What is clicker training?
Clicker training uses a clicker (small box) that makes a “click” sound to mark a desired behaviour from your dog which is quickly followed by a treat.
How does clicker training work?
Dogs learn by association so in reward based training a piece of food is provided after the dog performs a desired behaviour. Clicker training uses the principle of mark and reward. The clicker marks an exact moment in time that the behaviour was performed with the promise that the food will come straight after as a reward.
Why use clicker training?
Not only does it allows you to mark the desired behaviour with perfect timing but it is also a unique sound that cannot be confused with other sound that the dog may hear. The sound that the clicker makes is neutral and therefore does not give away any frustration or over-excitement in your voice that could be distracting.
Are there any disadvantages?
Some people find the logistics of using a clicker difficult but this does improve with practice. The main disadvantage is that it does not convey positive emotion in the same way that a “Good boy!” can.
Are you going to make me use a clicker to train my dog?
Some trainers do actually insist on this! I take a pragmatic view to all my training. A clicker can be a very useful tool, especially for advanced or complex behaviours, but it is not necessary. Clicker training is like Marmite: Some people love it and some hate it. The choice is yours.
Where do I start?
I have worked successfully with many dogs in Brighton & Hove using clicker training. Please contact me for a chat about how I can help you achieve your goals using clicker training.
There are many books out there but Karen Pryor is the clicker training guru so is an excellent place to start.
Buy a clicker from your local pet shop or from Amazon.