How Does Clicker Training Works?
Clicker training is one of the most popular forms of training in the world. There are many reasons for it’s popularity:
1) It works!
Clickers have been used successfully in almost every type of animal, from dogs to cats. They can even be effective with very young puppies. However, there are some drawbacks:
2) You need to train them yourself!
If you don’t have a clicker, or if your dog doesn’t like using one, then clicker training may not work for you.
3) Some dogs hate clicking!
While some dogs love it (and they do great with it), others just don’t respond well at all. Many times trainers will use positive reinforcement such as food or praise instead of clicking. These methods are less likely to cause problems in certain breeds of dogs, but they aren’t always successful either.
4) Dogs learn faster than humans!
Sometimes it takes weeks before a dog learns something new. With clicker training, you can teach your dog instantly.
5) It’s fun!
Clicker training is often considered “fun” compared to other types of training. Many people enjoy doing it because they feel good afterwards. Of course, there are those who don’t like the sound of clicking at all and prefer other methods of teaching their pets.
So, to sum it all up, clicker training can be a great way to bond with your dog. It’s a wonderful way to teach them new tricks and it can even help them to behave better. In most cases, dogs absolutely love it. If you don’t like the sound of the clicker, or if you’re worried that your dog won’t respond well, then you might want to try another method of training instead.
When To Stop Clicker Training?
The beginning of dog training is very exciting. You’ll see so much improvement in your dog in such a short period of time! It’s easy to get caught up in the moment and continue to use the clicker every time you want your dog to do something. However, as you (and your dog) get more comfortable with this new method of training, it’s best to slow down a little bit.
The truth is, you really don’t need the clicker at all after your dog has learned what it means. There are going to be times when you want your dog to do something but you can’t get your clicker out in time, such as when you’re out for a walk. It’s also arrogant to think that your dog needs to hear that clicking sound in order to know that he did something right.
The clicker is meant to be a marker. It tells the dog that he’s done something right, and now he’s going to get a reward. If you’re always consistent with the rewards (treats, toys, affection, etc…) then your dog will learn to associate the action with the reward, even if you don’t use the clicker.
After all, the clicker isn’t always around, but you’ll always give your dog treats anyway, right?
There will be a point when you don’t need to use the clicker at all anymore. When your dog consistently obeys your commands and responds to the markers that you’re giving him, then you can throw away the clicker for good. However, there’s no reason to do this straight away. Many dog owners continue to use the clicker for years after training because they find it helps reinforce the behavior. If it’s not broken, then there’s no need to fix it!
What To Do Next
Now that you have a good understanding of how to use a clicker, you’re ready to move on to the next step in dog training. Before you start learning new tricks, it’s important to go back and review some of the basics. Your dog needs to know his name, the “Sit” command, and how to follow basic hand signals before you can start teaching him anything more complex.
As always, we recommend that you get a training book or DVD to help you with this process. There are plenty of great books on dog training available on Amazon, and we also recommend the DVD “The Art of Raising a Puppy”, which covers all the basics of dog training in an easy to understand manner.
Sources & references used in this article:
Robotic clicker training by F Kaplan, PY Oudeyer, E Kubinyi, A Miklósi – Robotics and Autonomous …, 2002 – Elsevier
Getting started: Clicker training for dogs by K Pryor – 2002 – old.behavior.org
Reaching the animal mind: clicker training and what it teaches us about all animals by K Pryor – 2009 – books.google.com
Can clicker training facilitate conditioning in dogs? by C Chiandetti, S Avella, E Fongaro, F Cerri – Applied Animal Behaviour …, 2016 – Elsevier
How clicker training works: comparing reinforcing, marking, and bridging hypotheses by LC Feng, TJ Howell, PC Bennett – Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 2016 – Elsevier
The thinking dog: Crossover to clicker training by GT Fisher – 2009 – books.google.com
Taming robots with clicker training: a solution for teaching complex behaviors by F Kaplan, PY Oudeyer, E Kubinyi… – Proceedings of the …, 2001 – academia.edu
Function matters: a review of terminological differences in applied and basic clicker training research by NR Dorey, DJ Cox – PeerJ, 2018 – peerj.com