Puppy Clicker Training is a fun, easy and fast way to start your puppy's education. A clicker is a device that makes a "click" sound; we can teach your dog that "click" means treat! Then, we can teach her how to earn those clicks!
The first thing anyone must teach their dog is what trainers call a "marker word". This can be any sound, visual cue (for deaf dogs) or tactile cue (deaf and blind dogs). It can be taught to any dog, of any breed, age and background.
Puppies can start a training program as soon as you bring them home. Getting started with clicker training is a fun way to bond, play and teach your puppy all at the same time. It is very easy and any member of the family can participate, even kids!
Puppy clicker training is useful to teach your dog manners, cues (or commands), games, sports, beginner and advance behaviors and more! In this page I will teach you how to start training a puppy with a clicker and how to teach him a couple of basic manners: pay attention and ask for permission; two essential and easy to start behaviors.
To start puppy clicker training the first thing you need to do is...
Charge the clicker!
No, it's not an electronic device but that's what we trainers call it when we teach a dog the meaning of the sound "click". Your puppy will learn that a click = treat.
You can buy a clicker at your nearest pet shop or order them online. In my opinion the best training clicker is the following one because they have a good sounds and are easy to handle. It comes with two attachment options (to your wrist or to your belt).
You can use your puppy's kibble (this is my first choice for young puppies), make homemade treats or use anything healthy you have in your fridge (chicken, carrot pieces, etc.) - cut into pea size bites. You can also buy them, these are my favorites:
Simply click and give your dog a treat. Repeat….repeat…repeat in every room of your house, repeat no matter what your canine friend is doing…repeat until you see that your puppy's eyes light up at the sound of the clicker alone.
Once your dog understands that "click" means something good is going to happen, it is time to use puppy clicker training to your advantage. Whenever your dog does something good you can click to tell her so! and she will understand! This means that she will try to do the behavior again in order to get another click.
How many times per day should you practice puppy clicker training? The answer to this question depends largely on the dog and owner. Some dogs, like border collies, are very active and like to work. In this case you could do longer sessions and more sessions per day. Other dogs get easily distracted or bored, in which case you may want to do shorter sessions. In general the following rules apply for any clicker training schedule:
Now that your puppy knows the meaning of the clicker, you can use puppy clicker training to teach her to pay attention to you, a very useful skill. The idea is to teach your puppy: 1) To always pay attention to you, even when she is distracted, to look at you every once in a while. 2) To look at you if she needs or wants anything (permission).
Attention is not technically a command, instead it is something we want your dog to do on her own. It's very easy to teach and will make the rest of her training easier, because now you have a dog that loves looking at you!
This exercise is almost as easy as charging the clicker, the difference is that, in this case, we do want your puppy to do something to earn her click and treat. All she has to do is look at you!
Attention can take many forms. Another excellent exercise to start working with your puppy is to teach her to look at you if she wants anything. This will strengthen the bond between the two of you because it will teach her to trust you.
Puppy clicker training is not forever. The clicker is mostly used to teach the dog something new, but eventually you want to replace the clicker for a word (that way if you don't have the clicker near by you can still "mark and reward" your puppy).
I use the clicker when I want to teach my dog something new and complex. Most basic commands can be taught with a word and you don't necessarily need a clicker. But it's good to start teaching your puppy with a clicker so she gets used to it and learns its meaning.
Switching to a marker word is very easy, just follow the same steps you did to "charge the clicker"....but now you will be charging a word! Then you can use the word as a marker to keep rewarding your puppy once in a while. Because even though you can stop using a clicker, you need to keep rewarding your dog once in a while to get reliable behaviors and commands.
Potty training: Training your puppy to eliminate outside can be the biggest nightmare if you do it incorrectly. If you follow the advice here you could have your doggy housetrained in about a week. Using puppy clicker training will further help you achieve success in this matter.
This is probably the single most important thing you should work with your new puppy and it is often the most overlooked. Your job is to expose your puppy to more than 100 new
things before the age of 3 months. And the key to success: all these things have to be associated with something good!
No-biting: This is probably the second most important thing you should teach your puppy dog. During this time in development dogs also learn how to use their mouth properly. This means that dogs can learn to play with their mouth gently, without using their teeth. Why is this so important?...
Want to teach you puppy more things? Here is a list of dog training commands to keep you and your dog busy!