Clicker training with a dog
Clicker training is beneficial both for training a dog and for learning tricks or in dog sports. We will show you how best to use the clicker and what you should pay attention to during training.
What is a clicker?
A clicker is a small plastic box with a metal plate inside. If this is pressed, it makes a metallic clicking sound. Clickers come in various colours and shapes. Many people have a spiral bracelet so they don’t have to take it out of their pocket every time. There are also types of clickers that have an integrated ‘target stick’. This extension allows you to precisely point a dog in a specific direction in which they should move.
Advantages of a clicker
A clicker is used to tell the dog that they did something right at a certain moment. This can be successful recall or a command such as ‘down’ or a dog trick. In principle, confirmation can also be done with praise or a treat. But both have certain disadvantages: treats constantly have to be fished out of a bag, which is both cumbersome and takes time. If the reward is a few seconds late, the dog may have already shown a different behaviour in the meantime and incorrectly linked the treat to that behaviour. In principle, this could happen each time the dog is a distance away and cannot be rewarded immediately.
Misunderstandings can also occur on a verbal level. Some owners shower their dog with words meaning they get confused. But it is mainly our changeable mood that is problematic: if we are in a bad mood, a ‘well done’ sounds different to when we are in a cheerful mood. In addition, dogs pay very close attention to our posture, which can be very different from one day to another. A clear advantage of a clicker is that it can always be used with pinpoint accuracy—even at long distances—and it always sounds ‘neutral’.
How do I start clicker training?
A dog can’t do anything with a clicker at first and is simply surprised at the sound. However, this can be changed quickly: if they get a treat after every click, their interest should be aroused. It is important that it is not a treat that they occasionally leave. It must be something that the dog would never say no to. Many dog owners report very good experiences that they have had with our PLATINUM Click Bits. The high fresh meat content ensures that these treats are very well received by four-legged friends. To start with, you can let your dog sit in front of you, and then click. Let the clicking sound be followed by a treat. Repeat this a few times, preferably throughout the day. Most dogs quickly understand that each click is associated with something positive—a treat. To test whether your four-legged friend has understood the principle, you only have to click once while they are turned away. If they joyfully approach to pick up the reward without being called, they should be conditioned to the clicker. However, it is important that the clicker is not an alternative to secure recall.