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by Angel Colbert

I don’t remember if I copied this or if I wrote it myself.  However, I want you to have it.  If by chance the author of this piece sees it, please let me know and I will happily give you credit!

A clicker is a fantastic tool for training your dog.  I have found that the best candidates for clicker training (those that other methods are challenging) are your crazy dogs.  The ones that bounce up and down, have trouble focusing, and are more difficult to motivate to focus.  The clicker also works wonderfully for other dogs as well.

A clicker is a tool for learning a behavior.  It is not necessary to always use a clicker for a clicker trained dog.  After your dog learns the desired behavior it can be achieved without the click, a treat, or other tools you need to carry with you.  You will be able to get the behavior with a “command” or a hand signal or both.

You can find clickers at any pet store however I recommend the i-click clicker offered by Karen Pryor at her website:  http://www.clickertraining.com.  My clicker is attached to a lanyard that I keep handy while I am training and when I want to catch behaviors that occur naturally (we’ll discuss this more later).  I recommend this clicker for a number of reasons:

  • It is easier to click, which is important especially for those who have difficulty with the metal clickers available at pet stores.
  • It is quieter which is fantastic for dogs who would be startled by a louder noise
  • Since it is easier to click, it is also faster for you to click which helps you to reinforce the behaviors you want with less effort.

You can use a clicker to achieve almost any behavior.  From focusing on you to more advanced behaviors like tricks, heeling, and off leash training.

Getting Started With A Clicker

To start using your clicker you need to get your dog used to it.  In order to do that we do something called loading the clicker.  To load a clicker, find a nice quiet place with just you and your dog.  Having a tv on isn’t a problem.  Grab a handful of treats and your clicker and get started.

  • Click the clicker
  • Give your dog a treat
  • Repeat 20 times

After you’ve gotten started, let your dog have a little break while you do another activity.  Next:

  • Click the clicker
  • If your dog looks at you give a treat
  • If your dog does not look at you repeat the click and treat process 20 more times and try again.
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