If you are looking for a quick and modern method of training your dog, clicker training is for you. The most surprising thing about this training is that all the time your dog will think that you are playing with him, thus reducing the anxieties typically generated by dog trainers and some classic training strategies .
But that is not all! This technique also works for owners with little or no experience in training dogs. All you will need is a “clicker”. And don’t worry if you don’t have one on hand, actually all you need is something that makes a similar sound at the push of a button.
How does this method work?
This type of training is based on two conditioning classes:
Classical conditioning is one of the easiest and most common types of training. It refers to the instinctive responses that some dogs develop, produced by environmental stimuli.
This type of conditioning has to do with the development of new behaviors, without the use of stimuli or instinctive responses. It refers to those types of instinctive responses that dogs have in response to certain stimuli and that end in habits when strengthened through, for example, rewards and recognition.
The first thing you need to do to make the clicker method work is to get your dog to associate the clicker sound with something positive or enjoyable, such as a walk or food time.
Once you have managed to associate the click of the clicker with something positive, you need to start reinforcing certain behaviors, such as when your dog does something right, or something you want to do, activate the clicker and give him some rewards , such as candies or snacks.
Now, after reinforcing the positive behaviors by means of repetitions, you will also need to attach an order, such as a vocal order, to the clicker in order to successfully complete the training sequence. That way the next time you want your dog to give you his paw or sit down, the first thing you need to do is make him learn it without the voice cue. The best thing to do is to integrate this command as the dog carries out the order to get his reward. He will soon associate the order with the action performed and the reward.
Why not just give him the reward?
Many of you may be thinking that the clicker doesn’t matter at all during this training. However you are wrong. Through the use of the clicker you are indicating to the dog the exact moment in which he does something appropriate, thus making sure that he identifies precisely the action you want to carry out. If you simply reward him, he will hardly understand exactly what you wanted him to do.
Advantages of clicker training
Probably the greatest advantage of this method is on a psychological level for the dog, since by understanding what he is doing correctly he acquires a certain degree of awareness of his actions, thus performing them not only out of habit, but by his own decision. It also ensures that the behaviors that the dog learns have a longer duration, given that it develops its own consciousness about its actions and is therefore motivated to learn new behaviors, stimulating it to obtain new rewards.
Another substantial advantage to be attributed to this type of training is the total elimination of physical manipulation, strongly emphasizing positive reinforcement, indirectly avoiding situations of involuntary violence against your pet. You can also perform the training without using the collar.
Clicker training is excellent for teaching your dog behaviors or tricks that cannot be forced. For example, if you want your dog to sneeze on command, you have to seize the moment he does it naturally and activate the clicker. By repeating this sound at the appropriate time, accompanied by rewards, the dog will associate the sneeze with the sound, in the way we have already explained.
This method does not have many disadvantages. The only time this method can fail is when trainers do not continue to reinforce the learned behaviors, weakening the learning process over time. So while it is a very simple method, it will require a lot of patience on your part to get good results.
We invite you to try this method, it is reliable and more fun for your dog than traditional ones. You will see the results immediately and, if you do as we have told you, they will be lasting.