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What is clicker training?

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What is clicker training?

A clicker is a tool, which contains a metal strip inside a plastic box and makes a distinct sound when pressed. 

Clicker training is a form of positive reinforcement when training your dog i.e. rewarding the behaviours that are favourable and ignoring the behaviours that are not.

Why should you use clickers when training?

  • It’s faster and more distinct than saying “good doggo”
  • Much more effective when compared to using treats alone. 

How do I teach my dog what the click means?

There are 3 important things to keep in mind when using a clicker:

1. Click when your dog performs the behaviour: The clicker is meant to mark the favourable behaviour at a precise moment. For example, if you tell your dog to sit, then press the clicker the instance your dog’s bum touches the floor. 

2. Follow the click with a treat: When your dog performs the favourable behaviour, immediately press the clicker and give your dog a treat. If you don't always give a treat after you click, the clicker can begin to lose some of its effectiveness.

Petsy tip: Click once (in-out.) If you’re super excited for your dog’s accomplishment, increase the number of treats not the number of clicks.

3. Timeliness: immediately give the treat after pressing the clicker so that your dog knows the connection between the clicker sound and the reward. 

The training will not be successful unless the dog knows a click equals a treat.

Common mistakes when using clickers:

  • Forgetting to praise your dog. don’t forget your pet’s need for praise, love and affection. If your dog is not driven by food or treats, then this training might not be effective. Remember clicker training is reward based so you will have to find out what motivates your dog.
  • Start with a calmer setting without anything around that can distract your dog. Being in a place where your dog will get distracted easily will disrupt the whole clicking process.
  • Expecting your dogs to do what you command in the first try will not work. Get your dog used to the clicker by clicking it 10-15 times and rewarding with a treat after every click will be more effective.
  • It will take a few tries for your dog to get used to the clicker and understand what it means, being patient is very important.

Please note: Never yell or shout at your dog if they don't get it right. Being patient will give you the correct results. Once you are confident that your dog is clicker trained, try it without the treats or by only calling them a good boy. When your dog is used to the commands, you can stop using the clicker as it is a tool used to fasten training the process. 

Remember training your dog should be a patient and slow process. Don’t rush it! Check out our article on dog training tips: do’s and don'ts for more information.