As with any discipline, training dogs is a venue that requires adherence to specific guidelines in order for it to work. Clicker training is a reward-based training method that requires dog owners to abide by specific rules and principles so to grant success. Learning the ropes of clicker training may require some effort at first, but it all pays back when your dog starts responding to the clicker. Once this training method has been mastered, the sky is ultimately the limit when it comes to teaching new behaviors and tricks.
Important Clicker Training Guidelines
While adherence to guidelines will grant success, clicker training is quite a forgiving training method. A couple of mistakes can be overridden if corrected swiftly. To get started, you must learn how to load the clicker. Once your dog has learned that each click is followed by a treat you can then select the clicker training method you prefer. Below are important guidelines that apply to any method you choose.
- Each click must be always followed by a treat. While one missed treat is not a big deal, more than that may “unload” the clicker’s power over time.
- Always click the desired behavior as it takes place and not once it is completed. If you are clicker training your dog to sit, click the moment the dog’s rear touches the floor and not once the dog has gotten up.
- Keep the sessions short and sweet. A five-minute session is preferable to a tedious hour of boring repetitions.
- Be a splitter and not a lumper. Split the exercise into small steps by clicking any small approximations of the wanted behavior. Don’t ask for the whole picture.
- Start in quiet areas, with little distractions. As your dog becomes more attentive, you can then move to slightly more distracting areas.
- Keep sessions happy and upbeat. There should be no room for frustration when you clicker train. If you are getting frustrated, end the session asking something your dog knows how to do and resume later.
- Always end sessions on a positive note; next time, your dog will be eager to start his training session.
- Try using clicker training for the resolution of behavioral problems instead of scolding the dog. Click and reward wanted behaviors and ignore unwanted behaviors. As an opportunist, your dog will soon learn which behaviors are more advantageous.
Follow these clicker training guidelines and a rewarding world of fun will unveil before your eyes. If you were skeptic about using a clicker to train, consider the fact that the most amazing tricks are taught with a clicker and many service dogs are clicker trained. If marine mammal trainers can use a clicker to train a whale that weighs tons, you can effectively train your dog which is much smaller and weighs considerably less.