How many times have you wished you could say to your pet: "what you just did I like"? Developing communication between you and your dog is a beautiful and exciting process, although for some owners it is very frustrating since they don't get results.
The basis of all communication is affection and patience, although it is also useful to understand how our pet thinks. However, today at ExpertAnimal we will explain the use of a very interesting tool to improve communication with our pet and, of course, strengthen their training.
Do not separate from the screen that in this article we present the clicker for dogs and everything you need to know about him.
What is the clicker?
The clicker is a small button that emits a sound. Said in a more mundane way, it is a small box with a button that, when pressed, emits a "click". Hence the name.
I imagine that knowing that the clicker is a little box with a button will not tell you much. Well, let's do it, what is the clicker for? The clicker is a behavior enhancer. The goal is that the dog every time he hears the "click" understand that he has done something right. We are going to be able to say to our pet: "hey, very well what you just did".
And this behavior enhancer helps us in two lines. On the one hand, it would be a substitute for treats (food does not cease to be a positive reinforcement of behavior) and on the other, we can reward our dog's spontaneous behavior.
Imagine you are in the park. Your dog is loose and a few meters from you. Suddenly, a puppy appears that jumps on top of your pet because he wants to play. Your dog sits and patiently holds the little one. You have noticed that detail and you want to say "very well that attitude, I love that you share yourself like this!".
Even if you ran to give him a treat, it would be too late. Your pet would not understand the message. If in that situation you had a clicker, when you saw his good behavior you would only have to press the button to reward him.
Surely you now understand better the possibilities offered by the clicker in training a dog. In addition and very important too, with the use of this enhancer you also strengthen communication with your pet. It will help you to understand each other better, with all the advantages that this implies. Of course, never forget that the best relationship you can have with a dog is that based on love.
Advantages of clicker training
He clicker training It presents a whole series of advantages that you must take into account if you still have doubts about its use. One of the most notable is that through this method the dog learns to pursue a purpose, not by habit. In this way, learning lasts longer because the dog is aware of the behavior and the action he is performing. In addition to this, the following points stand out:
- Simple: its handling is very easy to understand.
Disadvantages of canine training with clicker
Actually, clicker training It has no disadvantages when done correctly. However, some people get very excited about the initial results (and the ease with which they are achieved) that do not deepen the training.
You have to be aware that the reliability and fluidity of behaviors are long-term objectives, both in clicker training and in traditional canine training.
The clicker load
We are not referring to putting batteries in the device or something similar. The clicker load is nothing other than the process or exercises that we must perform with our dog so that associate the click sound to an award.
The basic exercise of loading is to emit the sound "click" and just after, give a treat to your dog. However, do not worry, in this other article we explain in depth the whole process of loading the clicker. It is important that before continuing the training with clicker verify that the load has been carried out correctly and if your dog is understanding how the clicker works.
Follow this step by step:
- Choose a word to which you are going to assign that order. Remember that it must be a word that your dog does not hear normally, since you run the risk that the training does not work.
- We put something that catches your eye in the dog's snout. For example, a post it.
- When we see the leg up to want to take it off we say the word chosen, "sad" for example.
- Just after you have done it, click the clicker.
- Although in principle the dog should follow your instructions only with the use of the clicker it is good to use small treats when we start with a new order. This way you will not forget for sure.
As you can see, it is a very fast exercise. Doing it with treats would be more complicated, since we would lose that speed and it would be more difficult for our pet to understand us.
Truths and lies about clicker training
You can teach your dog an exercise without even touching it: true.
With clicker training you can teach exercises without touching your dog or putting on a leash.
You can make your dog perfectly trained without ever putting on a collar or leash: a lie.
Although you can teach the exercises without putting a leash on your dog, you will need a collar and a leash to generalize the learning. This is necessary when you start practicing the exercises in places where there are many distractions, such as the street or a park.
However, the collar and leash are only used as safety measures to prevent your dog from walking or running to dangerous areas, such as an avenue. They are not used as corrective or punishment elements.
You will have to reward your dog with food forever: a lie.
You can gradually eliminate food rewards through a variable reinforcement program and diversifying the reinforcers. Or, better yet, using everyday life enhancers.
An old dog can learn new tricks by training with clicker: true.
It doesn't matter how old your dog is. Both old dogs and puppies can learn with this technique. The only requirement is that your dog has the necessary strength to follow a training program.
Incorrect use of the clicker
Some trainers have the idea that the clicker is a kind of magic box that works without giving food or providing games to the dog. These trainers have the habit of clicking several times without giving any reinforcer. So, in your training sessions you hear a lot of "click-click-click-click-click", but you don't see much reinforcement.
By doing this, the trainers cancel out the value of the clicker, since it does not help them to reinforce the dog's behavior. In addition, they are harmed by handling a tool that does not work because they are misused. In the best case, this is a useless procedure that bothers but does not harm the training. In the worst case, the trainer concentrates on the tool rather than the training and does not progress.
