When I clicker trained my pup Brody, I got sooo many questions from other dog owners who wanted to know what in the world it was all about! So in this blog post, we’re diving deep into those questions
1. So what is a clicker?
A clicker is a handheld device made of plastic and metal, that makes a distinct clicking sound when pressed. There are several different styles out there with different volumes and designs, but they all accomplish the same thing. There’s no magic in a clicker; it’s just a tool to give the dog crystal clear information. No more and no less.
2. How do you even use it?
You click the exact second your dog does something you like, then deliver a treat. (Timing of the click is EVERYTHING folks.) When you click, you’re “capturing” whatever your dog was doing at that moment. You’re telling your dog, “YES!! That one right there! That’s the one I like and THAT’s what got you the reward!”
3. Does it really make a difference?
You could train your dog by just delivering treats when they do something right. But keep in mind that your treats need to be delivered at the exact instant your dog is performing the behavior, to avoid confusing him and slowing down the learning process. So let’s say you tell your dog to sit. He does, and you fish in your pocket for a treat. By the time you get one out and give it to him, he’s looked at the table leg, stood up, and pawed his nose. Did he get a treat for sitting, looking at the table leg, standing up, or pawing his nose? With no click, you’re leaving your dog to guess. And he’s going to think he got rewarded for whatever he happened to be doing when the treat was delivered. With the clicker, you can click the instant he sits, and that gives you a couple seconds to get the treat out, while still telling the dog exactly what he got rewarded for. It all comes back to giving your dog extremely clear information. Because that’s what speeds up the learning process.
4. What if I just can’t hold everything?
We get it, you have a LOT to juggle. Your hands are probably full 90% of the time, and you’re wondering how you can even find room to hold a clicker, much less click at the exact time. That’s where your built in clicker comes in handy. Nope, I’m not suggesting you have a metal and plastic device pre-installed on your arm. But you DO have a tongue. And it works great as a clicker. Just click your tongue, like you would to a horse, when you don’t have enough hands to use an actual clicker.
Clickers take practice, but they truly aren’t as confusing as they look. In fact, they can be flat-out addictive!
Let’s get out that clicker and give it a try.
Ready to use a clicker to train a basic skill? Check out our blog post here.