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¿How many times have you wished you could say to your pet: "I like that you just did "? Developing communication between you and your dog is a beautiful and exciting process, although for some owners it is very frustrating as they do not get results.
The basis of all communication is affection and patience, although it is also useful to understand how our pet thinks. However, today at AnimalWised we are going to explain the use of a very interesting tool to improve communication with our pet and, of course, reinforce their training.
Do not separate yourself from the screen that we present in this article the clicker for dogs and everything you need to know about it.You may also be interested in: Loading the dog's clicker in training Index
- What is the clicker?
- Advantages of clicker training
- Disadvantages of clicker dog training
- The clicker load
- Clicker training example
- Truths and lies about clicker training
- Incorrect use of the clicker
- What if I don't have a clicker?
What is the clicker?
The clicker is a small button that makes a sound. Said in a more mundane way, it is a small box with a button that when pressed emits a "click ". Hence the name.
I imagine that knowing that the clicker is a box with a button will not tell you much. Alright let's get to it ¿what is the clicker for? The clicker is a behavior enhancer. The goal is for the dog every time he hears the "click" to understand that he has done something right. We will be able to say to our pet: "hey, very good that you just did ".
And it is that this behavior enhancer helps us in two lines. On the one hand, it would be a substitute for treats (food continues to be a positive reinforcement of behavior) and on the other, we can reward a spontaneous behavior of our dog.
Imagine that you are in the park. Your dog is loose and a few feet from you. Suddenly, a puppy appears and jumps on top of your pet because he wants to play. Your dog sits down and patiently holds the little one. You have noticed that detail and you want to tell him "¡Very good that attitude, I love that you share yourself like that! ".
Even if you ran out to give her a treat, it would be too late. Your pet would not understand the message. If in that situation you had had a clicker, seeing his good behavior you would only have to press the button to reward him.
Surely now you understand better the possibilities that the clicker offers you in training a dog. In addition and very important also, with the use of this enhancer you also close communication with your pet. It will help you understand each other better, with all the advantages that this entails. Of course, never forget that the best relationship you can have with a dog is one based on affection.
Advantages of clicker training
The clicker training It presents a whole series of advantages that you should take into account if you still have doubts about its use. One of the most notable is that through this method the dog learns to pursue a purpose, not out of habit. In this way, learning lasts longer because the dog is aware of the behavior and action it is taking. In addition to this, the following points stand out:
- Simple: its handling is very easy to understand.
- Creativity: by facilitating communication between you and your dog, it will be easier for you to teach him many tricks. Let your imagination fly and have a great time with your pet learning new commands.
- Encouragement: this type of learning makes your dog more motivated and aware. Promotes their development.
- Concentration: food is a great reinforcer, but sometimes our dog is too aware of it and does not pay attention to the exercise. With the clicker there is no such problem.
- Reinforcement in medium distance: you can reward actions without your pet being by your side.
Disadvantages of clicker dog training
Actually, clicker training has no disadvantages when done correctly. However, some people get too excited about the initial results (and the ease with which they are achieved) that they do not deepen the training..
You have to be aware that reliability and fluidity of behaviors are long-term goals, both in clicker training and in traditional dog training..
The clicker load
We are not referring to putting batteries into the device or something similar. The clicker load is nothing other than the process or exercises that we must perform with our dog so that associate the sound of the click with a prize.
The basic loading exercise is to make the sound "click" and right after, give your dog a treat. However, do not worry, in this other article we explain in depth the entire process of loading the clicker. It is important that before continuing the clicker training you verify that the loading has been carried out correctly and if your dog is understanding how the clicker works.
Clicker training example
Let's imagine that we want to teach our pet to pretend that he is crying or sad. Or what is the same, train him to put his foot in the face.
Follow this step by step:
- Choose a word to which you are going to assign that order. Remember that it should be a word that your dog does not hear normally, since you run the risk that the training will not work.
- We put something in the dog's snout that catches his attention. For example, a post-it.
- When we see that the leg goes up to want to take it off, we say the chosen word, "sad " for example.
- Right after he's done it, click the clicker.
- Although in principle the dog should follow your instructions only with the use of the clicker, it is fine to use small treats when we start with a new command. This way you will not forget for sure.
As you can see, it is a very fast exercise. Doing it with sweets would be more complicated, since we would lose that speed and it would be more difficult for our pet to understand us.
Truths and lies about clicker training
You can teach an exercise to your dog without even touching it: true.
Through clicker training you can teach exercises without touching your dog or putting on a leash.
You can make your dog perfectly trained without ever having a collar or leash on him: lie.
Although you can teach the exercises without putting your dog on a leash, you will need a collar and leash to generalize the learning. This is necessary when you start practicing the exercises in places where there are many distractions, such as the street or a park.
However, the collar and leash are only used as security measures to prevent your dog from walking or running into dangerous areas, such as an avenue. They are not used as corrective or punitive elements.
You will have to reward your dog with food forever: a lie.
You can gradually eliminate food rewards by using a variable reinforcement schedule and diversifying reinforcers. Or, better yet, using reinforcers from everyday life.
An old dog can learn new tricks through clicker training: true.
It doesn't matter how old your dog is. Both old dogs and puppies can learn with this technique. The only requirement is that your dog has the necessary strength to follow a training program.
Incorrect use of the clicker
Some trainers have the idea that the clicker is a kind of magic box that works without the need to feed or provide games to the dog. These coaches have a habit of clicking multiple times without giving any reinforcer. So in their training sessions you hear a lot "click-click-click-click-click", but you don't see much reinforcement.
By doing this, trainers nullify the value of the clicker, as it does not serve to reinforce the dog's behaviors. In addition, they are harmed when handling a tool that does not serve them because they use it badly. At best, this is a useless procedure that bothers but does not harm the training. In the worst case, the trainer concentrates on the tool rather than training and does not progress.
What if I don't have a clicker?
The clicker is very useful. However, it is not essential. If you don't have a clicker, you can replace it by clicking with your tongue or using a short word. To click with your tongue, you just have to stick it to your palate and peel it off quickly.
If you decide to use a short word, you should choose one that you don't use often. Also, you need to pronounce it quickly to make it a good marker. Some useful words are: Ok, take, yes, k (ka).
The sound you use instead of the click should be different from orders canine obedience. If you use "Ok ", you should avoid using the word "Here " to call your dog. If you use "k " (pronounce the letter k), you should avoid using "Here " to call your dog. If you use "yes ", you should avoid using "Sit " to ask your dog to sit.