- Do not reward unnecessarily, and watch the portion of the treats.
- Practice this new behavior at different places; start with a calm environment and work your way to more distracting locations.
- Keep the training sessions short and upbeat.
With their wagging tails and adorably big puppy eyes, our furry four-legged friends walk into our lives leaving behind their siblings and mommies to spend rest of their lives with us. The day you get your puppy home, neither you nor life is ever going to be the same.
For as long as your puppy lives, know that you will always have a friend who is going to love you unconditionally and truly transform your house into a home.
Of course, getting a dog home and catering to all its need is a big commitment. Your lives (you and your puppy's) will be much easier if you could train it right. Just like you teach your kids right from the wrong, your pooch also needs to be taught what exactly is expected from it.
Your dog is eager to do everything you ask him―the biggest obstacle to this being how to communicate what exactly is it supposed to do. With time, your dog is going to learn to communicate with you in its own way, but with effective training you could hasten the process. And one such effective way of doing so is clicker training.
What Is Clicker Training?
Clicker training involves using a small clicker―a mechanical device that makes a clicking noise―and treats to reinforce a desirable act performed by your dog. The reason this method is particularly effective is that you could help pinpoint exactly what act is deemed desirable.
Every time your dog does something right, the sound of the clicker followed by a treat helps it understand that this is what my human owner wants. This reward system helps it to learn desirable acts; and with continual practice of the same, it becomes a habit.
How Does It Work?
First, the trainer instills the fact that clicking sound is a good thing. He or she does so by giving the dog a treat after every time the clicker is clicked. This act needs to be repeated several times.
Once this message is conveyed the sound of the click is going to be a powerful tool in training the dog. Once the dog performs a desirable act the click now conveys to it that this is what it is supposed to do and a yummy treat soon follows.
How To Clicker Train Your Dog
This training works in three steps in which you and your dog will have to participate actively. You need to set aside some time to do this everyday.
Things You'll Need
Things You'll Need
- A Clicker or anything that makes a clicking sound
- Treats that your dog loves
- Patience, you'll definitely be needing it
Step 1: Let them know that the click is good
Be in a room with your dog making sure that there are no distractions around. You could sit watching TV or doing something you like during this time.
Now, take a treat in your hand and let your dog sniff it. Press the Clicker and give it the treat. Again, take another treat in your palm and let your dog sniff it. Now, close your fist and resume to do whatever it is you were doing. Ignore all its attempts to take the treat from you. Make the same clicking sound and give your dog the treat.
Repeat this process a few more times at different time intervals. Eventually, your dog will start to relate the clicking sound with the treats.
Step 2: Associating the right act with the click
In this step, you have to click the very instant your dog performs the desirable act, followed by its beloved treat. You could help shape your dog's behavior this way. This can be achieved in either of the following ways.
Every time your dog sits on your command, make the clicking sound and reward it. Soon, your dog is going to understand that you want it to sit. This method can be used for associating commands with any activity it does on its own like sitting, lying down, and rolling over.
Here, you could make a clicking sound every time your dog lifts one of its paws. Gradually, when it realizes that the lifting of the paw gives it a reward, then only reward when it lifts its paw higher.
Suppose you want your dog to sit, you hold the treat right in front of its nose. Your dog will sit down so that it is able to see the treat. Click at the very moment your dog is sitting down. Repeat the process a few times, and soon, your dog will learn to sit.
Step 3: Naming the Act
Once your dog learns a particular act, you need to give a name or a cue so that your dog learns to associate the name with the act. Once your dog has mastered a particular act. Stop rewarding it every time it performs the act.
Instead, reward it only after you give the cue and it performs the act. Make sure that you give the cue only once. If you've used the luring method, you could perform the gesture related to the act along with the cue.
Disadvantages of Clicker Training
- While using the clicker, one of your hands is occupied for holding it, you could overcome this by using a one syllable word like "yes".
- In this method, timing is everything. You need to make the sound at the precise moment your dog is performing the act. This can be tricky when the actions are subtle, like twitching of the ear, and can confuse the dog.
- This method will not be very effective if the dog has a lower drive for rewards.
- This method requires a lot of knowledge and practice. You will require very good hand-eye coordination to pinpoint the action you want to reinforce.