How To Train With a Clicker?

Training with a clicker, or marker word (your word must sound exactly the same 99.9% of the time otherwise use a clicker), takes all the guesswork out of positive reinforcement. It is crystal clear to the dog which behaviour or a part of the behaviour is being reinforced. According to the principles of learning, the timeframe for an association (learning) is about 2 seconds. Perfecting your timing in your “click” of wanted behaviour does take time to master, when you do your training will take off to the next level.

Event marker, such as clicker, allows us to communicate with the dog which behaviour we like the instance it happens and we follow up with a reinforcer (food, toy, praise depending on the phase of learning). It allows us to be more precise and clear. We would never be able to give the dog a treat the instance he sits – we simply cannot move fast enough. On average, it takes a dog up to 2 seconds to make a mental connection between cause and effect.

In some schools of thought click may mean for the dog to continue the behaviour. We tend to use it as a release or indicator that the exercise is finished.

Please remember that clicker is a promise of reinforcement that can never be broken. If you click, even if you do so at the wrong time, you must reinforce the dog. One click per reinforcement.

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