What is Clicker Training?
The clicker is a small plastic
tool, originally a child’s toy, which when pressed makes a
click sound and is known as a conditioned reinforcer. The clicker
sound is unique, therefore it can be used consistently by everyone
but the sound means the same to your dog. The clicker sound is conditioned
to the part of your dogs brain, conditioned reflex which in turn
creates a conditioned response.
When obedience training, teaching
your dog tricks or rehabilitating behavioural issues, the behaviours
and actions need to be marked accurately with good timing, in other
words your dog needs to know when he has done something right and
to then receive a reward. If a behaviour or action is rewarded the
odds are that the behaviour or action will increase and be repeated.
We can mark the action with a verbal word such as “Good”
or “Yes”, nothing wrong with this but as we chatter
away to our dogs and each other most of the time then words can
be confusing and not very clear and so conditioning your dog to
a specific unique sound which means food is coming, enables us to
mark this behaviour accurately and clearly and without emotion.
You're probably familiar with the story of "Pavlov's Dog."
In the early 1900's, Dr. Pavlov, a Russian Chemist and Physiologist,
was studying the digestive process in dogs and the interaction between
salivation and the action of the stomach. He realized that they
were closely linked by reflexes in the autonomic nervous system.
Without salivation, the stomach didn't get the message to start
digesting. Pavlov wanted to see if external stimuli could effect
this process, so he rang a bell at the same time he gave the dogs
food. After a while, the dogs-which before only salivated when they
saw and ate their food-would begin to salivate when the bell rang,
even if no food was present. He called this a "conditioned
reflex," an action that has to be learned. Pavlov called this
learning process "conditioning." (He also found that if
the bell rang too often and food did not appear, the conditioned
reflex would become repressed. The dogs stopped salivating at the
sound of the bell).
The advantages to using a
1. Accurately identifies the
2. Works well from a distance.
3. Helps animal focus on the behavior.
4. Defines the END of a behavior. Making it easier to get longer
5. Easily transferred from person to person.
6. Does not rely on force or punishment.
7. You do not have to be physically stronger than your dog.
8. Will not lead to aggression or avoidance behaviors.
9. Can be used to shape a variety of behaviors.
10. It is REALLY FUN for you and your dog!!!! The clicker, because
of its accuracy in telling your dog WHAT behavior earned a treat,
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