Has anyone tried the clicker for training? And does it work? Or do you use treats?

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  1. Flute

    Clicker training is part of an overall training method – namely positive reinforcement training.
    The clicker is paired with a reward (usually small food treats although in theory anything the dog finds especially rewarding).
    Initially you need to get the dog to understand that click means treat. Then, every time the dog performs the desired behaviour, you click and treat.
    The beauty of the clicker is that it makes your timing so much better. Dogs learn by association (cause and effect). When training, the dog needs to know exactly what it is being rewarded for – so you need exceptional timing.
    The problem with NOT using a clicker is this timing is virtually impossible to achieve. Fior example, you say sit, the dog sits, and you give it a treat. There is a time delay of a few seconds between the behaviour and the reward (ie the cause and the effect).
    Using a clicker you can “mark” the correct behaviour at the moment it occurs (perfect timing!). The dog knows the click signifies a reward, so it knows exactly what it did right.
    This makes training much easier and quicker.
    A clicker can also be used to improve a particular behaviour. Say you want to teach the dog to come when called as quickly as possible. When you first teach the “come” you would click the dog simply for coming. Then as the dog progresses you would click only the faster comes, and not the slow ones – so the dog learns to do it quicker.
    I can’t rate clicker training highly enough. The principle has been used to train dogs to fantastically high standards, and it works on every species. The same concept has been used to train human athletes, goldfish to swim through hoops, performing sealions and dolphins etc.
    Clicker training is completely safe and humane, and makes training fun for your dog. It is also probably the single most effective method available when used correctly.
    I would suggest doing some research into how to do it properly – check out Karen Priors books and the clicker training websites for more info.

  2. Rocket Languages

    You would use both, at least for the first while anyway. Dogs on a clicker learn the clicker is praise, but when learning something new there’s gotta be more for them than just a click. Eventually, after the dog gets the idea with the command then you phase out treats. I like the clicker because it’s quick, simple and you can click it much faster than saying “Good Dog” when the dog does as he’s asked. It’s useful in tricks with lots of motion, like spinning in a circle and playing dead because it lets the dog know exactly which moment he’s doing it right. Or, for sits when a dog drops his haunches for a minute and then pops right back up again: you can click when his butt hits the ground. But, before the clicker, I’ve trained with just treats and praise. I really only use the clicker, personally, for tricks.

  3. Westley's mom

    Clicker training does use treats. The click is a bridge to let the dog know a reward is coming; it marks the behavior. Therefor it needs to be followed up with a reward, either food, treat, toy, play or praise & affection. It is really effective when done correctly and, because it is 100% positive, it is great for building a bond with your dog.

  4. Aussies are my ♥ Dogs

    Clicker training combines a click and a treat both. And yes, I have used clicker training. Using a clicker is a good way to teach complicated, step by step tricks. A clicker can help break the trick into smaller steps. And yes, used properly, clicker training works.

  5. Bosco

    how old is the dog?
    not that it matters much..
    but what are you trying to train the dog to do?
    Obedience, basic or competitive?
    Instead of clicker training I use the word YES then the dog knows it did something..if you have slow reactions then a clicker is probably better…

  6. JenVT

    clicker training uses treats in the beginning. neither worked for our ddb as he was not food motivated at all. what he really loves is tennis balls, so sometimes it’s finding the right incentive.

  7. Kevin Gaskin

    Hi Stacey,
    Try this online video training tool, gives you step by step instructions on how to train your dog and many common mistakes people make.
    See link below for more.
    Good luck.

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