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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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First time getting a dog? You need these facts

We all love pets, hence our tendency to go the extra mile to make them comfortable. Like getting a dog trainer to assist us in handling our dogs. Below are some facts you need to know if you’re getting a dog for the first time;

• Adopting a dog beats buying
Adopting dogs comes across as a sound cost-cutting measure since pets aren’t acquired cheaply. It presents the perfect opportunity to look after their welfare. There are so many adorable abandoned dogs out there in need of a home. Why not guarantee at least one creature a safe shelter before buying puppies?

• Get a dog that matches you
Obviously, there’s a dog for every lifestyle and environment, and instinctively dog breeds behave differently. Before adopting or buying a dog, assess its natural predispositions and needs as well as your expectations in accordance with your lifestyle. For instance, a Chihuahua may add aesthetic beauty to your home while a German shepherd enhances security around the place.

• Complement dog training with feeding
Picture you and your dog bonding over the best healthy dog treats available in the market. It’s ideal to practice training with treats when your dog is young as it guarantees your dog’s responsiveness. There are treats for dogs on a diet and grain free dog treats – what’s more, the best dog treats for huskies and the best dog treats for training German shepherds are completely different. Pick a treat that suits your dog to a T.

• The dog trainer is your primary point of reference for training
In this information age, there’s always a tendency to supplement the dog trainer’s work with tips read on online forums. Well, while seemingly harmless, you might end up confusing your dog and disrupting all progress made in basic dog training commands.

Instead, enforce your dog trainer’s manual and instructions while at home. Such routines speed up the learning process for the pet. Discuss tips you pick up online with the trainer first to determine their suitability.

• Go for nutritious grain free meals
The benefits of grain free treats range from the prevalence of vitamin E and omega 3,6,9 for dogs to their ability to satisfy the nutritional needs of puppies more than 16 weeks old. The main ingredients in these treats are potatoes and chicken blend, turkey, and duck. Remember, puppies begin training at this age, and they need lots of energy and concentration. Unlike junk dog meals, these treats ensure steady weight gain and the general health of your dog.

• Dog accessories can cause injury
At times, we get our dogs a new accessory as a treat – a leash, cord or another toy. Sadly, some of these items don’t meet safety standards and may end up injuring not only your beloved pet but also the trainer. Let your dog trainer recommend or pick out appropriate dog accessories.

• Your dog is unfit
A physically fit dog is usually active and responsive to the trainer. However, an untrained, unfit dog exhibits a lethargic attitude especially in learning new commands. In most cases, a trainer’s only choice is to schedule some more training hours until the dog gets fit and catches up. The dog owner also has to engage the pet in more physical activity in between training sessions.

• Come for dog training too
If we’re going to train the dog so it can get used to the owner’s commands, why not teach the owner to respond to its needs? Unknown to most owners, their inexperience to dog needs and behaviour can simply aggravate the dog’s misconduct. A trainer will insist on coaching the caregiver in what to do in a range of circumstances so that they can have an improved relationship with the trained companion.

• Dogs are social animals
Some owners tend to cage and lock down their pets for their safety. Somehow, they’re expected to thrive in such confinement. But dogs are the polar opposite. Just like us, they feel the need to establish relationships with other dogs and humans. Only then do they learn to be friendly while adapting to their environment and growing their unique personality. A socialised dog fares amazingly well in training.

• Be patient
Dog training is a repetitive and challenging task. The dog owner has to be patient with the trainer and his pet companion. Training follows procedural schedules, each command consuming ample time while preparing the dog for the next step.

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Top four positive reinforcement dog training tips

Four of the best positive reinforcement dog training tips

Positive reinforcement is one of the most rewarding dog training procedures. It involves praising and rewarding the dog every time it follows commands. Dogs generally yearn for praise and attention from their masters, and whenever they are rewarded for doing something, they are more than likely to repeat the same. Here are four invaluable positive reinforcement tips that will improve the behaviour and morale of your dog.

