Dog Training with a Clicker – A Beginner’s Guide

Many dog training experts use a clicker to mark and reward good behavior. Referred to as clicker training, the approach relies on positive reinforcement – which is considered to be both effective and humane.

You can use a clicker to teach your four-legged family member basic commands, new skills and even complicated tricks. To do so, click it at the exact moment your dog does what you want, then immediately follow the sound with a tasty treat. If you’d like to give clicker training a try, reading this guide could help you accomplish your desired results.

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Why Clicker Training Works

Dogs repeat behaviors that are rewarded – and this can backfire if it isn’t quite clear what specific action is being rewarded. This is where using a clicker helps, as the sound generated marks the desired behavior.

Clicker training is effective because dogs come to associate the clicking sound with the treat that follows, and this connection enables them to more easily understand what is expected. That being the case, dog training with a clicker can allow for a quicker acquisition of skills.

Introducing the Clicker

Dog training clickers come in a range of styles, and you can choose a handheld model, one with a wrist strap or a leash with a built-in click device. Or, simply download a clicker training app for your smartphone. Any of these can work, as long as you take the right approach.

To get started, dog training experts recommend that you have plenty of bite-sized treats within easy reach. Select a room that is quiet and free of distractions, then bring out the clicker.

Click it once, then give your dog a treat right away. Repeat this process a few times until the click grabs their attention, and you’ll be ready to focus on the behaviors and skills you’d like to teach.

Tips for Clicker Training

As with any dog training method, using a clicker doesn’t guarantee success. For the best chance at getting great results, keep these tips in mind:

  • Timing the clicks properly is crucial to ensuring that your dog understand exactly what behavior is being rewarded
  • In the early stages, every click – even accidental clicks – should be accompanied by a reward to prevent confusion
  • As you’ll be offering lots of treats during each training session, make sure to use bite-sized morsels
  • Once your dog has mastered a new behavior or skill, phase out the clicker and the rewards

Dog training can be rather challenging, even with the use of a clicker. If you’re struggling to get your pooch to learn, the professional team at The Driven Dog can help.

We’ve been working with pet parents in southern California area for more than a decade. Our Long Beach dog trainers offer group classes, board-and-train boot camp programs and private training sessions. For more information on our services and our approach to dog training, contact our office and schedule a consultation today.