How does clicker training for dogs work?
Clicker training for dogs is a training method that involves the use of an inexpensive clicker tool that makes a clicking sound to help instruct your dog what you want him to do. It is a gentle, positive method of obedience training that demands patience, but which can be very effective and even fun for both you and your dog.
You can start with clicker training your puppy when it is as young as 8 weeks. You’ll notice that this type of obedience training engages both your dog physically as mentally. All members of the family can participate and enjoy the process of trainer your dog with a clicker, including children.
Introducing the clicker sound to your dog
The first thing to do after you’ve purchased your clicker is to introduce the sound to your dog and teach him to associate it with getting treats.
Get a big bowl of your dogs favorite treats and find a quiet room where you can start with the training. Click the clicker and give him a treat at the same time. Make sure you don’t give it to him if he is doing something naughty, like chewing up your favorite throw rug, otherwise he’ll associate the sound of the clicker with this behavior, which is what you clearly will want to avoid.
Say my name
Next use the clicker to teach him to look to you for commands. Say his name, wait for him to look at your face then click and treat. Pretty soon, he will start just looking at your hands because he knows the treat is coming. Wait until he looks at your face. Try this first in a quiet, controlled area without distractions. Once he’s gotten accustomed to the sound, you can start clicker training him it in other environments such as your garden.
Click and sit
Now you can start the real work. You can now teach your dog to sit at the click. Get a treat and kneel in front of your dog. Show him the treat in your hand, then lift it up over his head until he naturally gets into sitting position. As soon as his bottom hits the ground, click and treat.
Once he gets good at this, you can gradually start replacing the clicker with the verbal “Sit” command.
Adding more commands
Once you’ve mastered clicker training for dogs, you can get creative with the tricks you want to teach him. Your dog will love the process with you too, as for him this is high quality, mind-stimulating time which he gets to spend with his biggest friend and leader of the pack!
You can add other commands such as the “Wait!’, “Leave it!” or “Come!” commands. Slightly more advanced clicker training can include commands such as “Fetch!” or “Get it!”.
Things to keep in mind
Use different kinds of treats to reward your dog. Some dog owners however will suggest to stick to one specific treat for clicker training only.
Using soft, small treats reduces the amount of time it takes for your puppy to consume it and get back to training.
If your dog has a special diet, you can still give him treats like dehydrated sweet potatoes. Check with your vet for the best options for your dog.
Morten Egtvedt and Cecilie Koeste are two of the world´s leading dog clicker trainers whose online clicker training program can help you learn how to train your dog fast and effectively using a clicker.