Clicker for dogs – what it is and how it works
Surely it has happened more than once to tell your pet that the behavior you just had was to your liking. Developing communication between your puppy and you is a beautiful and exciting process, although for some owners it is very frustrating since they can not achieve results.
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The basis of all communication is caring and patience, although it is also useful for us to understand how our pet thinks. In YourCatCareguide we will explain to you the use of a very interesting tool to improve communication with your pet and also strengthen your training, the clicker.
Continue reading this article and learn what the clicker for dogs is and how it works .
What is the clicker?
The clicker is a small box with a button that emits a sound each time you click on it. This instrument is a behavioral reinforcer , so every time the dog hears the “click” will realize that he has done something good. It is as if he told his pet “very well done” and he understood.
This behavior reinforcer helps us in two respects, on the one hand is a substitute for goodies(the food is not a positive reinforcement of behavior) and on the other, we can reward a spontaneous behavior of the dog.
Imagine you are in the park with your dog. Your dog is loose and a few feet away. Suddenly, a puppy appears jumping on top of his dog because he wants to play. Your dog sits down and patiently supports the smallest dog. You see this behavior and it means to your dog “very well, this behavior is very good”. Instead of hurrying to give your dog a treat, as it is likely that when it gets to him it is late, you can simply click the clicker button to reward him.
With the clicker you can also get closer to your pet and improve your communication, this instrument will help you to understand each other better. And do not forget that the best relationship you can have with a dog is based on affection.
Advantages of Dressage with Clicker
The clicker training presents a whole series of advantages that should take into account if you still have questions about your use. One of the most notable is that through this method the dog learns to pursue a purpose, not out of habit. In this way, the learning lasts longer because the dog is aware of the behavior and the action he is performing. In addition to this, the following points are highlighted:
- Simple : Its handling is very easy to perceive.
- Creativity : By facilitating communication between you and your puppy, it will be easier for you to teach him many tricks. Let your imagination fly and spend great moments teaching new orders to your pet.
- Stimulus : This type of learning makes your puppy more motivated and interested.
- Concentration : Food is a great booster, but sometimes our dog is too dependent on it and does not pay attention to exercise. With the clicker there is no such problem.
- Medium Distance Reinforcement : You can reward actions that your dog will always be on your side.
Load the clicker
Charging the clicker is no more than the process or exercise your puppy must perform to associate click sound with a prize .
The basic charge exercise is to sound the “click” and then give your dog a treat. To learn more about this process enter our article on loading the dog’s clicker into the dressage . It is important that before continuing with the clicker training make sure that this step has been correctly performed and your puppy has noticed how the clicker works.
Dressage example with clicker
Imagine that you want to teach your dog to pretend to be crying or that he is sad, that is, to put his paw in the face.
To do this, follow these steps :
- Choose a word to give that order. Remember that it must be a word that your dog does not listen to normally, otherwise it might confuse him and not make the training work.
- Put something on the dog’s nose that catches your eye. For example, a post-it.
- When he sees that he puts the paw to want to take it out, say the chosen word “triste”, for example.
- Then click on the clicker.
- When you are teaching a new order to the dog you can use small treats besides the clicker, so you will not forget and learn faster.
As you can see, this is a very fast exercise. Doing it just with treats can become more difficult for your puppy to learn.
Truths and lies about dressing with clicker
You can teach an exercise to the dog without even touching it: true .
With the clicker training you can teach him exercises without having to touch him or put on a leash.
You can get your dog perfectly trained without ever having put on a leash or leash: a lie.
Although you can teach the exercises without the need to put your dog on a leash, you will need a leash and leash for learning. This is necessary when you start practicing the exercises in places where there are many distractions, such as the street or in a park.
Either way, the leash and leash are only used as safety measures to prevent your dog from walking or car in dangerous areas, such as a road. They are not used as corrective or punitive methods.
You will have to reward your dog forever with food: a lie .
You can gradually eliminate food rewards with a variable reinforcement program and diversify reinforcers. Or, better yet, using reinforcers of everyday life.
An old dog can learn new tricks with the clicker training: true .
It does not matter how old your dog is. Both older dogs and puppies can learn from this technique. The only requirement is that your dog has the necessary strength to follow a training program.
Incorrect use of the clicker
Some trainers have the idea that the clicker is a kind of magic box that works without the need to give it food or provide games to the dog. These trainers have the habit of clicking several times without giving any reinforcer . So in your training sessions you hear a lot of “click-click-click-click-click”, but you do not see much reinforcement.
By doing this, the coaches nullify the value that the clicker has, since it does not serve to reinforce the behaviors of the dog. At best, this is a useless procedure that bothers but does not detract from training. In the worst case, the trainer focuses more on the tool than on training and does not progress.
What if I do not have a clicker?
The clicker is very useful, however it is not essential. If you do not have a clicker, you can replace it by clicking with your language or by using a short word.
Remember that you should use a short word that you do not use often so you do not confuse the dog. The sound you use in place of the click must be different from the canine obedience orders .
If you want to read more articles similar to Clicker for dogs – what is it and how it works , we recommend you to go to our Basic education section .
- Press only once the clicker for each action.
- Never use the clicker to get your attention, it could lose its positive reinforcing meaning.
- The time between positive action and sound should be very short, otherwise your pet will not understand.