Clicker training is definitely something that needs to be in every pet owner’s bag of tricks.
Charging the Clicker — crucial first step to begin clicker training.
This exercise basically teaches your dog to associate a click with getting a treat; no behavior required to earn the Click then Treat. Though it’s best to not click/treat when your dog is doing something want to discourage like jumping or pulling.
Note: The click is a marker, the bridge between the behavior and the reward so your dog will begin to repeat behaviors that got a click/treat.
- Best to do before a feedig when your dog is hungry and use high value treats, something easy and that will be quickly consumed.
- Clicker in one hand and treats in the other: single click then give single treat pretty quickly.
- Repeat 10 times; Stop and test: let the dog get distracted, look away, and click… if she turns around and looks for her reward she’s got it! If not, continue click/treat another 10 times and try again.
- Start in a distraction free environment.
- If your dog is upset at the sound of the clicker you can soften the sound by putting it behind your back or in your pocket.
- Until your dog becomes an expert with the clicker it’s best to offer a refresher click/treat session, at least 5 times, to reacquaint your dog with the clicker.
Once the clicker is charged, timing is everything. When a dog is performing the behavior you are trying for click instantly as that click let’s the dog know she’s done what you’re wanting and the treat is on it’s way.
If you’re more visual, I found the below video is great to review to learn the basics, including how to get started.
photo credit: Little Pumpa via photopin (license)