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Is clicker training the best way to train your dog?

Is clicker training the best way to train your dog?

Dog training is an important part of pet ownership. It’s what you need to do to make sure your dog is well behaved and doesn’t get involved in unsafe mischief.

It’s also a great way to bond with your pet – and ensure that they always respond to your call.

But with so many different ways of training about – how do you know which is the best, and safest way to train your dog?

For some of you, clicker training could be the solution you’ve been searching for. To find out if it’s right for you, we’ve created this guide of what it is, the pros and cons and how to get the best from your training.

So, what does a dog clicker do?

A dog clicker does what it sounds like. It clicks.

But that’s not what dog clicker training is about. The clicker itself doesn’t affect the dog – it’s just used as a signal.

The whole training concept is a lot simpler than it appears.

First, your dog does something good. Second, you click the clicker. Third, you give your dog a treat.

What this does is get your dog to understand their own behaviour. They’ll start to learn that certain actions that they do mean they get rewarded. And, because they want more rewards, they’ll keep searching and trying to do the same action over and over again.

The clicker signals to your dog that they’re about to receive a treat – and is a quick affirmation that their last action was a good one. It helps drive home these lessons and forms a cognitive link that the treat they’re getting is because of something they did right.

Does it need to be a clicker sound?

Clicker training works on the fundamental method that good behaviour is recognised and rewarded.

That doesn’t necessarily mean that the clicker needs to be the signal you use on your dogs.

The signal can be any number of things instead. It could even be your voice, telling them simple praises like “yes”, “good boy” or “good girl”.

But, when it comes to training your dog – consistency is key. If you choose to use something else, you need to use it all the time in your training. This way, your dog can quickly and easily recognise their good behaviour – making their training as easy as possible.

If you use voice commands or other signals, this can easily get confusing and will be difficult if your partner or family member needs to reward your dog as well.

So, a clicker makes things easier and consistent. It can also be used by anyone and isn’t a sound that is replicated easily, so your dog won’t get cues from the wrong sources.

Choosing the best treats as rewards

You want to reward the right behaviours for your dog. That doesn’t mean you want to be giving them bad, unhealthy treats that will damage their well being.

You want the best for your dog. That means that you need the best treats available when training – giving them something they’ll love and will help take care of them.

Looking for the best dog treats for dogs?

We understand what you’re looking for. That’s why we’ve specially developed our own brand of dog training treats.

Incredibly high quality, our treats are made from freshly prepared chicken, pure duck and turkey meat, potatoes and gravy. All, delicious and nutritionally selected ingredients that your dog won’t be able to get enough of. All, for a price that won’t break the bank.

They’re also packed full of nutrients and vitamins that your furry friend needs. This includes vitamin e and omega 3 6 9 for dogs, which helps their muscles and circulatory system perform at their best. It also helps your dogs heal from any injuries and keep their coats shiny, healthy and free from any harmful conditions.

We have safe puppy treats for training as well as treats for dogs who are on diets. What’s more, they’re completely grain free dog treats. This is incredibly important as dogs can’t fully ingest grain, keeping your dog happier and healthier.

Ready to start your clicker training with nutritional, healthy treats your dog will love? Buy our dog training treats today.

Photo: Happy Dog by tedmurphy licensed under Creative commons 4
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The pros and cons of clicker training

Clicker and Grain Free Poultry Treats

The pros and cons of clicker training

The clicker training technique is one of the most widely used dog training methods in the world.

As with all training techniques, there are some limitations to the method. With so many different explanations and techniques by dog trainers and experts for using a clicker, it’s no wonder that it can sometimes be confusing for beginners just starting to use a clicker.

In the majority of cases, it’s the human factor and the way the clicker is being used that leads to problems and complications when training your dog.

Make sure you understand why you are clicking

Only once you know and understand why you are clicking will your dog begin to understand your command and be able to conclude what behaviour is being rewarded.

Be aware of your environment

All animals, and dogs, in particular, are very sensitive to the environment they are in. To get the most out of clicker training, it’s important to limit the environmental impact on your dog by carefully managing and arranging the area you conduct your training. As with most correctional training, if used incorrectly, unsuccessful clicker training can cause your dog to have unintended behaviours.

The pros and cons of clicker training for your dog

If carried out correctly, the benefits of clicker training can be substantial and include:

  • Clicker training helps your dog learn commands faster as the click provides instant positive feedback for your dog. The click explains in clear terms what was expected and which behaviour is being reinforced and your dog is being rewarded for.
  • Clicker training is reward based. Small grain free training treats can allow for much longer sessions than training that does not reinforce desired behaviour with a reward.
  • Clicker training is widely regarded as the best training technique for helping to build a strong bond and relationship between the dog and the trainer.
  • You can command your dog to complete numerous repetitions of the same activity without a slide in interest or motivation.

