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To Clicker or Not to Clicker – There Really isn’t a Question

It amazes me that there are still people who want to use a choker collar and punitive measures when training. With the wealth of research and the number of case studies the question shouldn’t be, ‘do I want to use a clicker’ when training. It should be ‘how well do I want my dog to behave?’

Clickers are not magic. All they do is capture a behavior, repeatedly, and increase the chances of that behavior to be repeated. I’ve successfully trained dogs with a clicker and treats, and without treats but using another reward. Both work easily and both work quickly.

You Should Use a Clicker?

  • You don’t feel comfortable talking to your dog.
  • You become distracted when working your dog.
  • You feel your dog just ‘doesn’t get it.’
  • Your dog is stubborn
  • You don’t have a lot of time in the day to train your dog
  • You are easily frustrated when training.
  • Your dog has reactive behaviors, aggression, or fear issues.
  • Your dog is young
  • Your dog has ‘poisoned cues’ (words that generate negative/aggressive reactions)
  • You correct/punish the negative behavior or wrong actions, and ignore (forget to praise/reward) the correct behaviors.

You Don’t Need a Clicker?

  • You don’t want a high level of obedience/performance from your dog.
  • You talk to your dog constantly and it is very in tune with you.
  • You work your dog 2 – 3 times a day and have a good trusting relationship with your dog.
  • Your dog looks to you for guidance.

A clicker has been proven to generate a higher level of obedience, more varied commands and obedience, and it does this faster. The more you use a clicker the faster your dog will learn. Clickers are used by military and police K9 Units, service dog and performance dog trainers. Anyone who needs a dog to do a job, consistently, without fail will often rely on a clicker.

Problems with Clickers

  • If your timing is wrong then you could be capturing the wrong behavior
  • You need to be consistent
  • You need to understand exactly what behavior you want from the dog
  • You need to be willing to use the clicker in public

Benefits of Clickers

  • Better relationship between you and your dog
  • Dog learns faster with less stress and frustration
  • Dog understands what you want from it
  • Shaping behaviors is mentally stimulating and can be fun
  • Dog enjoys training and wants to work with you
  • You are accentuating the positive not the negative






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