Clicker training is used for training animals with the sound of a click. It mainly focuses on the behavioral pattern of the animals and when it is good they are treated. Thus, the animals understand that it is good behavior and they adapt it. On the other hand, when they are not treated they learn that something is wrong and do not do show the behavior again. It was started for training sea animals, but now is widely used for training dogs too.
Step by step of Dog Clicker training :
Step 1- Know the clicker first
Before you start clicker training you yourself has to know about the clicker. You can get a clicker for training your dog at any local pet store. It is a small device, generally made up of plastic that has a metal tongue. By pressing it you can make a clicking noise
Step 2- Training with clicker
When you use a clicker to train your puppy, you must use the clicker right at the moment when your dog performs what is expected from it. After every sound of click there should be some treat for your dog. The treat may be something it likes, toys or even verbal praise. The clicker is signal for your dog that it can expect some reward after the sound.
Step 3- Clicker and dog behavior
With the help of clicker you can teach your dog two things. They will know the exact moment when they are doing the right thing expected from them and they will get treat after every clicking sound.
Step 4- Acquainted with the clicker
After you know about the clicker and the basics of using them on your dog, it is now its turn to get introduced to the device. Until and unless they are acquainted with it the training can be conducted.
For introducing the clicker sit at any quiet room with your dog and some treats in your hand. Press the clicker and make sound. The moment your dog reacts to the clicker sound give it the treat.
Step 5- Repeat the process
When you introduce your dog to clicker you must hold handful of treats as to make him understand the fundamentals of clicking you need to make the clicking sound again and again and give it treat afterwards.
Step 6- Be strict about the treat
After you dog gets the treat and understands that you are holding the treat, it may sniff your hand and try to get the treats. Close your hands and do not give any treat to your dog until and unless there is clicking sound.
Also do not click at regular interval. Click suddenly without any fixed gap in between.
Step- 7 Observe your dog’s reaction
For training your dog with the clicker sound it is necessary that you observe your dog’s reaction after each clicking sound. They may react differently. If you find that your dog is running away after the sound, that means he does like the sound and you cannot train it with that particular clicker. Try another one with different sound.
Step- 8 Start training your dog
Once you have introduced the clicker to your dog and it understands its importance, it’s time that you start using the clicker to train the dog.
Step- 9 Choose a quiet location
Just like you had chosen a quiet room for introducing the clicker to your dog, choose a quite location for starting the training. Now that it knows that it will get a treat after the sound of click you can start giving it commands and train it accordingly.
Step-10 Relocate to location with more sound
As your dog becomes acquainted with the sound of the clicker you can train them in areas where there is loud sound.
Step-11 Start ‘catching’ your dog
To start with the training you can catch your dog when it is doing any good behavior that it already knows. This process is called catching. As soon as it does the good behavior throw it a treat. Wait for every time it does the behavior.
Step-12 Use ‘catching’ for known behavior
However, you can use catching for only those behaviors that is already known to the dog. With the help of clicker you can reinforce the right behavior in it as it knows it can expect treat afterwards.
Step-13 Next is ‘shaping’
While training you have to teach your dog new and good behavior. For every new action that you teach it, make the clicking sound and give it a treat after each small step is completed. This process is called shaping.
Step- 14 Instigate it with every small step
When you are teaching the dog to move to a specific corner, first make click sound as it turns towards that direction, then after it takes few steps and then as it reaches the spot. With this the dog will understand that learning is fun and will show interest in learning.
Step- 15 Practice each step
Remembering the common phrases practice makes man perfect, practice each behavior to your dog again and again to make it perfect.
Step 16- Use food for luring
For making him learn small movements use food for luring it. Take the food in front of it and make the action that you want to teach it, suppose sit. Do it with food again and again. After sometime remove food and just do with hand. As soon as it completes the action click the clicker and give it some treat.
Step-17 Stop luring one it understands its importance
You lure your dog with food to make it understand some action. Once you find that your dog has understood the action, stop luring it and command it for doing it.
Step- 18 Use verbal cue
Whether you are catching, shaping or luring your dog, along with the clicker sound a verbal cue is always good for them to understand. Sat ‘sit down’ and wait your dog to do the action, the moment it does click and give it treat.
Step-19 Use short and direct verbal cues
Verbal cues used should be short and direct so that the pet understand the meaning. Using different words for same action will not let them learn behavior.
Step- 20 If required combine two methods
It may happen that to teach your dog the desired action you have to combine luring with verbal cue. There is no harm in it. For training with a clicker it is important that its understands the moment it is doing desired action by getting the treat after the clicker sound.