging signal.

Was this helpful? Yes | No | I need help

Grizzlybabymian click6.jpg

The clicker is more effective because the sound is consistent all throughout the training. The click is quicker and can be made at the right moment when the correct behavior is completed. If you use your voice, various emotions and moods may affect the sound. This may confuse the dog about the meaning of your voice — if the task was done correctly or not. The clicker always delivers good news to the dog. This clearer form of communication makes the relationship stronger between the dog and the handler. The click also makes the handler or the trainer more engaging and interesting in the eyes of the dog.

Was this helpful? Yes | No | I need help

How Clicker Training Works

In clicker training, it is like you're taking a snapshot of your dog's correct behavior. The dog immediately understands that after the click, the reward follows. It is usually in the form of a toy, petting, or a treat. The basic steps in clicker training are:

Was this helpful? Yes | No | I need help

  1. 1
    Obtain the behavior.
    Make sure that your dog does the behavior you want.{
    Advertisement
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No | I need help

  2. 2
    Mark or click on the behavior.
    Using the clicker, you mark the desired behavior.
    Advertisement
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No | I need help

  3. 3
    Reinforce or reward the behavior.
    Give a treat or affection to your dog after performing the desired task.
    Grizzlybabymian click4.jpg
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No | I need help

Considerations in Clicker Training

Remember the following when you start clicker training your dog:

  1. 1
    Choose a quiet place for your sessions.
    It should be a familiar place that is free of any distractions.
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No | I need help

  2. 2
    Keep the sessions short.
    They should last for only 15 minutes or less. About one to three sessions a day are recommended. Do not lengthen your sessions too much or your dog will lose enthusiasm.
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No | I need help

  3. 3
    Choose treats that he has not eaten recently.
    This will make your dog anticipate the training sessions.
    Grizzlybabymian click9.jpg
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No | I need help

How to Properly Clicker Train Your Dog

Conditioning with the Clicker

The primary thing you should do in clicker training is condition your dog with the clicker. This allows you to make your dog understand that the click is always a positive thing. Below are the steps for conditioning:

Was this helpful? Yes | No | I need help

  1. 1
    Prepare your dog by attaching the leash to the collar.
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No | I need help

  2. 2
    Hold the leash and the clicker with one hand.
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No | I need help

  3. 3
    Click and then give your dog a reward immediately with your other hand.
    Make sure that your treat pouch is close to the hand that gives it (most preferably the same side). Do this 25 times for about two sessions.
    Grizzlybabymian click01.jpg
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No | I need help

Conditioning with the Clicker and your Dog's Attention

It's important that you have your dog's attention all throughout the training sessions. Dogs don't think about what they look at, so you must make sure that your dog look at you.

  1. 1
    Attach the leash to your dog's collar.
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No | I need help

  2. 2
    Hold the leash and the clicker in one hand.
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No | I need help

  3. 3
    With your free hand, get a treat and hold it up next to your face.
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No | I need help

  4. 4
    Click the moment your dog looks at your face.
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No | I need help

  5. 5
    Give the treat.
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No | I need help

  6. 6
    If there is a distraction, pass the treat by his nose and bring it again next to your face.
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No | I need help

  7. 7
    Give the treat.
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No | I need help

  8. 8
    Repeat this 25 times for two training sessions.
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No | I need help

  9. 9
    Proper clicker training is done by starting with correct conditioning.
    By the time you have conditioned your dog, prepare to teach the basic commands such as "Sit" and "Come Back".
    Grizzlybabymian click16.jpg
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No | I need help

The "Sit" Command with the Clicker

  1. 1
    Position your dog on your side.
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No | I need help

  2. 2
    Hold your dog's leash with your hand.
    With the same hand's forefinger and thumb, hold your treat.
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No | I need help

  3. 3
    Hold the treat in front of the dog's nose.
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No | I need help

  4. 4
    Raise the treat to make him sit.
    Do not say "sit" at this stage. Instead, click and give the reward to your dog.
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No | I need help

  5. 5
    Repeat this 25 times for two sessions.
    Just use the click.
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No | I need help

  6. 6
    Say "sit" on the third training session.
    Say the word "sit", click, and then reward.
    Grizzlybabymian click8801.jpg
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No | I need help

The "Come Back" Command with the Clicker

  1. 1
    Prepare a six-foot leash.
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No | I need help

  2. 2
    Attach the leash to your dog's collar.
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No | I need help

  3. 3
    Hold the leash and the clicker in one hand.
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No | I need help

  4. 4
    Stand and wait for your dog to notice distractions.
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No | I need help

  5. 5
    Take a treat and hold it in front of your dog's nose.
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No | I need help

  6. 6
    When your dog becomes attracted by the treat, back away slowly while you hold the treat in your hand.
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No | I need help

  7. 7
    Bring the treat closer to you as you back away.
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No | I need help

  8. 8
    Click when your dog reaches the treat and give the reward.
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No | I need help

  9. 9
    Repeat this 15-20 times in one session.
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No | I need help

  10. 10
    Then, use the command "come" as you back away.
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No | I need help

  11. 11
    Click and give the reward.
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No | I need help

  12. 12
    Gradually increase the distance between you and your dog using the six-foot leash.
    Grizzlybabymian click701.jpg
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No | I need help

    Advertisement

Have patience with clicker training your dog and you will reap the benefits. There is nothing better than a well-behaved, well-trained furry companion by your side at all times.

Tips

  • Purchase your clicker from online pet shops or offline pet stores.
  • A treat pouch is a handy tool. It will let you carry treats conveniently without leaving your position.
  • Do not use dog food as a treat.
  • You can use liver or sausage pieces as treats.
  • If you have problems with any of these steps, ask a question for more help, or post in the comments section below.
Was this helpful? Yes | No | I need help

Comments

VisiHow welcomes all comments. If you do not want to be anonymous, register or log in. It is free.




Babybearmian
Premier Author
88 Articles Started
1,594 Article Edits
23,965 Points
Babybearmian is a premier author with VisiHow. Babybearmian has achieved the level of "Lieutenant" with 23,965 points. Babybearmian has started 88 articles (including this one) and has also made 1,594 article edits. 662,000 people have read Babybearmian's article contributions.
Babybearmian's Message Board
Babybearmian: Hi, my name is Babybearmian.
Babybearmian: Can I help you with your problem about "Properly Clicker Train Your Dog"?
 

Article Info

Categories : Dogs

Recent edits by: Jen M, Alma, Lynn

Share this Article:

Thanks to all authors for creating a page that has been read 909 times.

Do you have a question not answered in this article?
Click here to ask one of the writers of this article
x

Thank Our Volunteer Authors.

Would you like to give back to the community by fixing a spelling mistake? Yes | No