Clicker training is currently the best method to teach your dog good behavior.
The principle of the clicker taring is quite simple. The moment your dog shows good behavior, click with your clicker and give him a reward. It is extremely important that this reward is always given.
Clicker training supplies
Before you start, you naturally want to know what it takes to do clicker training. Logical, because clicker training is not possible without the right equipment.
Actually, starting with clicker training is very simple, because you only need a clicker and a reward. As you will read later in the article, it is best to use the food that you already give to your dog, so you do not have to purchase any further.
When choosing a clicker it cannot easily go wrong. Just make sure you have a clicker without a volume control. Why this is not useful, we explain later in the article.
For convenience, we have created a top 3 that we think are excellent clickers.
It is also possible to purchase a reward bag, so you keep your pockets clean and your hands free.
Start with clicker training
You will start with clicker training, which is great because this is the best method to train a puppy or dog.
Just a few things out of the way before we start. There are a few views on the internet that are not correct:
- You can safely start with the clicker training before you have a clicker by shouting things like ‘well done’ and ‘yes’.
- You can also use the clicker for negative behavior, such as barking.
- Clicker training really cannot go wrong.
- You can start using your clicker from day 1.
All of the above are not true .
Allowing a dog to get used to ‘well done’ will only be unclear later.
Using a clicker for barking will get your dog to come up with a treat and associate barking with good behavior.
Incorrectly introducing a clicker immediately ensures that you can throw the clicker in the trash.
Starting with the clicker from day one can ensure that you have not yet found good food to reward the dog with.
What do you have to do if you want to start with clicker training?
It is first handy to ensure that you order a clicker so that it will soon be on the mat. You will eventually just need it. Do not take a clicker with volume control, the intention is consistency.
Second, we will learn what the dog wants to know for. Preferably you just use the food that your dog eats.
This part is therefore the most difficult part but certainly the most important. We want to make sure that your dog absolutely loves the food he normally eats.
Clicker training step by step: step 1
Hopefully you have already succeeded in making sure your dog loves his food and you can use one kibble as a treat.
But probably not.
That is why step one of the training also consists of feeding the dog without using the box.
You will need to train at the times when your dog normally eats. For example, you are going to feed your dog from your hand in the morning. One by one you give your dog a kibble so that he learns to appreciate his kibble.
Is this not possible? You just stop that exercise and stop feeding him at that time. So you should not punish your dog. Of course you will sit down again later to feed it from your hand.
This is a very important step that will take a lot of patience and will not involve a clicker at all. That is why there is also enough time to order the clicker.
Clicker training step by step: step 2
Now the easiest step, rewarding the dog when he hears the clicker.
We are now going to train the dog that after a click he will come directly to you to get the reward. Make sure you have a piece in your hand in advance and click on the clicker. Then give the reward to the dog.
Repeat this a few times in the morning and a few times in the evening to get the dog to react. Please note that you can train less with puppies than dogs. So you will have to be a little more patient and train longer with a puppy.
Although this is a fairly easy step, there are still a few things that can go wrong. Just a small list of points for attention:
- Use a clicker with one volume setting
- Be very quick when your dog comes to get the reward, don’t be late
- Always give a reward when you use the clicker
- Also give a reward if you use the clicker accidentally
- Do not start until you are sure that step 1 has been properly performed and really works
- Only use a clicker, do not get started with ‘well done’
Clicker training step by step: step 3
In step 3 we are going to expand step 2 and change a bit. We will no longer immediately give the food and we will also ask your dog for attention.
Of course we do this step by step .
Start by asking your dog’s attention by, for example, standing in front of him and waiting for eye contact. Note: we have to wait for eye contact, we don’t ask.
Once you have this eye contact, grab the reward and give it. Previously, you had to make sure that you had the food in your hand, but from now on you can safely grab it.
The time between clicking and rewarding may become longer and longer. You taught your dog that a reward is coming, so time has become less important as long as the reward is coming.
You try to make this step longer, both attention and time. Of course it is not the intention that your dog has to stare at you for a minute, this is unrealistic. We are talking about a few seconds here.
Have all these steps been successful? And do you have your dog’s full attention? Then test it!
An example of this is to click on a completely random click and see if you get your dog’s attention.
If this succeeds then you have completed a successful clicker training. Note: you should not abuse the clicker to attract attention. Remain consistent in use and use it only with desired behavior.
Step by step clicker training: the end
In fact, you have now done a successful clicker taring. However, it does not stop there.
You will have to keep training and you prefer to get rid of the food. Try converting the food to another reward such as a ball or other toy.
The benefits of clicker training
If you have read the piece carefully before, you can see that there are quite a few advantages of using a clicker.
- Still curious about (more) benefits of a clicker? We have listed them here:
- It is a form of training without negative effect (like punishment is)
- The clicker timing is very precise
- When performing the training properly it is very consistent, this is important for dogs
- You can easily reward any behavior so your dog will learn new exercises faster
- It makes for a super good relationship between owner and dog
The disadvantages of clicker training
Are there also disadvantages to be noted? Hell yes!
The disadvantages of a clicker training are:
- Forgetting the clicker
- It is not an easy training, requires a lot of patience