Clicker Dog Training: Check out 8 of our favorite handy hand signals to teach your dog! They'll re…
Check out 8 of our favorite handy hand signals to teach your dog! They'll re…:: Ready to start clicker training?
Not so fast… First you need to charge your clicker! Right now, a click or marker word doesn’t mean anything to your dog. Before you can start using it in training, you have to give the sound value. This step is very simple. Count out 10 small treats. Click and feed treat, click and feed treat, click and feed treat, and continue until you have used all 10 treats. Now when you click or use your marker word, your dog will be expecting a treat!
Try it out.
Start with something simple that your dog already knows: Sit, for example. Ask your dog to sit, click/mark as your dog’s rump touches the floor, and then deliver your reward.
Some other behaviors where using a clicker can be handy?
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Now your pet has made the association between a click and a treat you can start to teach them new skills.
One of the easiest things to start with is to teach them to touch an obvious target, like a mat on the floor, a ball on a stick or your hand.
As your pet approaches the target, click and treat. You don’t have to wait until they touch it because you’re shaping their behaviour and rewarding small steps towards the end goal. At this stage let the clicker speak for itself – if you say anything it could be distracting.
When your pet actually touches the target, click immediately and reward them with extra treats so they know they’ve hit the jackpot.
Soon your pet will see a target and go straight to it and at this point you can start to add a word that indicates what you want your pet to do. For instance, if your pet is about to touch the target, say “touch”, wait for them to touch the target and then click and treat.
Repeat this over the next few days until the cue alone prompts your pet to go and touch the target. Then you can progress to only clicking and treating the target touches that you have asked for on cue. So if your pet touches the target without you asking them to you don’t click and treat. Once your pet only touches the target when you ask them to you can start phasing out the click, which also means phasing out the treats. But it’s important that you still make sure they know they’ve done well, whether it’s telling them “good boy” or giving them a scratch, or giving them treats every now and then.