Whether you just brought home a new puppy, adopted an older dog, or have multiple dogs, the clicker for dog training is something you likely have heard of.
If you’re curious about how to use the clicker for dog training, then look no further because, in this article, we dive deep into how to use the clicker for dog training and why clicker training works so well for training any dog!
What Is A “Clicker” For Dog Training
The “clicker” In dog training is nothing more than a small device that emits the sound of a “click.”
On its own, the sound of the click from the clicker means nothing to a dog but a sound that irrelevant until we go through the process of giving the sound of the “click meaning”
Classical Conditioning and Clicker Training
The process by which we begin to give the sound of the click meaning is called “classical conditioning.”
Classical conditioning is short terms, is when a “stimulus” (in this case, the sound of the click) that previously had no meaning to your dog now predicts a reward.
Once the clicker’s sound is classically conditioned, when your dog hears the clicker’s sound, your dog will associate whatever he/she is doing at the moment with the reward being given.
To dive deep into what classical conditioning is, please read our post on Classical Conditioning
Why The Clicker For Dog Training Works
The clicker works for training dogs because for a dog to associate a behavior with a reward, the dog must be rewarded in under one second of the behavior being performed.
As good of a dog trainer as you may be, no human will be able to reward a dog in under a second consistently.
When the clicker’s sound is classically conditioned, Instead of having to physically reward your dog in under a second to let your pup know whats he/she is being rewarded for. Instead, all you have to do is use the sound of the click to “capture” the moment in time that your dog performed the behavior.
See the difference?
Instead of physically rewarding your dog in under a second, you use the sound of the “click” to communicate with your dog what he/she is getting rewarded for.
How To Use The Clicker For Dog Training
To begin using the clicker for training your dog, you first have to give the sound of the clicker meaning. This is done by conditioning the sound of the click with food.
You can do this by simply performing a few repetitions of clicking the clicker and then following with a reward.
If you practice this for ten days, you’ll realize that on the eleventh day, the moment you click, your pup will immediately respond, looking for a reward. That is when your dog has been classically conditioned to the clicker.
Once the clicker’s sound has been classically conditioned, you can know to use the clicker to communicate to your dog whenever he/she is doing something you like.
For instance, if your pup is not jumping up on a guest and instead of sitting, you can “click” letting your dog know that’s he/she is getting rewarded for sitting instead of jumping on the guest.
Ultimately learning how to use the clicker for dog training shouldn’t be too difficult. The first step is always conditioning the clicker to signify that there is a reward coming.
Then the rest is easy as all you have to do is stay consistent and click whenever your dog performs a behavior you like.
Be sure to reward your pup for ensuring that the sound of the click doesn’t lose meaning.
So again, in simple terms, once the clicker has been classically conditioned, the sound lets your dog “whatever you were doing when you heard the click is what your getting rewarded for
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