Many dog owners like to not only care for or play with their dogs but also train and teach them interesting things. Becoming a home dog trainer is not easy. You need the patience and knowledge to teach your pet. Teach them to follow commands and do what you say. There are many ways and tools for helping with training a dog. The clicker is one of the most popular tools. You can buy it in any pet shop. How do you use a clicker for dog training?
To get favorite things, dogs repeat their behaviors and gestures. Therefore, when trainers teach dogs, they focus on the rewards for dogs to see actions they want dogs to do. For instance, you often give your dog food after it lifts up a leg. Maybe it will lift up its leg to ask for food.
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What Is Clicker Training?
Learn how clicker training can help you better and more effectively communicate with your dog during training sessions.
Have you ever heard about clicker training? It’s also called mark training or reward training. Clicker training is a method of positive reinforcement that is used widely. In this article, you will know what a clicker is and its functions.
A clicker or marker is a tool supporting positive reinforcement training. The clicker is continuously linked with a reward or cheat. It will become a conditioned reinforcer.
Dog trainers often use a clicker which is a small box having a click button to create a sound. When you press the button, a sound goes out. This sound tells your dog that “Yes, that’s what I want you to do” and promises an award after the dog finishes the mission. The clicker marks the moment your dog does what you want. This tool makes the clicking sound faster and clearer than you say “Good dog”.
Clicker training is created by science theory and experiments. You can trust and apply it to your dog. Your dog learns from the clicker more easily than standard command-based training. This method is used to train multiple kinds of animals in a wide range of ages. Puppies like to play with the tool while old dogs learn new tricks.
This method is more effective than food treat alone. You should combine treats and clickers. To teach your dog the meaning of the click, you have to treat it with a food snack after it does what you want. It gradually realizes that doing what you want brings the treat. The pet focuses on getting the food by following your order. The dog will understand the positive effects of the clicking sound, so the clicker becomes a conditioned reinforcer.
You can buy clickers in any pet shop. If your puppy is scared of the clicking sound, you can click the tool in your pocket.
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How Do You Use A Clicker For Dog Training?
Clicker training is a process. You and your dog need time to gain the achievement. Be patient and play with it. Follow the steps below to train your dog using a clicker.
1. Catch Moment to Click
This first step isn’t related to your dog. You do this step, not your pet. The goal is familiar to the click when you see one thing that you want your dog to repeat. At first, you practice without your dog. You can ask a friend to bounce up a ball or do it by yourself. Click the clicker when the ball reaches the highest position. Repeat the action until you click it immediately as the ball reaches the highest position. Seize the moment and click in the right time.
2. Prepare Treat
Prepare delicious food that your dog loves. There are many types of good dog food or snacks. Choose a tasty food. Chicken is a good choice. You need to find the favorite food of your dog. Some dogs even like fruits like bananas or orange. Give your dog small pieces of food, so it can chew, swallow, and get ready to do what you ask for. The treat is the food your dog likes the most, so it has the motivation to do missions. Avoid using grapes, raisins, or currants because they’re harmful to the dog’s livers.
3. Charge Clicker
If your dog isn’t startled or scared of the clicker, you can ignore this step and move on to the next step. If your dog is shy or doesn’t get on well with you, this step will help to link the clicking sound with a treat. At first, the click doesn’t have any meaning to the pet. You have to make the dog understand the relation between the click and the treat. Remember that you mustn’t click the tool when the pet shows a behavior you don’t like.
If your pet friend is startled by the clicking sound, you can use your hand or click it in your pocket to reduce the sound. You need to click, treat, pause, and then repeat. Your dog will figure out that the click sound is a sign of a treat. Repeat 15 times. After a few hours, you practice again with your dog. When the pet starts to look for the treat after the click, you can move forward to the next step. You teach it how to make you click the clicker.
4. Teach a Behavior
This step is called Shaping. It’s essential to teach the dog that it can make you click and give it a treat. You teach it to learn from you.
You need a target. that can be a wooden dowel with a piece of tape on one end. Keep the target and clicker in the same hand. Move the target away from your dog. If the pet accesses the target and does some gestures like turning its head, sniffing, or flicking its ears, you will click and treat.
Hide the target while the pet enjoys its food. Then repeat 10 times. For the last time, you can give a big treat. Then take a rest and leave your dog feeling free. You can practice after a few hours or the next day.
5. Raise Criteria
Back to practice time, you can try more challenging tasks. When your dog shows a behavior, you ask for a more difficult one. For example, if the dog touches the target, you should wait for it to touch by the nose before you click and treat. Click every time the dog uses its nose to touch the target. If your dog seems to get tired, you can stop to practice.
Increase the difficulty level of the task. You can put the target in a place and ask the dog to move and touch it. Teach it to touch the target within a few seconds.
6. Remove Clicker
Practice more. However, you don’t treat every time. When the dog does a gesture you want, you can give a compliment instead of clicking the clicker and giving a piece of food. You gradually remove the treat and clicker, and only use the word like “Yes”.
You also need to practice in multiple locations so that your dog can adapt in different situations. Try a new location and more distractions. At first, it’s likely that your dog doesn’t know what to do in a new place. You have to teach it again. Be patient and practice more. As a result, your dog can do tricks everywhere.
Watch an instruction video:
Wrap It Up
How do you use a clicker for dog training? Clicker training is an effective method that is applied worldwide. It takes time to practice with your dogs in several places. The dog will understand that listening and doing what you want will bring treats. Gradually get rid of the clicker and treats, so you just need to use your word and your pet knows what to do.