1. Different training procedures for different dog breeds

Different dog species react best to different training methods, foods and even surroundings. Although the issue of food and environment might be widely known, the phenomenon of training procedures is relatively new and thus unknown to many. A keen trainer might notice that even female breeds react differently to various commands compared to their male counterparts. Therefore, when carrying out training sessions, it is imperative to keenly observe reactions from specific animals to understand the commands that work best for them.

2. Praise and reward good behaviour, and don’t be shy to admonish bad habits

Unlike humans, dogs are animals that live in the moment. During training sessions, if the dog successfully follows through a command, however simple it might be, the trainer should be prompt in encouraging the dog. It can be as simple as patting the animal in good humour or giving it treats. It is very important to make sure that the dog understands why they are being praised, as this encourages them to keep repeating the action, which will ultimately become a habit.

On the other hand, if the animal disobeys a command, you should express the disappointment swiftly and immediately. The dog should not be allowed to ignore even the simplest of commands, as this will ultimately develop into a bad routine.

Take the example of training a housedog. The dog ought to know precisely where to poop. When it relieves itself there, make sure to praise it. This will encourage it to keep the command in mind and repeat the same even when you are absent. However, should it relieve itself at an inappropriate place, do not save your resentment for later. Instead, make sure the dog understands your frustrations immediately in order to make him/her more observant in future.

3. Be patient

It is true that dogs are our best friends, but they are not nearly as intelligent as we are. You might expect a puppy to learn as fast as a little child might, but that is not the case. Even when they learn a command, they are prone to forgetting it until they are well conversant with it. Therefore, when training a dog, patience is a virtue that needs to be observed keenly.

For instance, if you issue a command and the dog is reluctant to follow, do not ignore it or move to another exercise. Make sure you stick there until the instruction is adhered to before moving along. It is one way to ensure that the dog respects your instructions at all times and without failure. Also, do not issue multiple commands in close succession as this might confuse the animal on what to follow. The best training should be gradual, moving along only when the trainer is satisfied with the progress and understanding of the dog.

4. Know when to give treats

The best motivational booster for dogs is training with treats. These may include toys, food, petting, and ruffling of their fur coats among others. However, it’s important to note that these treats should be timely and in reward of something good the dog does. The best way to go about it is to make sure the dog understands what the award is for, and this will significantly improve their concentration and morale. When training is over and you are satisfied with the dog’s progress, you can reward him/her with food, their favourite toy, or other niceties. Bounce and Bella have some of the best training treats available, they’re grain free and junk free so you be generous without worrying about your dog’s health – you can find out more here: grain free training treats.

In conclusion, it is essential to maintain specific commands for specific actions. If the dog easily identifies a particular code of communication, do not alter it because it will make it difficult for the dog to comprehend the instruction. The trainer ought to be consistent with the commands and keen on the little things that work for the dog.

Photo: Well done! by mripp licensed under Creative commons 2
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Top five common mistakes to avoid when training your dog

Top five common mistakes to avoid when training your dog

There is a huge amount of information available for the best way to train your dog, with many plans and strategy guides, all of which suggest something different. While you might be overwhelmed by this sometimes contradictory information, it is important to know that the things not to do when dog training are pretty much set in stone, whatever strategy you are using. These mistakes will cause frustration for both you and your dog and are likely to have a big impact on the effectiveness and efficiency of your training. Here are some of the biggest mistakes that you must avoid when training your dog, as compiled by our experts…

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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?

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Positive reinforcement tips for training dogs

Positive reinforcement tips for training dogs

Positive reinforcement, otherwise known as reward-based training or pain-free training is becoming more popular as the years go by. As dog owners, we’re quickly learning that dogs respond much quicker to positivity than negativity. Rewarding good behaviour and ignoring bad behaviour often gets results quickly, and soon you’ll find yourself enjoying the company of a well-behaved dog. So, where do you start?

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