There are many techniques for dog education and as you know, the clicker is also one of them. It consists of playing a small device called a clicker, which will emit a very characteristic sound that our dog must associate with the prize.
Using it is very simple and many trainers use it in their daily techniques, obviously working with dog education. We will explain what it is and how to use it with some practical examples.
What is a clicker and where is it available?
A clicker is a small plastic device with a metal foil that emits a sound when bending. It is perfectly designed so that the sound is always the same and we can use it as many times as we want.
Currently some of these clickers are already prepared to calibrate the intensity of the sound, something very useful actually. It is very easy to get them at a very low price and the truth is that they last for 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 notice for the dog indicating that he has carried out the order well, that is, a way of talking to our dog saying that he did it well. So the main thing is to do a good “clicker load” and use it whenever the dog correctly obeys our command.
How to make a clicker load
Dogs must associate that the sound of the click is a positive thing, so we must teach them to associate the click with the prize. It is a positive reinforcement technique that we must carry out for two or three weeks before using the clicker as a training device, this time is called the clicker load.
The easiest way for our dog to associate the click with the prize is to sit on the floor with our dog and give him some prizes without further ado. For example, small pieces of sausage, following these steps:
- We will click with the clicker
- We will give our dog a prize and we will congratulate him
It is not necessary to educate him, so that the dog associates the sound of the click with the prize well we must do it by chance, free of charge, 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 our dog a piece of sausage while we congratulate him.
By practicing this at least a couple of times each day, it will only take two or three weeks for our dog to associate the sound of the click with something positive, an award.
When to use the clicker
Once the clicker has finished loading, we can start using it with the education of our puppy. The correct way to use it is to click just when our dog obeys our command and then, give him the prize.
The click is the way to tell our dog “well done !!” just when it does well. If by mistake we press the clicker we should give a prize to our dog even if he has done nothing, because he must know that whenever a click is heard he will receive a prize.
Examples for clicker training
Suppose we are educating our dog to give the paw when we give you that order. The correct way to use the clicker is to make it sound just as our dog lays his 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 correct thing is to give it the order and that when it lies down we make the clicker sound, that is, a click. Then we will give our dog a prize.
Whatever training exercise you do, remember to make the click sound just at the moment when the dog performs the order well, and then give him the prize.
Why use a clicker if we already give you a prize?
The clicker is not a device that helps us give our dog a prize, 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 well and we congratulate him and give a prize, a period of time elapses.
That period of time is sometimes minimal, in seconds, and other times it is somewhat longer, in minutes, because we must go to where the dog is, take out the prize and give it to them. The dog may be slightly distracted and may not relate the award well to the act of doing the command 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 right, because he already relates the click to a prize. He will know that after the click we are going to give him the prize so it doesn’t matter if it takes a few seconds or minutes, the prize will appear.
It does not matter that you do not associate the prize with the education exercise, because the important thing is that you relate the click to the prize, so when you hear a click, you simply know that you have done well. It may seem strange, but doggy logic is that simple.