A clicker is a small plastic box with a thin sheet of metal inside it that makes a "click" sound when the yellow button is pressed. This "click" sound is used to mark the exact moment that the dog is doing the exercise correctly (it also marks the END of the exercise). The dog is conditioned to anticipate a reward when it hears a single "click" (never click more than once) and so tries to repeat the behaviour in order to gain another reward. (See our Guest Article by Doris Vaterlaus).
CLICKERS ARE VERY POWERFUL AND EFFECTIVE
TRAINING AIDS IF USED CORRECTLY
For instance, Click here to find out how to train a dog to retrieve using a clicker.
Unfortunately, many people do not understand when and how to use clickers, resulting in disappointed owners and very confused dogs! Therefore, make sure you fully understand how, when and why you should do clicker training before trying it out on your dog.
One of the best ways to learn to use a clicker is by trying to train a HUMAN before you attempt to train a dog with a clicker. I know this sounds silly but it is great way to practice WHEN to click and also what it feels like being a "dog".
The object of the "Human Click Game" is to train your human "Dog" to do a task without speaking, gesturing, or communicating with them in any way - apart from using the clicker to indicate when they are doing the correct thing.
You will need -
Play this Game in different ways, practicing your timing so that the click marks the exact moment when the Dog is doing the right thing. Try swapping over so that the Dog becomes the Trainer. Find out how confusing it is being the Dog and not understanding what its expected of it. Also find out how important it is to have clear communication between Trainer and Dog. Is it more stressful for the Dog if the Reward is too exciting? What happens if the Reward is given too late?
When you are happy with this Game make it more difficult by picking up two or three slips of paper at a time and training the Dog to do something with all the articles chosen at once, or in a chain of behaviours. For instance -
By now you should thoroughly understand how to use a clicker properly and can now begin training and shaping your dog using the clicker.
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