The lowdown on dog clicker training
Dog training is a necessity when you make the decision to keep a dog as a pet. Dogs, particularly larger ones, must be obedient, or keeping them becomes extremely hard work.
In addition to their appreciation for being fed, as pack animals, dogs have natural instincts that favor training. These instincts are manifested as a desire to please a trainer. This gives the dog trainer an unbeatable edge in shaping the dog's behavior.
While dogs can be trained for complicated, serious actions, such as rescue work, circus acts, or medical diagnosis, there are certain elements of training that almost all dogs can learn, to the benefit of both dog and trainer.
Basically, dog training is about communication. The trainer is communicating to the dog what behaviors are correct in what circumstances. A successful trainer must also understand the communication that the dog sends to them. The dog can signal that he is unsure, confused, nervous, happy, excited, etc. The emotional state of the dog is an important consideration in directing the training.
Dog training clickers are great training tools. They are effective training tools for puppies or dogs because dog clickers make a very distinct sound, letting you control your timing, and eliminate the inflection in your voice that can hinder dog training.
Dogs are very sensitive to inflections in your voice, and training your dog with a clicker eliminates the inflections and you can train more effectively, even if you are in a crabby mood or are getting short-tempered during the training session.
Now that you've got a dog clicker it is time to train your dog to get used to the tool. First thing, get a pocket full of small, edible treats ready and, for easy access, get a nice clicker treat bag. Then you can lure the dog with the treat or go to the dog with the clicker and some treats.
Click the clicker, and give the dog a nice treat. At this point, it doesn’t matter what he’s doing at the moment, since you basically are training your dog to learn that when there's a click there's a treat. You can continue the process of making clicks and rewarding with treats until you've trained your dog to react quickly with the turn of his head and he gives you all his attention when he hears the sound of the clicker. This process probably won't really take much time, but you've got to make him react with your clicker before you move on to the next clicker training step.
Whatever stage of training you have reached, or whatever method of training you may have chosen, always remember these golden rules;
1. Be Positive -- It is necessary to use positive reinforcement when you train your dog or puppy by offering some dog treats and a lot of praise if he does something correctly. During the initial training sessions, you can offer both praise and treats.
2. Firm and Friendly -- When you give commands such as stay and come, you want to use a happy, friendly voice. On the other hand, you will want a lower, firmer voice for sit, down, and stay.
3. Start Young…but not too early - The ideal time to start training begins at six to eight weeks, maybe even earlier depending on the puppy. But remember, you can teach old dogs new tricks.
4. Be Patient - Patience is vital when you work with your dog or puppy. If you feel like you’re at the end of your rope before you’ve even started, don’t attempt to train your dog. Your dog is incredibly smart and will pick up on your emotions.
5. Keep it Short - Fifteen minutes or so is about the right time for learning simple commands, so concentrate on a single command a session and end it on a positive note. If your dog or pup has successfully done the command several times in a row remember to smother him with praise. After the dog training session, spend some time playing. He will associate time with you as positive and look forward to his training.
6. No Distractions - Try to pick a quiet place free of distractions when training your dog. A secluded garden or a quiet inside room works best. If there are other pets in the family, put them separate so they won’t interfere with training.
7. Remember, both you and the dog should enjoy. - Dog training, of course, should be a pleasant time for you and your dog. The time can be used to bond closely with your dog and learn each other’s personalities. When you do this, you will not only have a well-trained dog or puppy but a longtime, loyal companion and friend.