How to Train Your Dogs with Clickers?


Clicker training dog

If you’re a pet owner, you’ve probably heard about clicker training already. It’s a nontraditional way of training your dog certain skills and tricks. For dog owners who’ve gotten used to teaching commands, a shift towards this kind of training may be awkward or confusing at first.

But training becomes easier as time goes by. If you’re curious about clicker training, then this is the right article for you. Here we talk about how to clicker train your dog. Read on for more information.

What is Clicker Training for Dogs?

Clicker training uses a clicker to train your dogs to repeat good behavior and actions, and later, to repeat that behavior and actions when cued. It’s more of positive reinforcement rather than an obedience training type of teaching method.

What Materials or Aids Do You Need for Clicker Training?

You basically need just two things for clicker training your dog:

  • A clicker, and
  • Treats or Rewards

A clicker looks like a small, square box made of plastic. There’s a metal strip inside of it. This tool makes a clicking sound each time you press it.

Clicker training dog
Getty Images

Treats or rewards are prizes you give to your dog to appreciate its good behavior and action. You’d want to treat it with rewards that it likes. So get to know your dog and know what it loves to eat and play with. That way, your dog will look forward to hearing that click. And it will do every good behavior and act to earn a reward.

Is Clicker Expensive?

Most pet stores will have a clicker on sale. So this typically runs on the cheaper side. It’s not hard to find a clicker for your dog. Just ask a friendly staff when you shop at the pet store.

Isn’t Frequent Rewarding Expensive on the Budget?

It can be if you’re too elaborate on choosing your treats. Use smaller types and quantities. Like, instead of handing out one slice of meat to your dog, how about cutting that up into smaller bite-sized pieces?

Dog clicker training
Getty Images

Is Using a Clicker Better Than Using a Command Word to Train Your Dog?

In some ways, yes. Here are some reasons why:

  • Clicking is faster than saying a command word.
  • Clicking is unique and easy to distinguish for your dog.
  • Clicking is a faster way to train your dog compared to commanding.

You just need to click and the dog hears it instantly. With command words, the time-lapse is longer with speech. A click sound is constant and unique. As for command words, dogs have to listen for each word sound and recognize it before your pet can respond accordingly.

Lastly, clicking focuses on rewarding good behavior rather than making your dog do something (or stop doing something). And from experience, pet owners would know how easier it is to make a dog repeat behavior rather than to stop it from doing something.

Clicker dog training
Melounix / Shutterstock

How Do You Clicker Train Your Dog?

Clicker training a pet dog is a process. It may be short or long, depending on how consistent and prompt you are with your clicking. Here are steps to clicker train your dog.

  1. When you’re ready to clicker train, bring it out and let your dog see the clicker.
  2. Watch for positive behavior or act and click when you see your dog do it. Remember to click as your pet is doing it.
  3. Immediately reward with a treat your dog will surely like.
  4. As you end the clicker training session, let the dog see you put the clicker away.

It’s that simple. In time, your dog will realize that you make the clicking sound when it does something you like. In this instance, the clicker now acts as a conditioned reinforcer.

When it comes to giving the reward, you should immediately give it after the clicking sound. At times, the dog may be a bit far away when you spot good behavior and press the clicker. That’s okay. Just approach your dog or make it come to you. Then give the treat.

It’s important to follow each click with a treat. Otherwise, the dog will not catch on. And the clicker will fail to work.

Training a dog with a clicker

How Do You Transition from Using a Clicker to Using a Cue Word or Signal?

You actually have an option to move from clicker use to using a cue or signal. How do you do that?

  • First, work at one command at a time. If you want your dog to learn to sit on cue, focus on that first.
  • Every time you see your dog sit on its own, be quick to click and reward.
  • When your dog starts repeating it to earn treats, it’s time to start introducing the cue.
  • Say the cue word or signal. Then praise your pet and reward.

Final Thoughts

Clicker training is an effective way to train your dog towards good behavior and learned skills. Just be quick in clicking and rewarding. This way your dog realizes what good behavior it has done. And your pet realizes that good behavior will always be rewarded.


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