Clicker Training For Dogs: An In-Depth Walkthrough

Last Updated on November, 2021

Not to sound too bossy, but it’s fair to say we all want our dogs to do what we ask them to. Well, this is how a well-behaved dog acts. But, to make this possible, dog owners need to work on their dogs’ behavior.

One of the most powerful tools to change your dog’s behavior is positive reinforcement. For example, your dog does something of your liking; you reward them with a treat. This way, they’ll start repeating those actions.

Now, the question is, how does a clicker fit into all this? What’s it got to do with a dog’s behavior? At its core, a clicker is a device that makes positive reinforcement even more effective. As a result, it can help you big time in dog training.

We’ll discuss the specifics in the article to help you learn what clicker training is. If you’re unfamiliar with the process, we’ve gathered all the vital information about clicker training for dogs.

After reading this article, you’ll have a firm grip on the topic. You’ll know all the dos and don’ts that come with clicker training.

What Is Clicker Training?

Clicker Training for dogs

First of all, we’ll let you know what a clicker is. It’s a small mechanical device like a remote control that makes a clicking sound when you press the button.

Now, moving on towards clicker training, it’s a fun and efficient way of working on your dog’s behavior. It’s a science-based way of interacting with your dog.

Clicker training is the same as positive reinforcement training, with the added incentive of a clicker. Clicker training allows your dog to learn basic and complicated commands. With the proper usage, there’s no limit to what you can teach to your dog.

You can use clickers to teach new behaviors as well as all other aspects of dog training. For example:

  • Training obedience behaviors.
  • Behavior modification.

The significance of the clicker itself is that you’re training your dog to know what you are rewarding them for. In case you’re wondering, there’s nothing special about the clicking sound.

It’s a distinct noise that helps you reinforce your dog’s good behavior. A way to mark the exact moment your dog does something of your liking.

Introducing Clicker Training to Your Dog

There are a few things that you’ll have to make sure of before you introduce your dog to clicker training. 

  • Choose a quiet room without any distractions while clicker training dogs.
  • Make sure you have a treat bag or a small plastic box full of treats to reward as you teach your dog.

To help your dog build an association with the clicker, you’ll need to feed them random treats. A dog learns a lot faster if there are food rewards for him. So you click the clicker once and give a treat to your dog at the exact moment. Click and Treat.

Check out the video below to know how clicker works for dogs:

You’ll need to repeat this action plenty of times. This way, you’ll build a value of the click. Then, finally, the dog will start to realize that after every click, he gets a treat.

It’s essential to choose a quiet room. Your dog should ultimately realize that it’s the clicking sound that’s luring them a treat. So, it’s best if the dog hears only the sound of the click in the room.

Since you’ll be having many sessions to teach your dog, make sure you cut the treats into small pieces. You can save a lot of money on treats this way.

People often ask questions about their dog’s bad manners. They’re always trying to fix the bad habits which, to be honest, is not a good practice.

Rather than wasting time on fixing bad behavior, clicker training helps you focus on what your dog is doing right. This way, you’ll help your dog focus more on WHAT TO DO rather than what not to do.

Most dogs learn an action faster rather than getting rid of one.

Dog clicker device

If you’re looking for a clicker to begin clicker training, I-CLICK ORIGINAL CLICKER from the Karen Pryor online store is by far the best choice. Besides having a loud and clear click sound, it comes with an easy-grip that makes using a clicker easy.

It’s small enough to fit in your palm, so your dog doesn’t see it. This way, you won’t have to worry about it becoming a visual cue. 

It also comes in many different colours so you can choose one of your choices. Considering the price, you won’t find a better and durable clicker anywhere else. So, we recommend you get this one to start your dog’s training.

Importance Of Timing In Clicker Training

A girl training a dog with clicker

People often underestimate the importance of timing while using a clicker. Timing is one of the most essential things in a successful clicker training session. Since you’re coaching your dog to earn their treats on the sound of the click, it’s up to you to click at the right moment. Click instantly as your dog performs the desired behavior, not afterwards.

If you’re not timing your clicks, you might accidentally reward the wrong behavior. This is why it’s always important to hit the clicker at the right time. We, humans, know that we’re clicking and rewarding them for a particular action, but dogs don’t know that.

For example, If you’re teaching your dog to shake hands, you’re letting them know that they’ll get a treat as soon as they lift one paw and shake.

Now, during this time, it’s essential to make the click at the right time. This timing of the click makes your dog realize what action was correct.

Start Teaching Basic Commands To Your Dog

dog clicker training

Now that you’ve introduced your dog to the clicker, it’s time to step up the game. The next step is to start teaching commands to your dog using the clicker. You’ll have to start by teaching something simple as sit, stand, stay, and other basic commands.

If you’re teaching your dog to sit, you’ll hold the treat in one hand along with a clicker in the other hand. As soon as your dog’s buttocks touch the ground, you’ll click and reward him with a treat. Again, it’s essential to time the click.

