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Clicker Training Introduction

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The Truth About Clicker Training

Without doubt, the clicker is one of the most revolutionary discoveries in training dogs. But are we doing it right? It would appear not in many cases.

Clicker TrainingMany people have seen the large amount of exposure which clicker training has started to receive in recent years especially with the sudden increase in television programmes covering the subject. These people see the huge benefits of this method of training when looking at dog obedience, and they then quickly dive into a complicated programme of clicker training with their own dogs. Unfortunately, despite their good intentions, they could be doing more harm than good by ‘desensitising’ their own dogs to the huge power of clicker training and therefore greatly limiting the progress which the two of them could be making in the future.

The greatest and most common mistake is made when the owner uses the clicker as a remote control for their dog. This is a habit which is very easy to fall into if you do not constantly remind yourself how and why the clicker works so well. Indeed many dog owners do not know how the clicker theory works at all.

The other common mistake is when the clicker is used several times for different commands or ‘tricks’ all in a very short space of time.

Dog Training Secrets

The fundamentals of clicker training as well as advanced techniques will be explored and explained in further issues of Dog Training News but for now the basics are as follows:

1. Think of the clicker as an ‘Acoustic Arrow’. This analogy helps us to visualise exactly what the ‘click’ does to the dog. The dog must only ever associate the sound of the clicker with something he enjoys greatly. The obvious choice is a food treat but play can work just as well and even better with some dogs. Therefore at the start of our training regime we introduce the dog to the clicker by a click and we simultaneously produce a treat for the dog by dropping it on the floor in front of the dogs nose. Click and drop, click and drop until the dog’s ears prick up just on hearing the sound in anticipation of the wonderful treat which he is now expecting. You have just completed step one and without taking care to complete this step thoroughly, you may as well not try clicker training at all. The concept of the ‘Acoustic Arrow’ comes in due to the physiological formation of a dog’s brain being such that the sound made by a clicker enters the Long-Term Memory Bank rather than the Short-Term which is targeted by the old methods of training. Therefore if we can ‘hang’ a message (i.e. a command) on that arrow before it enters his long-term memory then we have an effective way of teaching our dog something he will ALWAYS remember and something which is almost as familiar to him as his own canine instincts.

Clicker Training continued...->

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Clicker Training - The Truth

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