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