Clicker Training Basics

Gemma | December 8th, 2009
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Training your pet is all about communicating with them effectively.

The more clearly you communicate with your pet the faster they will learn. One of the best training aids you can use to communicate clearly with your pet is a clicker.

Clickers allow you to clearly communicate with your dog. They can be used to send a clear message at the exact moment you need to communicate with your pet.

If you use it correctly the animal will recognise the clicker as a sign they are about to be rewarded for good behaviour.

There are many different clickers available and most are inexpensive devices that make a sound like a cricket.

They are usually small plastic boxes and can be taken anywere you go with your pet.

How Clickers Work

When you first get a clicker it will mean nothing to your dog. It’s up to you to give it meaning. To give the clicker a meaning to your dog you simply click it at the same time as giving your dog a tasty treat like a piece of chicken, dog biscuit etc. Food is actually one of the things called a “primary reinforcer”. These are things which you can use to condition or train your dog. Other primary reinforcers include affection, play and water.

When you click the clicker and give the dog food the clicker becomes a “secondary reinforcer”. The dog begins to associate the click with the food.

Now that your dog has linked food with the clicker you can begin using the clicker sound to train your dog. This is known as “operant conditioning”. A click now has a positive association in your dog’s mind.

When you are clicking you are sending a clear message to your dog that what they are doing is good. So if you want your dog to sit and you say “sit”, when they sit you click the clicker to tell them sitting is good.

The clicker can be used to make your dog repeat positive behavior which is the basis of training your dog. The more you use the clicker method the more effective it will become.

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