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Clicker Training Help 101

30 June 2011 504 views No Comment

If you are a new owner trying to train your pet, the clicker training method can prove to be quite useful, more so since it has recently gained popularity among dog trainers throughout the country.  The method consists of utilizing a clicker which is a small plastic box with a metallic button.  It makes a unique clicking sound if the button is pressed.  This technique is easy to implement and even similar to the conventional training method.

Begin by determining what regulations you want to enforce on your dog. Several behaviors like eating, barking, standing and sitting come naturally and easily to the dog.  Such actions just require reinforcement from your part so that you can make the dog obey you at the right time.  A few actions like that of shaking hands, rolling over or acting dead have to be taught to the dog.  Either way the clicker training method can be used to train your dog efficiently.Clicker Training for Your Dog

The basic principle of clicker training is that of operant conditioning, where you can associate the clicker sound to, say, a food which your dog likes.  Once you are familiar with the use of the clicker box, all you need to do is press the button to make your dog obey your instruction, provided he is able to relate the particular action with the clicking sound.  Your training has been successfully completed.

To understand the method more easily, let us assume that you are attempting to make your pup sit, you can playfully tempt it with a cookie, so that it will be inclined to assume a sitting position by resting its posterior upon the floor. You have to time the click in such a way that it coincides with the pup seating itself.  Now you can reward him with the cookie.  Repeat this process time and again and your pup will begin to associate food with the clicking sound, automatically assuming the sitting posture whenever you use the click box, till you no longer need to lure him with treats to make him sit.  Use a similar technique to train him in another behavior, but ensure that you press the button only when the animal offers you the required behavior; otherwise it will not be able to relate the clicking to anything, only getting confused.

Dogs are by nature smart animals and you should give your pet due credit for its cleverness.  Several trainers are known to employ negative reinforcement methods in addition to the clicker technique, though it does not work, since punishment often triggers unwanted behavior although intended purely to train a dog not to do so.

The clicker training technique, though largely successful, might not suit some kinds of dogs. In light of this fact,  it is advisable to determine which method suits your pet the best and use it optimally.

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