Dog Clicker Training: Everything That You Should Know About It
Dog clicker training is an effective way to help train your dog and training your dog is one of the most rewarding experiences you can live through as a pet owner.
There is something about imparting knowledge to your pet that makes the whole process worthwhile. Though it can be challenging to train your dog, as with anything else, you will end up getting the hang of it.
When it comes to training your dog, you have a few options available, depending on your preferences and your dog’s character. Some dogs will be open to many different types of training while others will only prefer a single variety.
Experimenting is the best way to find the best training method for your dog.
Out of all of the available training methods, one of the more useful options is the dog clicker training method (also known as clicker dog training).
Over the course of this article, we are going to addressing dog clicker training and describing exactly how it works and stacks up to other methods.
What Is Dog Clicker Training?
You may be wondering what exactly dog clicker training consists of. As is evident from the name, this form of dog training involves the use of a clicker, but even this is not always the case.
While a clicker can help with dog clicker training, it is not a necessary tool for it.
The clicker can be substituted with any number of other sources of noise, the technique in which that noise is more important than anything, however.
When it comes down to it, clicker training is merely a form of operant conditioning that substitutes a reinforcer for a clicker.
What Is Operant Conditioning?
Before we continue, we feel that it is essential to have a rudimentary understanding of how Operant Conditioning works.
This type of conditioning has to do with the association stimuli and a reinforcer, though we will describe it as an example before we get into the terminology.
Since we are on the subject of dogs, we will use a dog as an example. In the operant conditioning of a dog, an action is meant to be reinforced through a reward, encouraging the repetition of that action.
If you are trying to get your dog to give you its paw, you will urge it to do so and reward it with food when the task is accomplished.
The food in this situation is known as the primary reinforcer, but in clicker training, the primary reinforcer is replaced.
Back To Clicker Training
When training a dog using clicker training the clicker takes the place of the primary reinforcer, becoming the bridging stimulus. A bridging stimulus is a stimulus which takes the place of a reinforcer.
This means that clicker training is a form of operant conditioning within another form operant conditioning.
You may be wondering how a dog would grow to associate a clicker with a reward and it is quite simple, all you have to do is use the same principles to give the food and the clicker equal value.
Every time the dog performs something that you want it to, you have to press the clicker while feeding it.
When the dog eventually associates the sound of the clicker with food, it will end up playing the same role in its mind. As such, it becomes much easier for you to train your dog with a clicker than with food.
A clicker is not finite and can be pressed in an instant, as opposed to food which slows training down.
Clicker training is an ideal choice for dog owners who want the convenience of operant conditioning but don’t want to deal with the traditional process.
Dog Clicker Training Fundamentals
Some of the most important parts of dog clicker training is how easy it is to reinforce specific actions.
When you have to feed your dog to reinforce its actions, your dog can sometimes get confused over what behavior is being rewarded. A clicker, on the other hand, is instant.
Being able to motivate specific behaviors is only one of the reasons that clickers are one of the best ways to train your dog.
Using the clicker training method is much more affordable than other options since you don’t even have to pay for a clicker if you don’t want to.
If you choose to replace the clicker with a whistle or snap, you can train your dog using this technique without spending a cent.
When compared to dog training services that can end up costing hundreds of dollars, you will find that clicker training is an excellent choice.
How To Train Your Dog With Clicker
Training your dog with a clicker is relatively straightforward. You will want to use the clicker to reward any behavior that starts to approach what you want your dog to do. Do not overuse your clicker when training your dog as you will end up confusing it more.
When you see your dog start to approximate your expected behavior, you will want to make small corrections and encourage your dog along. You do not want to punish your dog if it does something wrong as this will send it mixed signals, instead, simply focus on rewarding success.
Once your dog has achieved the desired behavior, reward it and create a signal, so your animal understands how to perform it. Your chosen signal can range from a verbal affirmation to a hand gesture that lets your dog know what to do. Training your dog with a clicker is that simple.
There are few methods of dog training which can match the convenience and capability of clicker training. We hope that we were able to give you a decent overview of how this dog training method works.