Training your dog can be frustrating if not done efficiently. Using a clicker can make training easier and more direct for both behavior modification and teaching new tricks!
A clicker is used to mark a desirable behavior done by your pupper. This makes it more clear for your dog to understand what he is doing right. It is very important to always follow the “click” with a treat, so that your dog associates the click with something positive.
First you want to charge your clicker, especially if your dog has never been trained this way before. To do this, repeatedly “click” while your dog is sitting or staying and immediately follow with a treat. You’ll want to repeat this until your dog instantly turns his head for a treat after each “click”. Now try to apply this to an action. Ask your dog to sit, and “click” as soon as his butt hits the ground and give him a treat. By practicing this, your dog will get better at sitting even if there are distractions or you don’t have treats. His brain will be wired to associate sitting with positivity. If your dog doesn’t know sit yet, take it slow. “Click” if he lowers his butt a bit, and when he does finally sit down give him a high value treat! Try this method with all kinds of tricks like “down” and “stay”.
You can also use this method for behavior training. For example, if your dog doesn’t like other dogs, “click” and treat him just for looking at other dogs from a distance. After awhile your dog will associate seeing another dog with something positive. Gradually decrease the distance, making sure you’re not getting so close that he is lunging, and continue “clicking” a treating. This will decrease his stress from other dogs and make it easier to walk him around others!
Grab a clicker and try these training methods with your dog, and if you have any questions you can contact Sara Hamburger at shamburger@animalcaresanctuary.com!

 

Kayla Perry, Canine Care Staff

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