You may have seen a dog clicker when watching TV or if you have observed dog training at your local dog park. However, not everyone who has seen a dog clicker in use knows what they do and how to use them. So, we have information below regarding what dog clickers are and how to use them effectively.
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As the name suggests, a dog clicker is a tool for dog owners and trainers that, when pressed, emits a click that makes a specific clicking sound. It is well known that dogs are highly intuitive, and they understand cause and effect from a very young age. If you press the dog clicker when a dog exhibits the desired behavior and provide a reward when clicking, the dog will associate the behavior, click, and reward.
After repeated use of the clicker and reward process, your dog will have a clear enough association that by using the clicker, the dog will exhibit the desired behavior. The use of a clicker is a form of operant conditioning which moves from clicking and rewarding when the behavior is shown to using the clicker to cause the dog to exhibit that behavior. Using a clicker has the added bonus of being seen as a game by your dog, so it enhances bonding between you both too.
Types of Clicker Available
There are several dog clickers on the market, and it is best to choose the one that you feel is best suited to you and your dog. If you have a very active puppy, a clicker that is on a leash might be the best option, to begin with. You can then change to a different clicker once your dog is in an established routine.
You can also buy a clicker that has an inbuilt compartment for storing the treats given out as a reward to your dog. This can be extremely effective as your dog will be able to smell the reward on the clicker, further reinforcing the reward that is associated with the clicker.
We would recommend that you do your research before purchasing the clicker. Finding more information about the type of clickers you are interested in will help you to decide the best one. Some clickers are best for certain behavior types, and the information will be included in the details provided regarding that brand.
It is not only about the type of clicker you buy; you will need to invest time into behavior training with your dog. The clicker alone will not have the desired effect, and you will need to ensure that positive reinforcement is also practiced.
There are dog training aids available that use negative reinforcement, such as electric shocks, to dissuade a certain behavior. We find positive reinforcement more effective at creating a lasting bond with your pet, in addition to behavior training.