Frequently asked questions about Clicker Training
Can I teach my dog an exercise without touching it?Yes
With the clicker training You can teach your dog tricks or exercises without touching or putting on a leash.
Can I make my dog perfectly trained without ever putting on a collar or leash? NO
Although you can teach your dog exercises Without putting on a leash, you will need a collar and a leash to generalize the learning. That is necessary when you start practicing the exercises in places where there are many distractions.
However, the collar and leash are used as safety measures to prevent your dog from going to dangerous areas. It is never used as a method of punishment.
Do I always have to reward my dog with food? NO
You can gradually eliminate food awards through a variable reinforcement exercise.
Can an old dog learn new tricks with cliker training? Yes
No matter the age of a dog. Both puppies and old dogs can learn this technique. All you need is for your dog to have the energy necessary to follow the training program
What is a clicker and where do you get it?
A clicker is a small plastic device with a metal foil that emits a bending sound. It is perfectly designed so that the sound is always the same and we can use it as many times as we want.
At present some of these clickers are already prepared to be able to calibrate the intensity of the sound, something very useful actually. It is very simple to get them at a very low price and the truth is that they last many years, so it is a recommended purchase.
We have this model and it works great.
How to use clicker?
The clicker is nothing more than a warning to the dog indicating that he has made the order well, that is, a way of talking with our dog telling him that he did it well. So the fundamental thing is to make a good “clicker load” and use it whenever the dog correctly obeys our order.
How to make a clicker load
Dogs must associate that the sound of the click is something positive, so we must teach them to associate the click with the prize. It is a positive reinforcement technique that we must perform for two or three weeks before using the clicker as a training device, at this time it is called clicker loading.
The simplest way for our dog to associate the click to the prize, is to sit on the ground with us and give him some prizes without further ado. How for example, small pieces of sausage, following these steps:
- We will click with the clicker
- We will give a prize to our dog and congratulate him
It is not necessary to educate it, so that the dog associates the sound of the click with the prize well we must do it in a fortuitous way, free, without demanding anything in return. That is, we will simply click every half minute or every minute, as an example, and then we will give a piece of sausage to our dog while we congratulate him.
Practicing this at least a couple of times each day, our dog will hardly take two or three weeks to associate the sound of the click with something positive, a prize.
When to use the clicker
Once the clicker load is finished, we can start using it with our puppy's education. The correct way to use it is by clicking just when our dog obeys our order and then give him the prize.
The click is the way to tell our dog “well done !!” just when he does it well. If we click the clicker by mistake, we must give our dog a prize even if he has not done anything, because he must know that whenever a click is heard, he will receive a prize.
Examples for training with clicker
Suppose we are educating our dog to kick When we give that order. The correct way to use the clicker is to make it sound just when our dog poses its ass on the ground. And then we will give you a prize (remember, whenever there is a click there is a prize).
If we are teaching our dog to lie down, the right thing is to give him the order and that when he lies down we sound the clicker, that is, a click. Then we will give our dog a prize.
Do the training exercise you do, remember to sound the click just at the moment when the dog makes the order, and then give the prize.
Why use a clicker if we already give you a prize?
The clicker is not a device that helps us give a prize to our dog, but it is a device that helps us tell our dog that he has done well. It is very useful because when our dog does something right and we congratulate him and give a prize, a period of time elapses.
That period of time is sometimes minimal, of seconds, and other times it is somewhat longer, of minutes, because we must go to where the dog is, take out the prize and give it to him. It is possible that the dog is slightly distracted and does not relate the prize well to the act of placing the order well.
However, if we use a clicker, we will click just when the dog obeys our order and he will know that he did it well, because he already relates the click to a prize. He will know that after the click we will give him the prize so it doesn't matter if we take a few seconds or minutes, the prize will appear.
It does not matter that you do not associate the prize with the exercise of education, because the important thing is that you relate the click to the prize, so when you hear a click, you will simply know that you have done well. It may seem strange, but dog logic is that simple.
What if I don't have a clicker?
The clicker is very useful. However, it is not essential. If you don't have a clicker, you can replace it by clicking with your tongue or using a short word. To click with your tongue, you just have to stick it to your palate and take it off quickly.
If you decide to use a short word, you must choose one that you do not use frequently. In addition, you must pronounce it quickly so that it is a good marker. Some useful words are: Ok, take, yes, k (ka).
The sound you use instead of the click must be different from orders of canine obedience. If you use "Ok", you should avoid using the word "Here" to call your dog. If you use "k" (pronounce the letter k), you should avoid using "Here" to call your dog. If you use "yes", you should avoid using "Sit" to ask your dog to sit down.
If you want to read more articles similar to Clicker for dogs - Everything you need to know about him, we recommend that you enter our section of Basic Education.