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.
Who is Louis?
Louis is a 9 year old Jack Russell / Corgi cross. He is an old dog who loves to learn new tricks!
What is the training method?
- The training session used shaping. The end goal is defined (pull the tug to open the draw). Any initial step towards that goal is rewarded. Subsequent small steps towards the goal are rewarded until the end goal is reached.
- The cue (command) is only added once the behaviour is being reliably performed.
- The dog gets several breaks during the training session.
Louis learns to open a draw
- This is the first time Louis has been trained using a clicker. This video shows the process of him learning.
- Louis is very food motivated which is great for clicker training. Notice in the video how initially he is very distracted by the treats and by my hand. It is only towards the end of the session that he properly focuses on the task rather than where the food is.
- Louis gets frustrated a few times in the training session where he sits and looks at me, whines, or barks.
- The clicker is used as feedback during the training. My verbal feedback to Louis is minimal since he can easily get over-excited. Occasional verbal feedback of “good boy” is however given for breakthroughs.
- I guide Louis to the tug with my hand to help him, especially if he gets stuck. I gradually reduce this as the session progresses.
The treats used were Natures Menu (95% meat)
Do you and your dog want to learn clicker training?
Mike Garner is a dog trainer and behaviourist at Rainbow Dogs in Brighton & Hove, Sussex.
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