December 4, 2009

What is Clicker Training?

Clicker training. What is it? It is a relatively new way of dog training that is revolutionizing the way dogs are trained. Normally when people train their dogs they say, "Good dog!" when the dog does the right thing. Good dog! marks the right behavior and lets the dog know that is did good and a reward is coming (such as a treat, toy, game, etc.). Clicker training uses a 'clicker' that makes a click instead of a word to mark the right behavior. Below are some pictures of clickers:

When the tab or button is pushed, the metal/plastic makes a clicking noise. By conditioning your dog to mean that the clicker=treats, your dog will come to know that 'click' means I did good and I get a treat!

The click is delivered DURING the trick the instant the dog does what's right, for example, when teaching 'sit' you would click as soon as the dog's rear end touched the floor. The click marks the desired behavior.

Clickers work better than voice as a marker. The clicker is always the same, whether you are happy, sad, frustrated, or ecstatic. Your tone of voice changes, though. If you are really excited about a new trick, your voice gets higher and faster and happier. If you a frustrated, your voice will be short and quick and deeper. So, the same words can sound different. Using a clicker eliminates your voice uppsetting the dog.

Check out and books by Karen Pryor to learn more! More on clickers coming soon!