Clicker Training 101
May 10, 2013 by
Jumpin' Jax in
Tips for Beginning Clicker Trainers
When you begin with clicker training it may seem awkward, uncomfortable and maybe even a little frustrating. I assure you, with practice and patience
Push and release the button of the clicker, making a two-toned click. Then treat. Keep the treats small and delicious. Click only ONCE! Increase the number of treats (jackpot) for especially good behavior. you will find that the clicker will become an invaluable tool. A clicker is fast, effective and above all – FUN! Here is a list of tips to keep in mind when first starting with a clicker.
- Click DURING the desired behavior, not after it is completed. The timing of the click is crucial. Give the treat after the click; the timing of the treat is not important.
Click when your dog does something you like. Begin with something easy that the pet is likely to do on its own. (Ideas: sit; come toward you; touch your hand with its nose; lift a foot; etc…).
Fix bad behavior by clicking good behavior. Click a puppy for relieving itself in the proper spot. Click for paws on the ground, not on the visitors. Instead of scolding for barking, click for silence.
Keep raising your goal. As soon as you have a good response, start asking for more. Wait until the dog stays down a little longer, comes a little further, sits a little faster. Then click.
When your pet begins showing you the behavior spontaneously, trying to get you to click, you can begin offering a cue, such as a word or a hand signal. Start clicking for that behavior if it happens during or after the cue. Start ignoring that behavior when the cue wasn’t given.
Don’t order the animal around; clicker training is not command-based. If your pet does not respond to a cue, it is not disobeying; it just hasn’t learned the cue completely. Try working in a quieter place. If you have more than one pet, separate them for training.
If you are not making progress with a particular behavior, you are probably clicking too late. Accurate timing is important.
- ALWAYS reward after a click. Even if you accidentally click, you owe your dog a treat. If you do not do this the click will lose its value.
- Do not point the clicker at your dog – it isn’t a remote control. If you have a sound sensitive dog hide the clicker behind your back or in your pocket to muffle the sound. If that doesn’t work try using the click of a pen.
- Once a behavior is learned and on cue, there’s usually no need to click, as the animal understands the behavior. Maintain the behavior by replacing specially good treats with occasional and less intensive rewards including a pat or praise.
Load the Clicker
To use the clicker you have to give it meaning to your dog. To do this we “load” the clicker. Loading the clicker is simply associating the click with a treat and is only done one time.
To load your clicker start with several tiny treats (10-15) and the clicker.
- Reach for a treat and feed your dog.
- Repeat steps 1 and 2 several times.
- Wait until your dog is slightly distracted and click.
- If you dog looks at you, your click is loaded.
- If he doesn’t go back and repeat until your dog looks when he hears the click.
Once your clicker is loaded you are ready to start clicker training!
For more information or to get started with clicker training your dog – Contact Me today!