Clicker training for fun & games – Part 2
You can teach your puppy some useful and desirable behaviors (not just obedience commands) by using the clicker. Clicker training is probably the simplest and fasted way to teach your puppy neat tricks, fun commands and polite manners.
Of course you need to first familiarize your puppy with the clicker. You do this by loading, or charging, the clicker. This quickly associates the clicker with a treat in the puppy’s mind. Clicker trainers know that this doesn’t take very long. Some puppies get it in just a few clicks.
It can take a puppy a little longer to figure out that its behavior can make the click, but the focus comes right away. Those trainers that have been working with a clicker for some time can take a new puppy that’s never seen the trainer before, and keep it focused for 10 minutes straight.
Here is one of my personal favorites from clicker trainers around the world. It makes “no-jumping” a fun and rewarding lesson. I call it Peaceful Greetings:
Oh those jumping, joyful puppies! They see you, rush to your side, and hop all over you – how adorable – but what a shame to squelch that happy enthusiasm in a puppy that just wants to say hello! Instead, we suggest that you teach your puppy to avoid jumping on visitors by rewarding the puppy for saying hello peacefully. This exercise is easiest to teach with a partner, or in a group.
Put the leash on the puppy. Have one person hold the leash and the clicker while you stand back from the puppy, holding treats.
Approach the puppy. If it jumps up, do not make eye contact or say anything. Just back away again and wait a few seconds. Try again. Keep approaching the puppy and backing up if it jumps.
Eventually, the puppy will realize that it will have to try something different if it wants you to move toward it. When you step forward and the puppy keeps all four paws on the floor, the person holding the leash clicks, then the person approaching immediately gives a treat and praise.
Practice this until the puppy consistently keeps from jumping. Then, try it off the leash.
It’s best to do this in groups with children. Each person calls the puppy to him or her, but then ignores the puppy if it jumps, clicking and giving a treat when it stands or sits in expectation of a reward. Puppies usually learn the difference in just one or two training sessions.