Clicker Training – August 17, 2010

Clicker Training

Clicker training is an excellent way to teach your dog new behaviors and a great way for kids to get involved in training.  Here is some basic information.


What is clicker training? 

A positive reinforcement training technique using a primary and secondary reinforcer that includes shaping so the dog takes an active role in the training process.  Primary reinforcer is the treat.  Secondary reinforcer is the click.

Advantages of clicker training:

Clicker training provides clear concise information for the dog.  It has a unique sound that stands out to the dog.  Timing is easier than voice for most students and lessens unneeded chatter at the dog.

Clicker training creates an enthusiastic working dog.  The dog learns quickly because he is an active participant in the learning process through the use of shaping and high rate of reinforcement. 

This is an excellent technique for team training that gets more of the family involved.  It’s a technique that is easily transferable from person to person.  It does not rely on social status, strength or intimidation, like some other techniques.

Clicker training is fun.  Students quickly start to focus on their dog’s brilliance.  They learn they have a ‘smart’ dog.  Classes tend to be quieter so there is less noise and a nicer training environment.

Facts and myths about clicker training:

It is more difficult for pet owners to learn.  Not true!  If the curriculum and classes are properly designed and organized, beginners do as well at learning to use the clicker as with other techniques.  Once people try it, they are hooked.  The instructor’s commitment and presentation make all the difference!

You need the clicker forever – Not true!  You wean away once your dog has learned the behavior.  You can fall back on the clicker for refresher training any time.

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