Getting Started With Clicker Training For Your Dog

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Getting Started With Clicker Training For Your Dog

by Lynn Reynolds

What is clicker training

Clicker training is a way to train your dog to encourage good behavior while ignoring and eliminating bad behavior. Dogs of any age can quickly associate the clicker sound with desired behaviors. It can work more quickly and be more effective than voice or hand cues only.

Click for Positive Behavior

The most important part of clicker training is to click for positive behavior. If you want to teach your dog to sit, click when your dog sits normally. If you are housetraining your dog, click when she is going outside. Remember click=good. Do not make the mistake of clicking when the dog is engaging in behavior you want to stop. Do not use it when your not-yet-housetrained dog has an accident on the floor. She will soon learn the behavior that you desire. Until then, ignore the non desirable behavior.


Timing is crucial in clicker training. Dogs have short attention spans. Do not wait until after the behavior is finished. If you do, he will not know why you are clicking and will become confused about what is the desirable behavior. Do not worry if the clicking interrupts the behavior. Your dog will still associate the click with the behavior.


After the click comes the dog?s favorite part of training?the reward. You want to teach your dog to sit. Click while your dog is sitting down, then offer the reward. Do not give the dog too much; a small piece of your dog?s favorite food will suffice.

Adding the Cues

Soon, your dog will learn what behaviors you find desirable. He will begin to do this behavior in the hopes of securing a click and a treat. When this happens it is time to add the cues and train your dog with words or hand signals. If you are teaching your dog ?sit,? only click when the dog sits during or after the cue. Do not click if the dog does not respond. He will begin to associate the cues with the desired behaviors.

Stay Positive

If you begin to become frustrated with your dog, it is time to put the clicker away and take a break from training. Dog training takes time, but as long as progress is being made you know you are on the right path.

Lynn loves all dogs, especially well-behaved ones. To learn more about dog training, visit her site at

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