You’ll start teaching them new commands and tricks using the same process. This way, the dog will further build a connection between desired action, the sound of the click, and the treat.

A great thing about clicker training is that your dog starts loving the learning process. The reward-based atmosphere included in clicker training helps a lot. It encourages your dog to learn new tricks and also promotes exploration.

The owner needs to understand that they should communicate with the dog. Keeping tight communication with the dog helps you big time. It shouldn’t be click-and-treat like a robot. (1)

When your dog understands to do something for a click, it’ll start expressing the desired behavior randomly. This is the right time to introduce a click or a cue. If the dog follows your que, you should reward them.

Clicker training isn’t something that’s limited to training sessions. During the initial stages, owners should always keep the clicker in their hands. This way, you can train your dog to do so many other things. You can also reinforce good behaviors spontaneously.

Keeping Your Dog Off The Furniture

People often complain about their dogs jumping and sitting on the furniture. They find it hard to keep their dogs off the furniture. If you’re also concerned about this, you should start praising the dog for something as simple as getting off the furniture. (2)

Keeping Your Dog Off The Furniture

This is just an example. There are so many other cute and good manners that you shouldn’t take for granted.

Staying Calm When The Doorbell Rings

You can praise your dog for not jumping on the guests. For instance, if the doorbell rings and your dog has all four paws on the ground, click and give him a treat. You can reward the dog for lots of simple things like these.

It’s also good to stay vocal. If a dog does something of your liking, tell him that he’s a good dog.

What’s The Best Age To Start Clicker Training?

The Best Age To Start Clicker Training

There’s no specific age to begin clicker training. People like to train their dogs as soon as they bring one home. The same goes for clicker training as well. It’s best to clicker train a dog at an early age.

Young dogs are full of energy. The clicker training and reward-based system make them want to explore. Since they know that clicks are helping them get treats, they’d like to engage in learning sessions that involve clicks.

This is great for the owner because the dog is showing equal interest in learning as much as you’re showing in educating. Like other forms of positive reinforcement training, clicker training improves your communication. It also strengthens your bond with your dog and makes exercise a fun-filled activity.

Timing Of Training Sessions

dog with a leash

It’s essential to understand that training sessions should always be short. Like children, dogs also have short attention spans. It’s good to keep your sessions shorter than 15-20 minutes.

If you see your dog getting tired or losing attention towards the training sessions, you should stop. Rather than prolonging your training sessions, you should focus on consistency. Train your dog 2-3 times a day for 15 minutes or less.

Like any other training process, clicker training also requires a lot of consistency. So, it’s best to keep your training sessions short but consistent.

It’s also essential to understand that you shouldn’t focus on more than one behavior during a single session. Most trainers recommend doing 10-15 repetitions of a particular behavior in one go. If you want to move on to the next behavior, it’s best to take a break first.

Conclusion

Reinforcement training is one of the most potent ways in which you can improve your dog’s behavior. Add clicker training into it, and you can teach anything you want to your dog.

From simple commands like sit, stand, stay to other tricks like roll over, play dead, and tons of others. We assure you that you won’t find a more thorough guide like this one elsewhere..

If you’re planning to start clicker training your dog, you can rest easy and follow all the guidelines above. After following this guide, your dog will be doing everything you want to teach them.

Moreover, by the end of this training guide, you and your furry friend will be sharing a far stronger bond. We hope this information guide was as helpful as you wanted it to be.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

After accomplishing The Behavior, For How Long The Clicker Is Necessary?

Once the dog starts performing a behavior on just the cue, you can remove the clicker. At this point, your dog has learned a new behavior, and a clicker won’t be necessary afterwards.

Can We Or Should We Train A Dog In The Presence Of Another Dog? Can We Train Two Dogs At The Same Time?

For more effective training, It’s always good to train one dog at a time. While you train one dog, it’s better to keep the other dog at a distance. Separate training for each dog is much better and efficient.

When Or How To Remove The Treat Once The Dog Accomplishes Certain Behaviors?

Make sure to fade treats as fast as you can. It’s also important to reward them in ways other than treats. You can use praise to let the dog know they’ve done something good.

Another great way to fade treats is by giving treats randomly. If your dog is performing desired actions, treat him for a few but not for all.

Is It Too Late To Train My Dog With A Clicker?

You can clicker train your dog at any age. Learning new tricks is always loved by dogs, especially if there’s reward-based training.

What Should I Do If My Dog Is Not Learning A Specific Behavior?

Dogs have a certain level of understanding. If they’re not learning one thing, try focusing on another trick or action. It’s always essential to end the session on a positive note.

REFERENCES:

  1. https://www.akcpetinsurance.com/blog/7-tips-for-better-communication-with-your-canine
  2. https://www.thesprucepets.com/how-to-keep-your-dog-off-the-couch-5114515
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