Are you looking for an effective training method for your dog? Clicker training is often recommended by dog schools. But why is it so, AND, does it really work for every dog? In this article you will learn how to get started and what to look for in clicker training.
What is clicker training – how does it work?
This training method is based on an acoustic signal through which you can reinforce positive behavior. It is not without reason that clicker training is mainly used to break the habit of mis-conditioned behavior. In order to show your dog the desired behavior, you have to prepare yourself and your four-legged friend for the training. Because the fact is: The training method only works if the signal comes at the right time and your dog receives the deserved reward immediately. the equipment for the start includes
a clicker with button or double clicker
a dog toy or treats
the clicker training aid.
The great advantage of clicker training is the emotionless sound that is used for good behavior and is the sign for your dog that he has done something very well and is rewarded for it.
Is clicker training suitable for all dogs?
The answer is clearly yes! Any dog can be conditioned to the clicker and rewarded. It is important that you follow the instructions and avoid mistakes during training. Patience is an important companion that must be given the utmost attention, especially in the beginning. When starting clicker training, you should always keep in mind that your dog does not yet know the sound and therefore cannot establish a connection. Before you train with your dog, you should practice with the clicker and condition yourself. The moment you have mastered the right timing, you can start training. Besides the clicker, treats are your best friend, as they act as the primary reinforcer of success and are essential for your dog. If your dog initially looks at you with his head cocked, don’t be discouraged. Every dog understands clicker training and learns within a short time that the sound is followed by a treat.
Understanding and preparation ensure training success
As already mentioned, it is not the dog but his owner who decides on the success of clicker training. The more you practice yourself before you start and the more confident you are in your timing, the better your dog will understand. It is best to practice with a human training partner. For example, he can throw a ball on the ground and you click when the ball touches the ground. Only when you have mastered this rhythm to perfection should you start with your dog. While your training partner does not need treats, you must always have them at hand when training your dog. Because that’s where success lies. Your dog hears the click and quickly learns that the sound is associated with a delicious morsel from your fanny pack. It is important that the treat follows the signal and is given as soon as your dog touches your hand with his nose. If the treat is delayed, your four-legged friend will not be able to establish a link.
Avoid beginner mistakes: This is how clicker training works
The most common mistake in clicker training is the misuse of the signal. You condition your dog with the clicker that the signal sounds at the right behavior and results in a treat. If you now use it to draw attention to yourself, the conditioning fails. Your dog will respond, but will not understand the reason for the sound.
a cotton stick as a favorite
toy special dog balls as a reward for approaching
a nylon frisbee
a dog whistle.
The clicker is only for clicker training and must not be used for any other purpose. It is also important that you do not overstrain your dog. Only when your dog understands the interaction of clicker and treat, you can consider the conditioning as successful. Do not demand too much from your four-legged companion. He has to learn just as much as you do and will thank you if you treat him with patience and repeat exercises until he understands. Our tip: When you use the clicker, avoid verbal praise. As soon as the dog hears your voice, he will be distracted and lose focus on the signal.
Important rules for clicker training
After you have practiced timing and click in real time, you can lead your dog into the learning phase. There are a few basic rules for training success, and by following them you won’t have to wait long for the conditioning to be successful. Because the signal and the treat are related, many dog owners make the mistake of holding the primary reward before the click. However, the dog has a fine nose and at that moment reacts not to the signal, but to the smell. The dog must get the treat immediately after the click sound – without delay. The clicker is not aimed at the dog and you are not looking the dog in the eye. To be successful in training: Stay silent and make sure your dog is fully focused on the clicker and the consequences of the sound.
The right timing – The key to success
Every dog owner should take time to practice proper timing and only then move on to the training phase. In the beginning, a few minutes of training will suffice. You increase the pace and the units only when you – that is, you and your dog – are fit for the next lesson. If you make mistakes in the beginning, don’t get discouraged and keep practicing until you feel confident. Your dog will follow you and will be happy that you emphasize him for his behavior with the longed-for click sound and the associated treat. Try it out and see how well clicker training affects teamwork in the human-dog relationship.
My name is Mark and the senior editor
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