Clicker Training 101: How to Get Started with Your Dog
Training your new puppers is a major part of being a dog parent. For first-time dog owners, training may seem like a daunting prospect.
Puppies need structure, guidance, and routine to keep them on the straight and narrow. Plus, they need the promise of rewards and positive reinforcement to keep them motivated.
This is why clicker training is an extremely effective training method.
Let’s review clicker training 101: why we do it, how we do it, and how it may support your training process. Let’s get into it!
The Purpose of Clicker Training Dogs
Clicker training, also known as mark and reward training, is a training method that creates positive associations for dogs.
Clicker training dogs has been shown to strengthen positive reinforcement and make the process more efficient overall. A clicking sound is repeated with a command and then followed by a reward or treat. Over time, this conditions your pup to associate good behavior with happy outcomes.
Why it Works
For many dog training newcomers, it’s easy to get wrapped up in what your dog isn’t doing right. With a clicker, you’re communicating to your dog what they are doing right. This way, they know the exact behavior that is getting rewarded. This makes things clearer to your pup, and they will then adjust their behavior accordingly!
Clicker Training for Dogs 101
One of the simpler training methods to implement, clicker training for dogs is easy for beginners. Follow these helpful tips to begin the process with your fur baby:
“Load” the Clicker
The idea behind “loading” the clicker is simply to help your dog get acquainted with the sound. Without the positive association of a treat, how would your pup recognize or understand the meaning of the sound? Load the clicker by clicking, then immediately offer a treat. Repeat this process 10-20 times as necessary.
Lure and Reward
Use a tempting treat to invite your dog into the desired behavior. Then, once fulfilled, be sure to “click” after every successful attempt.
Use Baby Steps
Start slow. Just as you’re learning, so is your puppy! Don’t expect your dog to achieve everything in one training session.
Reinforce Positive Behavior
Be sure to continuously use the clicker to inform your dog when they’ve got it “right.” For instance, if you see your dog lying down quietly when the doorbell rings, click, then treat. Or, if you notice your dog waiting patiently for their meal without jumping on you, click, then treat. Over time, this process will become second nature to you and your fur baby alike.
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