Clicker Training Pros & Consby Megan Smith
Many dog owners train their pet to obey basic commands, as well as perform tricks. Some people use clickers, small hand-held tools that make a clicking sound when pressed, to help with training. The goal is to teach the dog to associate a click with a good behavior. Give the dog a treat and click simultaneously when he obeys a command. The clicker will work well for some dogs and won't work for others.
An advantage to using the clicker is that the reward is instantaneous. You can press the clicker much more quickly than you can give the dog a treat or even say "good boy." As soon as the dog starts the good behavior, immediately click. That way, it's completely clear to the dog what you are rewarding.
When you instruct your dog using words, the dog picks up on the tone of voice. Inflections can be confusing to the dog. This is especially true if more than one person is training the dog. Inflection, emotion and tone of voice are eliminated with the clicker. It always sounds exactly the same, no matter who is using it.
One problem with the clicker is that some dogs become conditioned to it and won't obey commands without it. But the clicker is only meant to be a dog training tool. The dog should eventually be weaned off the clicker and taught to respond to voice commands. Once your dog begins consistently responding to the clicker, start using it less often.
Some people find the clicker inconvenient to use. Holding the clicker along with dog treats and a leash can be cumbersome. The clicker is meant to be used the instant a dog exhibits good behavior. Having to juggle several objects before clicking defeats the purpose.
- training-the-dog image by Ivonne Wierink from Fotolia.com