Clicks Instead Of “Good Dog” For Dog Training
There are many different types of tools for training dogs. Clicker training is the first major improvement in dog training since choke chains and spiked collars. “Click and treat” has quickly established itself on becoming a big hit in the world of training dogs. Currently, there are over 10,000 trainers who are using this training method everyday.
Easy for Dog and Trainer
One advantage to using this form of training at home is its easy to learn for both the dog and his trainer!
Originally used to train marine mammals, click and treat breaks down the process into two separate steps, information and motivation. The click is the information, the treat is the motivation. While other trainers still work on these two steps, they try to teach them all at once, which can confuse the animal and slow down results. The animal confuses why the clicker goes off and they just want to get the treat!
Using Clicker VS Lure
Most trainers will verbally praise a dog for good behavior, while at the same time motivating the dog to repeat their actions. This can be a good method, however it takes longer for the dog to understand which behaviors and actions caused the praise from the trainer.
With the click and treat method, the processes are easily taught. In normal training, a person would say “good dog” when a welcomed action occurs and proceed with giving a treat. The clicker becomes a substitute for verbal praise and can actually catch the good boy behavior quicker than saying it, letting the dog know exactly which behavior he is being rewarded for. (As long as you click at the right time of the dog performing the behavior.)
Clicker Training Becomes Second Nature
Another way to look at click and treat training is viewing it as a secondary reinforcement, while food, water, physical affection and play (things the dog wants) become primary reinforcement. Like when you take a dog for a walk, the leash works as a secondary reinforcement.
It is obvious to the dog that the leash is not taking him for a walk; the owner is. However, it triggers a reaction in the dog, telling them that the leash will let them know where they will go and where they will not. And if they react to the leash with good behavior, their reward will be a nice leisurely walk.
Working With Clicker Training
Click and treat works the same way by letting the dog know when they have done a behavior you want. When a dog hears the clicker, they will know that they performed a good behavior and as long as they keep hearing a click, there is a treat coming their way. So, the clicker works as a secondary reinforcement, teaching them boundaries and appropriate behavior.
A couple advantages of the click and treat method include:
- Faster response than verbal praise. The clicker can identify the exact behavior at the time it happens.
- It takes the place of treats. While motivating the dog to hear clicks, it will also teach him to work without the expectations of having treats given to him each time he does something good.
- If the trainer is working at a distance from the dog, the clicker will still work, without having to be right next him.
Are you ready to try clicker training?
The first thing you’ll need to do is go to your favorite pet supply store or online and invest in a clicker. The clicker is nothing fancy and should just cost you under five dollars. While you’re there grab some pocket treats. I like to work with treats that you can split into pea size treats.
A good method to use when getting started with click and treat is to stand in front of your dog. Click the clicker and give a treat. Continue doing this for 20-30 minutes at different intervals to get your dog to understand that when they hear a click, they get a treat.
This will familiarize them to the clicking sound, while teaching them that every time they hear it, they have done something good. After they get the hang of it, begin by adding commands, such as sit and stay.
Click Training Is a Simple Alternative to Verbal Training
Click and treat has proven to be a simple, yet consistent training method with quick results. So for the trainers out there who are looking for a new and innovative way to motivate and praise their animals, get out there, buy a clicker and… click!