Believing These 8 Myths About Training For Dogs Is Gentle Keeps You From Growing

There are several dog training techniques, but clicker training is probably the most gentle, effective and fun. Much like 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 IS REALLY

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

Instead of 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 simple, clear to see core principle of dog psychology: behavior that’s positively reinforced (rewarded) is more likely to be repeated, while behavior that is not reinforced (ignored) is less inclined to be repeated.

Clicker training involves letting your dog hear an audible click at the precise moment he is doing what you would like, then immediately giving your dog a treat to reward that desired behavior. Your pet will soon come to love hearing that click and can work to create 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 as long as you’re having your dog perform the behavior you’re teaching him.

As your pet learns the commands associated with that behavior, you gradually phase out the clicking. As soon as your dog has formed a good association between your commands and the desired behavior, performing it reliably every time, the treats can be phased out.

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

About the Clicker Itself

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

The click tells your dog that what he is doing is exactly the behavior you want. It simultaneously pinpoints the desired behavior and gives your pet consistent, immediate positive feedback. In a nutshell, the clicker is really a tool that pairs the sound of the click with finding a treat. With repetition, your dog forms a strong mental association between these two otherwise unrelated things. Because you only click when your dog does what you need (that you will immediately reward him), he quickly learns that whenever 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 works well with all ages and breeds, including young pups. Workout sessions should be short (five minutes or so) to keep them fun and engaging, but have several each day.

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

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

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

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

4. Reinforce and reward the behavior (sitting) by praising your pet and giving him a delicacy. Keep carefully the treats small but tasty so he’s eager to receive them. He’ll soon start sitting on his own 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 training sessions. For example, slowly raise the duration, distance and distractions.

6. Put in a verbal command and/or hand signal to cue your dog to perform the required behavior.

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

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

The Pros and Cons of Clicker Training for Dogs

Clicker training has multiple advantages. You can teach your dog almost anything without resorting to punishment. It’s a positive, stress-free training technique that builds a solid bond between you as well as your dog rather than causing your pet to fear or be intimidated by you. Your dog could be more confident because he’ll gain an obvious understanding of the behavior you need rather than focusing on avoiding what’s wrong. It’s even effective with young puppies.

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

I know how it really is tough and time consuming to teach your dog. With patience and consistency it will be possible to put an end to all your dog’s “problems” nevertheless, you need to do it the proper way.