Even dog training methods go through fads and the current fad within the world of obedience training is the use of the clicker; however this is one fad with real results that will stand the test of time if done properly. Let’s take a look at how the clicker can be used to effectively discourage unwanted behaviors.
Clickers, dog whistles and noise makers have been around for years, but the movement away from dominance training has led to a rise in the use of positive reinforcement training tools like the clicker. To use the clicker effectively, you must first train your dog to understand that the clicker sound means he will get a treat. This is referred to as “charging the clicker.”
To begin the clicker training, gather 10 or 20 pea-sized treats. Then, face your dog, click and immediate give your dog a treat. Repeat this process until you are out of treats. Your dog will catch on quickly that the clicker means treats and he will be eager to get that treat. Let’s look at some clicker dog training tips for a behavior that many pet owners find irritating, like barking.
It’s important to recognize that barking, as well as other behaviors we humans find challenging, come naturally to dogs. They bark, chew, dig and smell one another’s hindquarters. So, before you can discourage unwanted behavior effectively, you have to figure out why the dog is doing the behavior in the first place. When a dog barks he is communicating in order to:
* Alert you
* Scare off something or someone he doesn’t like
* Get attention
* Entertain himself
* Express his boredom or frustration
For our example, let’s say your dog is barking to alert you that someone is walking past the house. You may consider this appropriate, but you want to train your dog to stop barking once you’ve been alerted.
According to Karen Pryor, as your dog is barking click and treat. Then, while the dog is eating the treat, throw your open palm up in front of his face like a big stop sign. Immediately click and treat. Then wait without moving for your dog to resume barking.
When you dog barks again, quickly click and treat, throw up the stop sign, and while he’s quietly eating, click and treat again. While your dog is still quiet say, “Bark.” When your dog barks, click and treat. Quickly repeat this process two dozen times or so.
There are a number of good books and videos available online to help you learn more clicker dog training tips. Informing yourself on how to use this positive reinforcement tool could be the single best thing you do in training your dog.
Karen Pryor says:
“Clicking with Your Dog” is the answer for all pet owners who want a dog to be a real partner and friend. The author’s step-by-step illustrations explain the clicking process more clearly than ever before. Soon you will truly understand your dog, and, thanks to the clicker, your dog will understand you!”