Topic: Clicker Training
Ever wonder what the heck Clicker Training is? Well I will tell you that as a trainer, I have found it to be the best positive reinforcement technique for training dogs. The clicker is a small sound maker that allows you to mark the exact behavior you are looking for at the exact moment your dog offers it. This allows you to communicate “Yes, that is exactly what I was looking for and your treat is coming”. The clicker bridges the gap of time between your dog’s correct response and the reinforcement to come. It always means, “Yes, that’s it!” which makes it fun for your dog. Your dog then knows precisely what he/she is being rewarded for and aims to offer that behavior again in order to hear that uplifting click!
What’s the difference between just saying, “Yes” or “Good” and clicking, you ask? Well, I have found that when teaching any new behavior, the clicker gets the training done in almost HALF the time! When I’m teaching a Down with a clicker vs. a verbal marker (i.e.: Yes) there’s a difference of about 20 minutes for me. When I use the clicker, the dog knows precisely what he/she is getting that yummy hot dog for. With the verbal marker, my voice varies and changes and doesn’t have the consistent sound that the clicker offers. The dog may sometimes not think that the “Yes” was directed at him/her. We talk a lot around our dogs, so they are constantly channeling out all that information not intended for them. Confusion may set in and that slows down the training quite a bit. The clicker holds a steady beat of positive feedback for your dog and that type of consistency will make all the difference in your training program.
Train efficiently while still being 100% positive. Pick up a clicker and seek the advice of a trainer so you can start seeing rewarding results of your own.