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Dog clicker training: Here’s what you need to know

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Alex, Staff Writer

Friday, 28 May 2021

Clicker training is one of the most common methods of dog training in Australia, used by dog trainers across the country. But what do you need to know before you begin clicker training your dog?

We’ve put together this guide to tell you everything you need to know about clicker training a dog before you get started.

What is clicker training?

Clicker training is a form of dog training that is based on rewards. The reward in this type of training is the dog clicker, which is used to tell your dog that they’ve done the right thing.

Your dog will quickly learn to associate the noise of the dog clicker with getting a reward such as a treat. Eventually, the clicker itself becomes the reward, without a treat being required every time. This type of positive reinforcement has been proven to be extremely successful in dog training.

Basics of performing dog clicker training

If you want to try dog clicker training, it’s always best to work with an accredited dog trainer who can work with you to create a personalised plan to train your dog. However, we’ve set out some basic steps that you can take to begin clicker training your dog at home.

Step 1 – Introduce the click

First of all, you need to introduce the dog clicker to your canine. They need to learn that the click means a reward before you can begin using the clicker for training.

To introduce the clicker to your pup, find a quiet space and make sure you’ve got their favourite treat to hand. Press the clicker and give them a treat straight away. Repeat this a few times – you’re aiming to get to a point where your dog expects a treat whenever they hear the click.

Step 2 – Learn a behaviour

Next, introduce a simple behaviour, for example, teaching your dog to sit. Hold a toy in your hand and slowly move it over your dog’s head. They should automatically sit back. As soon as they sit, press the clicker and give your dog a treat.

Step 3 – Introduce the command

When you know that you can make your dog sit, you can begin to say a command word at the same time. Say the word ‘sit’ and then make your dog sit down. As soon as they sit, press the clicker and give them a treat. Once you’ve done this a few times, you can try saying the command and seeing whether your dog understands what you want them to do.

Step 4 – Practice, practice, practice

Continue practising your new command several times a week, but keep your training sessions short – 15 minutes maximum. Your dog should begin to learn what the command means and confidently perform it. When they become confident, you can slowly reduce the frequency of treats with the click, with the click itself eventually becoming the reward.

Simple tricks for dog clicker training

There are many behaviours and tricks that you can clicker train a dog to perform. However, it’s a good idea to limit it to teaching one or two behaviours at a time to avoid confusion.

  • Some simple tricks that you can teach your dog include:

  • Sit – lift a toy or treat slowly above your dog’s head until they sit.

  • Stay – when your dog is confident with sitting, you can begin saying ‘stay’, waiting for a second and then rewarding. If they don’t stay, simply try again.

  • Shake – gently tap your dog’s paw and reward if they lift it. Once they are confident with this, begin holding your hand out and clicking only once their paw touches your hand.

  • Lie down – use a treat or toy to lure your dog into a lying position.  

Hire a Dog Trainer on Bark

It’s always best to work with a dog trainer when you begin clicker training your dog. They can work with you to create a personalised training plan that suits both your pooch’s individual personality and the goals that you’re working towards.

If you’re ready to find the perfect Dog Trainer to clicker train your dog, you can hire a Dog Trainer on Bark. 

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