Training your dog may seem like a challenging task, mostly if you haven’t done it before.
But here’s the good news: it’s not entirely impossible. If you’re wondering how to start, you’re in the right place.
Here, we’re going to talk about clicker training and how to get started.
Why do we train dogs?
There are many reasons we train dogs.
For one, we want to teach them to obey us, so we can be sure that they’re well-behaved.
We wouldn’t want our dogs to get out of control around other people, right?
Teaching them new skills and habits may also be helpful to them. For example, by playing catch with them, they get to exercise.
Also, we can ensure their safety by training them to listen to our commands.
In this way, we wouldn’t have to worry about them running into danger when we bring them outside.
It’s also fun to train them as it strengthens your relationship with your dog.
Your training sessions can be an excellent way to release stress, both for you and your dog.
Why is clicker training suitable for dogs?
This training works through positive reinforcement, which has been highly effective in learning a new skill or habit.
Do you remember being given candy as a kid whenever you behave?
The more you were rewarded for behaving, the more you did it for the prize. That’s how it is with dogs.
Rewarding dogs for positive behaviors will encourage them to retain these behaviors and do them again.
Animal trainers all over the world use clicker training. But don’t be intimidated.
You don’t need expert skills and expensive equipment to train your dog.
How do I start clicker training?
There are clickers available in the market, but you can start your training with a retractable pen.
In this way, you get a feel for it, and you will also see whether your dog responds to the clicking sound or not.
We want our dogs to hear the clicker, so it’s recommended to start training in an area free from distractions.
Since there is nothing inherently rewarding about clickers’ sound, we use a reward to accompany it.
When your dog does something that we want them to do again, we use our clickers before giving their prize.
In this way, the dog will soon associate a specific action to a clicker, which the dog then associates with a reward.
The most common reward we usually give to dogs is a snack.
A note of caution: we don’t want to provide them with too much to risk getting them overweight.
Try to use other rewards aside from food. Belly rubs or toys can substitute for food.
Eventually, your dog will anticipate a reward when he hears the clicker.
So whenever you use the clicker, your dog will perform the action that has rewarded him before.
When it happens, you can do away with the reward.
Once your dog has responded to the clicker, you can level up your training.
You can now move your training sessions into a relatively distracting area. You may also use verbal commands or hand signals to replace the clicker.
The advantage of shifting from a clicker to either of these is its convenience.
You won’t have to carry around a clicker anywhere you go. You also don’t have to worry about forgetting or losing your clicker.
As you did with a clicker, give rewards after your dog responds to your verbal command or hand signal.
Once your dog has associated the verbal command or hand signal with a prize, you can already stop giving rewards.
How do I correct a dog’s behavior?
Sometimes, dogs tend to make mistakes. Your dog may have ruined your phone’s charger, mistaking it for a toy.
It’s unavoidable to make mistakes, but it’s our responsibility as owners to correct our dog’s behavior.
There are pet correctors available to discourage a dog from making a bad habit. It’s quick, safe, and practical, so there’s no worry about harming your dog.
If you can’t afford a pet corrector, you can also use your body to gesture disapproval to your dog.
Express disapproval by folding your arms, turning your back to him, and standing still. Repeat this gesture until your dog gets the message.
Keep in mind that it takes time for dogs to learn a new trick or a habit.
It’s best to be patient and understanding with your dog. Also, clicker training is not a one-size-fits-all strategy.
Some dogs are more sensitive to a clicker than others, while others are fine with just a verbal command or hand gesture.
Try to find out whether your dog responds best to your voice or a clap, and then use the same strategy as you would with a clicker.
Take your time to figure out what works best for your dog. Clicker training can be an exciting way to know more about your dog.
Training your dog doesn’t have to be expensive and complicated.
You can start right away in your backyard. Clicker training only requires patience on your part, as it might take a while for your dog to get used to it.
Don’t worry, though! You can definitely teach your dog new tricks.