Clicker-Training Your Puppy
Updated: Mar 24, 2018
Training your puppy with a clicker is one of the most effective and easy ways to teach him how to behave. It is also the most humane way to train a dog because it centers on positive reinforcement rather than punishment. The process is a fairly simple one of clicking when your puppy exhibits the behaviors that you request and then rewarding him with a treat and positive words.
Clicker training has been used on a wide variety of animals, beginning with pigeons and including dogs, whales, bears, lions, and even cats. For all of these animals the process is the same, a verbal command is added to a click and eventually the animal does not need the click anymore, just the verbal cue. It is a form of conditioning your dog to do the things that you want him to do and to avoid behaviors that you do not like. The clicker is a tool that helps to train your dog; it does not do the training for you. However, the use of a clicker over other forms of training has been shown to reduce, by about a third, the amount of time it takes to train.
The clicker is a tiny toy that you can purchase at any pet store. They are very inexpensive, so buy a few and keep them on hand at all times. Teach each member of the family how to use the clicker properly to train your puppy. Other than the clicker you will need a steady supply of treats to help get your training off the ground.
Clicker training can be used to teach any sort of behavior. Here is an example of how to train your puppy to sit with a clicker. Teaching a dog to sit is an essential part of helping him understand who is in charge in the household and how he should behave to get your attention.
Training Your Puppy To Sit With A Clicker
Choose your cue word or phrase and a hand motion that will accompany it. ‘Sit’ is a good phrase, for obvious reasons. You will also want a hand motion, perhaps and open hand, with your palm facing down making a downward, gentle motion.
Give your puppy the command and the hand motion at the same time. You will probably have to do this repeatedly to get the puppy to actually sit. He may even need some gentle assistance placing his hind on the floor.
- As soon as your puppy sits, click the behavior and then give him a treat. The click indicates to him that he has done the right thing. He hears the cue, does the behavior and hears the click, and gets a treat.
Repeat the training with your puppy regularly for several weeks. He will not get it the first time and will need it to be done repeatedly until he understands the verbal and visual cue to sit.
- After several days of training, do not always reward him with a treat. Sometimes just give him verbal praise and some love in the form of a pat on the head and a ‘good boy.’ He has to learn to do the requested behaviors even if he is not rewarded with a food treat.
- Eventually you will be able to request behaviors without the clicker. Your dog should quickly learn to respond to your visual cue. He will even learn to respond to just your physical cue as long as you have maintained consistency in those cues.
Clicker training can be used to teach your dog all kinds of tricks and behaviors. Your dog will be able to sit, lie down, and even go inside the kennel with the use of a clicker. It can all be accomplished without ever having to punish your dog or to hit or otherwise demoralize him. Dogs, like children react to your attention whether it is negative or positive reinforcement. When your puppy does well he is rewarded with affection and a treat. When he does not do what you want he gets nothing. When he exhibits behaviors that you do not want, ignore him and those behaviors will go away.
Puppies are like sponges, you can train them to do anything you want. Some people train their dogs to ring a bell when they want to be let out or let in to the house. You can train him to sit next to his food and wait until you give him permission to eat. The more time you spend training your dog the more he will enjoy learning new things because he will know that he has pleased you.