Clickers

A clicker is a little mechanical device that makes a clicking noise when you push it. It is becoming a popular tool for positive reinforcement training. Your dog is taught to associate the sound of the clicker with treats, and then the unique sound of the clicker clearly tells your dog when he is right. In technical terms, the clicker is a "conditioned reinforcer," a sound previously meaningless to your dog that becomes meaningful when associated with food or some other reward. (Also see chapter 1, "Other Rewards.") Conditioned reinforcers are how dolphins and killer whales are trained, since a trainer

Metal Cricket For Dog Training
This is a clicker.

can't be right beside them to reward them. A dolphin performs a behavior like jumping through a hoop. The conditioned reinforcer, perhaps a whistle, is given during the jump. Then, the dolphin swims to the side of the pool to get his fish. Conditioned reinforcers, like clickers, bridge the gap between the behavior and the delivery of the reward. When you click during (not after!) the behavior you want, it is like taking a picture of the behavior and marking it exactly for the dog. Clicker training is a great way to communicate to your dog.

Clicking can speed up training because it is a fast, precise, unique sound. Praise words, like "good," are also conditioned reinforcers, but words can get lost in all of the other words we say as we talk to our dogs. The advantage of clickers if that they force us to concentrate on what our dogs are doing right, rather than waiting for them to be wrong and then correcting them. It is always better training to catch your dog in the act of being right, and then reward him.

How To Train Your Puppy

How To Train Your Puppy

Getting a new puppy is a fun and interesting time. You probably went to a breeder or pet store or maybe just saw an ad on the Internet or the newspaper, for puppies, and decided just to check it out. Before you knew it those little eyes and fluffy puppy fur had your heart melting and you were headed home with him or her in your arms. If you are like most new pet owners you had visions of playing fetch with your dog, of watching him frolic at the lake, and of cuddling up on cold nights.

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