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?
The sound of the clicker means the dog can identify exactly which part of its behaviour is being rewarded, connecting its treat with a specific action. Clicks can work far more effectively than, for example, choosing a word as a command: while the dog could possibly hear that word in a different situation (which would cloud its association with the action being trained), the meaning of the click is always positive, and always directed at the dog.
Clicker training is a reward-based method of animal training – there is no punishment for “getting it wrong”. As soon as the dog performs the right action – sitting, raising its paw, lying down or whatever else is being trained – the trainer clicks immediately, then offers a reward. The dog will start to associate the click with the reward, meaning it’ll start to repeat the action it was performing to get that click.
It’s important to choose healthy dog treats for training in this way, as a lengthy training session will need plenty of treats!
The best treats for clicker training are grain free and sugar free. Because they’ll be given frequently you need to ensure that the treats on offer are as healthy, low calorie and as close to a dog’s natural diet as possible. The result? A glossy coat, healthier skin, better breath, more energy, less shedding, less weight gain – and a well-trained dog too!