Don’t Waste Time! 8 Facts Until You Reach Your Training For Dogs Is Gentle

There are several dog training techniques, but clicker training is one of the most gentle, effective and fun. As with any dog training method, repetition, patience, persistence and consistency are the keys to success with clicker training for dogs.

A Quick Explanation of What Clicker Training Really Is

First, it’s important to understand that clicker training works exclusively by means of positive reinforcement. You do not make any corrections or physically compel your pet to do anything. Punishment, be it scolding your pet or something more physical, is merely not a section of clicker training for dogs.

Rather than using harsh corrections, clicker training’s humane, reward-based techniques train dogs by applying time-tested psychological principles. Specifically, this scientifically-based training technique capitalizes on a straightforward, easy to understand core principle of dog psychology: behavior that’s positively reinforced (rewarded) is more prone to be repeated, while behavior that is not reinforced (ignored) is less likely to be repeated.

Clicker training involves letting your dog hear an audible click at the complete moment he is doing what you need, then immediately giving your dog a delicacy to reward that desired behavior. Your pet will soon come to love hearing that click and will work to make it happen, because he’ll associate the click with finding a treat. Essentially, the clicker tells your dog which particular behavior you want, and that he’ll receive a treat when he does it. Additionally you use verbal commands and/or hand signals while you’re having your pet perform the behavior you’re teaching him.

As your dog learns the commands connected with that behavior, you gradually phase out the clicking. And once your dog has formed a solid association between your commands and the desired behavior, performing it reliably each and every time, the treats can even be phased out.

Instead of punishing undesirable behaviors, clicker training for dogs uses the power of positive association. You click to mark (identify) the specific behavior you want and then immediately follow it with an incentive. Because unwanted actions are ignored (and go unpunished) while desired behaviors are rewarded, clicker training sessions are highly motivating. Clicker training can be used to teach your dog just about anything you need, including traditional obedience commands and tricks.

About the Clicker Itself

The clicker is an inexpensive, plastic hand-held device. It produces a sudden, audible click once you press its small metal button or strip. Dogs have sharp hearing, and many can hear the click from around 30 yards away. Because the click is distinctive and always sounds identical, it’s impossible for your dog to misinterpret.

The click tells your dog that what he is doing is precisely the behavior you want. It simultaneously pinpoints the desired behavior and gives your pet consistent, immediate positive feedback. In short, the clicker is really a tool that pairs the sound of the click with finding a treat. With repetition, your pet forms a solid mental association between both of these otherwise unrelated things. As you only click when your dog does what you would like (for which you will immediately reward him), he quickly learns that when he hears the click, he’s going to receive a treat.

A Step-by-step Guide to Clicker Training for Dogs

Clicker training for dogs is effective with all ages and breeds, including young pups. Training sessions should be short (five minutes or so) to keep them fun and engaging, but have several every day.

Follow the seven steps below to use a clicker to successfully train your pet:

1. Teach your pet that the sound of the clicker means he’s about to receive a treat and praise. It’s easy to do – while your pet is standing calmly, click and immediately give him a treat and praise. He’ll get the idea after you do this several times.

2. Choose the behavior you want your dog to learn. Let’s use sit for example. Either wait for him to sit on their own, or coax him to sit by using a treat.

3. The instant he begins to perform the required behavior (his rump starts heading down, in this example), mark the behavior with a click.

4. Reinforce and reward the behavior (sitting) by praising your dog and giving him a treat. Keep carefully the treats small but tasty so he’s eager to receive them. He’ll soon start sitting by himself because he really wants to hear the click and get the praise and treat.

5. Instill the behavior with practice. Gradually increase the challenges your dog faces during his workout sessions. For example, slowly raise the duration, distance and distractions.

6. Add a verbal command and/or hand signal to cue your pet to perform the desired behavior.

7. Once it’s clear your pet understands what you want him to do and does it reliably, gradually phase out the clicker and treats. Your pet will now take a seat on your verbal command or hand signal.

Remember, clicker training isn’t command-based. If your dog doesn’t react to your verbal command or hand signal, he’s not disobeying you – he just hasn’t learned the cue (yet). Show patience and keep practicing.

The Pros and Cons of Clicker Training for Dogs

Clicker training has multiple advantages. It is possible to teach your dog almost anything without resorting to punishment. It is a positive, stress-free training technique that builds a strong bond between you and your dog rather than causing your dog to fear or be intimidated by you. Your pet will be more confident because he’ll gain a clear understanding of the behavior you need rather than concentrating on avoiding what’s wrong. It’s even effective with pups.

Some people aren’t keen on clicker training for dogs because they want their dogs to obey them out of respect, not because they want a treat or they’ve been “brainwashed.” However, there’s no question that this training technique is effective. Your pet can do as you ask because you’ve taught him you are happy when he does.

I know how it can be tough and time consuming to train your dog. With patience and consistency it is possible to put an end to all or any your dog’s “problems” nevertheless, you need to do it the right way.