Sunday, April 8, 2012

Our first Training Tip- CLICKER TRAINING!

Clicker Training

by Astrid Smith CAP1 CTDI TDTC

Clicker training has been around for many years and is a very effective way to communicate with your dog. All you do is click and treat (c/t) the behavior you want and ignore the behaviors that you don't. You can purchase clickers at most any pet supply store. If physically you are unable to use a clicker, use a marker word such as “yes” or “good”. Using a clicker takes time a patience (for YOU!). At first, you’ll get frustrated with trying to hold the clicker, treats, and a leash. Get a system worked out, and the rest will come with time.


I have been Clicker Training for quite some time now. I started with my horse, but did not use a clicker. I had a marker word, "Good". It was amazing how well it worked. I did not use it a whole lot. Only when we were on a trail and Jack stepped over some tough obstacles. Note: Jack was blind and he would have to concentrate on my jiggles with the reigns and carefully feel for a secure step. I would say "good boy" and he would stop, turn his head to the right and I would lean over and give him a piece of carrot. Way Cool!!

My first dog I clicker trained was Rylie. I did not start out training with a clicker, however, the first time I tried it I was hooked. Raygen, Ryker and Ryddick are all clicker trained and I got better with each dog. There are several ways of training with a clicker: Targeting, Luring, (Capturing, and Shaping  will come later this week).  Depending on what I am trying to train I use all three.

 Targeting (not be mistaken with luring).
First you train the dog to touch the target with his nose. Simply click right as your dogs nose touches the target. To start, use your hand. With an empty hand, move your hand about 10” away from your dogs nose. When you feel that cold nose touch your hand, CLICK AND TREAT (c/t)! Once your dog is consistently touching your hand, try moving it around and add the word “touch”.  I taught my dog Ryddick to heel using a stick that he’d touch the end of. Once he was consistently touching the stick, have the stick in heel position and start moving forward and c/t as soon as dog keeps up with the stick and you. Then you stop suing the stick and start adding the cue for heeling when the dog is in a heel position. It is pretty simple and you can get some very nice heeling.

Luring is another fun way to train with the clicker. A behavior that I teach using the lure method is "crawl". Dog is in a down. I then put a treat in between the dogs legs and slowly pull it away form the dog. As soon as the dog makes the slightest move forward while still on the down, c/t. If you wait to long to c/t, the dog may get up or give up. Add distance an inch at a time. It is important to fade the lure quickly or the dog will get treat dependent. 

Come back in a few days and we'll have a post on Capturing and Luring! Go ahead and start your training NOW! 

Part 2 of clicker training

1 comment:

  1. I was resistant to clicker training, but Astrid has made me a believer! I just need to own about 5 clickers so I always have one handy.


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