Training Your Dog With a Clicker
Before you can successfully clicker train your dog, your dog needs to know what the clicker means. A single click signifies that the canine has completed a task or command successfully – but getting your hardworking pooch to understand this connection might take a little bit of time and patient training. Don’t worry, you can train your dog to love the clicker in just a few simple steps!
Charging the Clicker Step by Step
Before clicker training can be successful, you have to “charge” the clicker. This means that you are going to build a positive association between the clicker and a reward. A reward can be anything: praise, play, petting, food… anything that your dog associates with good things. Small healthy treats are one of the most effective and easy ways to train your dog to make the “click = good” association because they can be given quickly without interrupting the flow of training.
Once you have your treats (or other reward) together, you are ready to “charge” or “prime” the clicker. This part is easy! Make sure that your canine has exercised and is ready to concentrate, and then put him in a solid sit position. Now do a quick click and give a treat. Simply repeat this click-and-treat process a few times until your pup begins to visually anticipate the treat after each click. This anticipation means that your dog has made the connection.
If the pooch gets restless or gets out of the seated position, just stop and try again later. Never reprimand a canine during this critical dog training process.
Ideally, going through the process to train your dog to love the clicker should only be a onetime occurrence. After your dog associates the clicker with a reward, you will cease giving free treats – every single treat must be earned by completing a command. After each successful command, your dog will hear that “click” and anticipate a treat or reward. Soon, just hearing the “click” will be reward enough, and eventually you can phase out the clicker until you need to train your dog something new.
Please remember, this is just a quick guide on how to train your dog to love the clicker – but loving the clicker is just the very beginning. Clicker training is an advanced form of operant conditioning, a modern science-based positive training technique that produces wonderful results when taken seriously. If you can train your dog to understand what the clicker means, you have already unlocked an entire world of potential worth exploring.