Is Clicker Training Right For You and Your Dog?



This article is posted as part of PGAA’s curation efforts.


The first thing you really want to consider is what you want from your dog. Are you looking for just obedience, the basic sit, stays, down, etc. Perhaps you are looking for more than that. Read on to see “is clicker training right for you and your dog”.

The best way to understand what you want is, to write a set of goals that you are expecting from your dog, just as you would set goals for yourself.

The basic commands can be done with clicker training, however; voice commands will accomplish this task too.

Are looking for more than just the basics from your dog? You may want to consider clicker training.

Clicker training allows you to easily go beyond the sits, stays and downs of training. Do you want to teach your dog tricks? Do you want to be able to take your dog out to different places with you?

Do you want to take your dog to the pet store with you? These are the goals that you should write down.

You want to use the training methods that best suit you and the goals you have for your dog.

The one thing about using a clicker is it is a unique and consistent sound that once used properly your dog will being to associate good things with the sound of the clicker.

As I mentioned in my previous article, clicker training is used for the easiest method of training, which is capturing. When you see your dog sit, you say sit, click, and treat. You have now “captured” the behavior you want your dog to do. Once you done this several times you will then be able to ask you dog to sit.

Clicker training is a food based, high reward training method. If your dog is not food motivated, then clicker training may not be right you and your dog.

Unbelievably there are some dogs that are not food motivated. I still find it hard to believe that a dog would refuse a yummy piece of chicken, steak, or cheese. I have actually worked with a Weimaraner that was not motivated by food at all.

It is best to start clicker training in the least distracted environment. This will help prevent your dog from associating the click sound with something else in the environment.

You do need to train yourself how to use the clicker before you get started with your dog. Have a good understanding of the click treat system.

When I was first learning the clicker training method, we would have another person bounce a tennis ball, the moment the ball hit the ground we had to click. We practiced this until we got it right on the bounce. Clicker training is all about timing.

The other clicker training that is taught to many dog trainers is training with chickens. Yes, you heard me right I did say chickens. Let me tell you chickens are fast when trained to peck a cue spot. They had to click when the chicken pecked that spot. If you can make it with a chicken you can make it with a dog.:)

The Peck and Click

I’m not saying you have to train with a chicken, but I would definitely say you should at least practice with the tennis ball.

Take the following into consideration when deciding; “Is clicker training right for you and your dog”.

  1. Write down the goals you want from your dog.
  2. Be sure that you have a food motivated dog.
  3. Clicker training allows you to train using the capture method.
  4. Be sure to limit distractions when you first begin.
  5. You have to know how to use a clicker before starting with your dog.

Here is a video from well know positive dog trainer Victoria Stillwell on Clicker Training. This may help you make the decision; “Is clicker training right for you and your dog”.

Until Next Time,
Pawsitivly Yours,
Suzanne Dean, ABCDT

This first appeared on 8/10/15

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Originally posted and authorized for PGAA re-posting by the The Dog Training Lady Visit the Dog Training Lady’s site for more training information and watch for new training books and E-books. Just who is the The Dog Training Lady? Copyright © 2015