Make clicker training your dog fun and rewarding. It’s easy, you lead the game (training) by keeping the game fun, not serious. Dogs instinctively like order and actually look to the alpha dogs in the pack for guidance. At home, you and your family are the Alpha dogs…at least you should be. Your dog is already waiting to be instructed.
Clicker training your dog is a concept that was passed along through dolphin training. Just like the mammals of the sea, dogs learn quickly with repetition and reward. Many mammals learn behaviors through repetitive, reward based tasks, this is called behavior analysis, or simply behaviorism. But don’t get to hung up on the fancy terms, this is a game, remember?
The training is whatever your desired outcome will be, but your dog doesn’t know that, so when you starting clicker training your dog keep in mind it’s a game, not training. To begin you first have to teach your dog that every time you click they will receive a treat. I suggest trying a new treat possibly some homemade healthy treats. This stimulates the dog even more when they hear the clicker because they will learn that it’s the game with the special treats. if you use a treat your pet is already crazy about, perfect. Just make sure it’s a tasty treat they will work for, or should I say play for?
From the first time you start clicker training your dog you will click and reward. The outcome is to get your dog to anticipate the reward because the clicker is always followed by a treat. Click reward…Simple right? Never click without reward, some people are tempted to use the clicker to get the dog to come, but you should only do this if you have a treat and your dog is listening to the command not just the concept of a treat. Then break up the game play by clicking at unpredictable times, like while you’re watching TV, choose random times. Once your dog associates the clicker with the reward you are ready to move on. Now try adding commands. Try behaviors he knows, click and when he responds reward him…you just upped the game. Now your dog knows he gets rewarded for behaviors, not just the clicker. Now you’re ready to start the process on the true task at hand, let’s say walking off leash. Click, command, reward.
Clicker training your dog can be fun if you don’t get frustrated and let Fito know you mean business. Once you start using your authoritative voice you’ll start losing power in the game. Always use positive reinforcement and keep the tone upbeat and fun. If your dog doesn’t respond to clicker training right away be patient, try and try again. If your dog needs a little coaxing, it’s also acceptable to click throughout the process as long as you’re getting a desired outcome. This is called “shaping”. If the sessions are becoming chaotic or with no response to your command. Put the clicker and the treats away. When you start over at a later time make sure your dog is still responding to the clicker and the reward but don’t treat him for responding to just the clicker anymore than once. Now that you have your dogs attention click, command, and when you receive the response you want reward. Clicker training your dog is simple if you make it fun.