The cons and most common complications and limitations of clicker training:

  • If clicker training is not conducted correctly, particularly the phase when you transition from continuous clicker reward to inconsistent and then random reward reinforcement, or if your dog has a low interest in the reward being offered, then the desired behaviour being reinforced is more likely to be forgotten without the prolonged use of the reward.
  • Clicker training is based on a reward for the desired behaviour. If your dog has a low interest in food or treats and you can’t find a reward that your dog values enough, you may encounter some difficulty when using clicker training.

Find out More with the FREE ‘Dog Clicker Training’ ebook

If you think clicker training might be for you have a look at Bounce and Bella’s Dog Clickers – they all come with a free ‘dog clicker training’ ebook.

Clicker and Grain Free Poultry Treats
Clicker and Grain Free Poultry Treats and FREE ebook ‘Dog Clicker Training’

‘Dog Clicker Training’ eBook Sample:

How to Use a Dog Clicker

Using a dog clicker is simple, but you need to be clear to follow the simple steps carefully so that the message is clear for your dog. If you are uncertain and use the clicker inappropriately then you will find that your dog is confused. Remember that your dog can only learn from what you teach them and try to be consistent with your use at all times. This will make it far easier for your dog to understand and follow your training.

Teach Your Dog to Associate a Click With a Reward

The first step in using a clicker to train a dog is in teaching them to associate a click with a reward. You can do this very simply by taking a handful of treats in one hand and the clicker in the other. The dog does not need to do anything at this stage to ‘earn’ a reward. Click the dog clicker and give your dog one treat. You should then wait for a short period and then do the same again. Within 10 clicks your dog should be made aware that a click results in a reward. Wait for a few minutes and repeat the process. Your dog then should be certain what is meant by a click. Once this is done you will be ready to begin clicker training with your dog as it will now associate clicking with reward.

You can watch this in action here with Pam’s Dog Academy:

Click During the Action, Not Afterwards

The most important element in the use of a dog clicker is to click DURING the desired behaviour and not once it has been completed. The timing of the click is important because it reinforces the behaviour as a reward. The click is a congratulation for carrying out a behaviour that is good.

When you are click training your dog it will be common for your dog to stop a behaviour when you click at first. This is not uncommon and should not be alarming because the click will stop the behaviour so that they can get a treat. You can give the treat once the behaviour has stopped because it is the timing of the click that matters, not the timing of the treat. Remember that it is the click that counts as praise. The treat is simply used to reinforce this.

Always Follow a Click with a Treat

While the timing of the treat is not important in itself, it is important that you always follow a click with a treat. The click is a congratulatory sound that your dog will associate with a treat and this will keep them filled with a desire to please you. If you withdraw the treats then the reward will be diminished and the training will be lessened. If you run out of treats then you should stop using the clicker until you can get some more Bounce and Bella treats because the click must always be associated with a treat.

Remember that click training is a specific process that should be carried out for a short period of time only. It is not an ongoing process to be used at all times. If you are engaging in click training then use the clicker and give the treats. If you are not engaging in click training then don’t use the clicker at all. You can still reward good behaviour with treats when you are not using the clicker, but you should never use the clicker outside of training.

Teach Your Dog That Responding to You Earns Treats

The most basic skill to teach your dog with clicker training is that responding to you earns rewards. This is a hugely important skill to teach your dog because this gives you control. If your dog ignores a command then your dog is not under control, so you need to instill the understanding that listening to you is a good thing to do.

To do this you should use commands to communicate to your dog. When the dog responds to your command then you should click and give your dog a treat. If your dog does not respond to your command then you do not click and your dog does not get a treat. Your dog will very quickly learn to understand that listening to you is a good thing. The most important element here is to only click when the dog responds. Wait until the dog returns to you or obeys your command and click while the behaviour is being carried out. This will reinforce good behaviours and in doing so will stamp out bad behaviours.

More from the ebook …

  • Use the Clicker to Reinforce Behaviour
  • Clicker to Get Your Dog’s Attention
  • Clicker and Punishment
  • How to Develop New Behaviours
  • Teach in Small Steps
  • Replacing the Click
  • Never Stop Rewarding
  • Never Stop Training

If you think clicker training might be for you have a look at Bounce and Bella’s Dog Clickers – they all come with a free ‘dog clicker training’ ebook.

Clicker and Grain Free Poultry Treats
Clicker and Grain Free Poultry Treats and FREE ebook ‘Dog Clicker Training’

Dog Clicker
Dog Clicker and Grain Free Poultry Treats
Dog Clicker and Grain Free Fish Treats

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What exactly is clicker training?

dog clicker training

What exactly is clicker training?

There are many forms of training with treats that dog owners may wish to try, with clicker training being one of the most popular. The name refers to the handheld mechanical clicker used by the trainer: it’s clicked when the dog displays the exact behaviour that the trainer is looking for, and a treat is given straight after.

How does it work?

Continue reading What exactly is clicker training?