Many common questions regarding positive reinforcement training with clicker training are answered in this video.
Dog training is all about effective communication. The more precise, consistent and accurate that communication is, the quicker the animal learns. And one of the best tools to use is a clicker.
Clickers are used to communicate to your dog, quickly and precisely, that what they did was what you were looking for, and at the exact moment, they did it. And it signals to the animal that they are about to be rewarded for what they did.
Clickers come in many shapes and sizes. It is an inexpensive toy that makes a cricket-like sound. Most clickers are small matchbox-sized plastic boxes.
How It Works
Initially, a clicker has no value to a dog, so you have to make it mean something. To give value to the clicker, you click and give your dog a piece of highly valued food like chicken, cheese, liver treats and so on.
Food is one of several “primary reinforcers” that dogs respond to and it’s the easiest thing to use in this process. Other primary reinforcers include physical affection, playtime, and water. If you click and give your dog a piece of food and repeat this ten to twenty times, the clicker now becomes associated with the food.
This process is called classical conditioning. And the clicker now becomes known as a “secondary reinforcer”. In the dog’s mind, the click has actually taken on some of the quality of the primary reinforcer, in this case – the food.
When your dog has made the association between the clicker and the food, you can begin to use the clicking sound for training. This is called operant conditioning.
Today, I’m going to show you how to use clicker training to help teach your dog various actions cues and to help change their behavior in different environments and situations.