Clicker training for dogs can be an excellent way to speed up the progress of your obedience training when it’s done correctly. Your dog should begin to associate the sound of the clicker with doing a good job.
Aside from helping you to reinforce a job well done after obeying a command, clicker training for dogs can also be a positive way to reinforce your dog’s place in the pack hierarchy.
When dogs are taught that it pleases their master to obey simple commands that are in line with their natural behaviors, they tend to be less aggressive, less stressed and much less likely to try and dominate you or guests to your home.
Beginning Your Clicker Training
At first, your dog will have no idea what the sound of the clicker means. To him, it’s just a sound. You will need to teach him to associate that sound with positive rewards.
The easiest way to do this is to call your dog’s name. The instant he turns to pay attention to you from whatever he’s doing, click the clicker and give your dog a tasty treat immediately.
Repeat this step two or three times and your dog will immediately realize that the sound of the clicker means he’s about to get a treat.
Moving Forward with Clicker Training
The next step is to increase the difficulty of command a little. Ask your dog to sit. If you haven’t taught your dog the ‘sit’ command yet, hold a treat just above his nose so his natural position will be to sit down and get a better look at the treat. The moment he sits, click the clicker and give him his treat.
Repeat this step two or three times. If your dog still isn’t getting the picture, don’t panic. You can try it again the next day, but don’t persist more than two or three times in a day or your dog’s attention will begin to wander.
Dog Clicker Training for Walking
When you next take your dog out for a walk, take your clicker and a handful of treats in your pocket or in a belt-bag. Ask your dog to ‘heel’. Once again, he’ll have no idea what this word means, so when he slows down to walk alongside you calmly, click the clicker and give him a treat.
If your dog is pulling at the lead, say in a harsh, abrupt tone “Ah Ah!” This is a tone dogs associate with their mother scolding them. Once he slows down, click the clicker again and give him a treat.
He’ll immediately begin to realize that even when you’re out walking, the sound of the clicker has the same effect when at home and he’ll begin to walk beside you waiting for the next click-sound and the next treat.
Advancing your Dog Clicker Training
Asking a dog to stay and not move while you’re doing other things can sometimes be tricky, but it’s an important command to learn.
Command your dog to ‘sit’. When he sits, don’t click the clicker. He hasn’t finished his exercise yet, so don’t give a reward. Once he’s sitting, tell him to ‘stay’. Give a hand signal with your palm out and hand up, kind of like a stop signal, and take one step backward.
It’s important to stand straight during this exercise with your shoulders back. Don’t hunch over or lean over your dog, no matter how small it is. As you take your step back, say ‘stay’ again and give the hand signal. Count to three and then click the clicker and immediately give your dog a treat.
This command can be repeated over longer distances and periods of time as your dog learns what it means to ‘stay.
Dog clicker training for dogs can be an excellent training tool. It’s quick and effective, but it does take a little patience to get it right.