So, you got a new puppy. Now what? The first step to creating a positive, lifelong relationship with your dog is to train them to be a well-behaved companion. For many new pet owners, training a puppy can seem like a daunting task, but all you really need is a clicker and some treats to get your pup on the path to good behavior. We at the Animal Hospital at Grayhawk are here to help with this overview on clicker training.
What is a clicker?
A clicker is a metal strip inside a small plastic box that makes a clicking sound when pressed. A form of positive reinforcement training, using a clicker is more effective than using treats alone and is much faster than saying “good dog” every time your dog does a desired behavior.
How do you use a clicker?
First, you need to teach your dog to respond to the clicker. To do this:
1. Take your dog, your clicker, and some of your dog’s favorite treats to a quiet spot.
2. Press the clicker and immediately give your pup a treat.
3. Repeat this up to 10 times.
4. Test your success by waiting until your dog isn’t paying attention to you, and then click. If they respond to the click by looking at you in anticipation of a treat, you’ll know you can begin to teach basic commands.
To teach a basic command, like sit or come, be sure to press the clicker at the exact moment your dog does the desired action, and then immediately follow the click with a treat and praise.
It is important—especially initially—to give your dog a treat immediately after clicking. Otherwise, the clicker won’t be as effective. Your pup will quickly associate the good behavior they’ve done with the sound of the click and a reward, and they’ll be more likely to repeat the behavior in the future.
Questions about training or behavior? Contact us for help!