About dog and puppy clicker training
Dog Training is not simply about obedience..... it's all about communicating effectively with your pet and helping them to clearly understand what we want.
Clicker Training your dog (or cat!) offers tremendous benefits, and can really speed up the whole learning process. It's useful for basic training, trick training, teaching your dog to dance, training agility, teaching your dog to stop jumping up and any other general manners and it's also very useful for helping your pet build their confidence and overcome any fears and phobias.
Clicker training is so effective because it allows you to immediately and quickly indicate to the dog that he's done what you wanted. Think of when your dog's jumping up - by the time you've waited for him to stop, turned, and said - good boy - then he's jumped up again. The click-click allows you to catch the instant his 4 paws on the ground.
It's important, ofcourse, to realise that you want to eventually stop needing to use the clicker, and this is easily achieved by simply gradually making the dog work harder and harder for one click and treat.
Also, provided that the clicker training is carried out using kind, fair and rewarding and effective methods, it will also bring
- An increase in the dogs confidence by teaching them to think about what they are doing, instead of simply re-acting to situations.
- It will tire them out - using the brain is so much more tiring than physical exercise (they obviously still need walkies too!).
- It builds the bond between you through trust and understanding.
- It increases the effectiveness of your communication. Fido is much more likely to want to please you if you stretch his imagination and do exciting and new things.
- It teaches your dog to be able to cope with frustration. This helps him deal with other things in his life which he may find annoying or disappointing.
- It puts you in the situation where you can deal positively with a particular problem by being able to ask him to 'do' something, rather than simply to 'stop it'.
- It gives you loads of opportunities to teach your dog that you are a constant (well - almost!) source of reinforcement and that it's really worthwhile listening to you.
- And, it provides you both with some fun and laughter!
In order to achieve this, however, the training needs to consistently push your pet to their next level of learning without overwhelming them or making them become too frustrated and give up. It's all about positive re-inforcement and getting a clear message across at the right time.
What goes wrong with clicker training?
The clicker is not a whistle. It's a "reward marker". What does that mean? Well, you click when you're dog has done what you want - you're saying "thankyou" / "Good Dog" - so its afterwards. The whistle is a cue - like saying "come here". Many fall into the trap of using the clicker to tell the dog to come here.
Another failing is that folks seem to think that they always need the clicker on them to get the dog to do - anything. Or that food will always be required to get them to do - anything. Not so. Used correctly, we gradually build up the level of training and the length of time a task occurs, thus gradually withdrawing the clicker and treats.
Take care with your timing though! You Get What You Click! If you have any worries about clicker training, please make sure to find a good trainer to ensure you get your timing right. Or, a less worrisome solution is just to use a clicker word "yes" or "good".
And finally, if you are aiming to work on clicker training with a dog with behaviour problems, then please take extra care or get professional help. Clicker training can sometimes seem to create anxiety or frustration - the last thing we want to do with a dog with behaviour problems.
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