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The Whippeteer: Whippet Dog News, Issue #0042 - Clicker Training
May 17, 2013

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An here is this month's featured article

An Introduction to Clicker Training

Clicker training is a kind, fun, fast and effective way to train your dog. It can be used to cure unwanted behavior as well as teach new behaviors.

"Let's try it again.  This time with a tad less mania." - New Yorker Cartoon
"Let's try it...
Julia Suits
Buy This at

An Introduction to Clicker Training - Simple, Effective Dog Training

An Introduction to Clicker Training - Simple, Effective Dog Training
By Michelle Masters

Clicker training is a kind, fun, fast and effective way to train your dog. It can be used to cure unwanted behavior as well as teach new behaviors. It is simple to learn, your dog will love it and best of all his training will last. When a dog learns using clicker training, he learns quicker and retains his learning far better than any other method. Try it and see...

  • What is it?
  • Why use it?
  • How does it work?
  • What's so good about it?
Clicker Training is an effective, safe and kind way to teach your dog any behavior! Even Children can train puppies and dogs using Clicker Training!

What is Clicker Training?

Desirable behavior is marked by using a "clicker," a mechanical device that makes a short, distinct "click" sound which tells your dog exactly when they are doing the right thing. This clear form of communication, combined with positive reinforcement, (a reward) is an effective, safe, and humane way to teach any animal any behavior.

When we use clicker training we look for situations that encourage the dog to teach themselves what to do. We all remember the self taught lessons for life! The difference between an animal that behaves with purpose, rather than by habit, is vast. Clicker trained animals try to learn new behaviors. They remember behaviors even years later because they were aware of them as they learned them, rather than acquiring them without awareness or by force.

This is a process which will enhance and deepen your relationship with your dog, through greater understanding, good communication and with absolute trust. Dogs are very, very good learners for the whole of their lives. They welcome learning, relish problem solving and finish satisfied happy dogs.

Clicker training is also an excellent technique for solving boredom related problems such as hyperactivity, chewing, barking etc. The mental stimulation it provides is so intense (when used properly) it enables your dog to relax and unwind having done some 'work'. Many dog behavior problems have boredom as part of their cause and with a little careful planning and organization, clicker training can provide an extremely good solution to these types of problems.

Why use a Clicker?

With the click, a trainer can precisely "mark" behavior so that the animal knows exactly what it was doing at the point it earned a reward. That's why clicker trainers call the click an "event marker." The click also bridges or connects the behaviour and its reward, and so is also called a "bridging signal."

How does Clicker Training Work?

The trainer clicks at the moment the behavior occurs: The dog sits, the trainer clicks simultaneously. Clicking is like taking a picture of the behavior the trainer wishes to reinforce. After "taking the picture," the trainer gives the animal something it likes, usually a small piece of food but sometimes play, petting, or other rewards.

Very soon (sometimes within two or three clicks), an animal will associate the sound of the click with something it likes: the reward. Since it wishes to repeat that pleasurable experience, it will repeat the action it was doing when it heard the click. Any behavior can be trained with any animal following these three simple steps:

  • Get the behavior.
  • Mark the behavior.
  • Reinforce the behavior

Asking for the Behaviors?

Clicker trainers differ from traditional trainers in that they wait until the behavior is well understood by the animal before using a verbal command or "cue." A cue is the name of a behavior, such as "sit," or a hand signal.

Until a dog knows what the behavior is, any name for it would be meaningless! eg: ask an untrained dog to sit, he will look blankly at you, teach him to sit first, then associate the verbal cue 'sit', with the behavior you have taught and voila!! Your dog understands your cue and will respond with sitting behavior.

Do you have to forever Click & Treat?

Once a behavior is learned and on cue, there's usually no need for further clicks, as the dog now understands the behavior. Clicker trainers can maintain the behavior by replacing specially good treats with occasional and less intensive rewards including a pat or praise. Learned cues and behaviors are also maintained by real-life rewards: for example sitting quietly at the door is rewarded by opening the door so that the dog can have a walk. Clicker trainers then save clicks and treats for the next new thing they want to train.

What's Good About Clicker Training?

  • The clicker lets you separate the behavior (leaving the rabbit chase) from the reward, (arriving back with you for a Big Hug).
  • The clicker works the same for everybody in the family
  • The clicker lets us teach the dogs complicated chains of behavior that we never thought we could
  • In fact it works for every animal, including fish, rats, dolphins, killer whales, horses, pigs.
  • We say clicker training is simple, but not easy. The principle is simple, using it with full efficiency and effectiveness can take time to learn ... but it is a fun way to learn!
  • Clicker Training is SO effective that dogs can learn very quickly which provides you as owners with a strong sense of achievement in a generally short space of time which encourages you to teach more and your dog to learn more!

Find out how you can live in complete understanding with your dog, communicate with him effectively and have him CHOOSE to behave the way you would like. Catch up with further articles, training worksheets and workbooks here and at for more educational material on how to live an extraordinary life with your beloved dogs.

Article Source:,-Effective-Dog-Training&id=2861448

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