Clicker Training, Yes or No?

Discussion in 'General Dog Training' started by driven, Apr 19, 2008.

  1. driven New Member

    Clicker Training, Yes or No?

    I have heard a lot of great things about clicker training. A lot of animal trainers use them including animal trainers for movies. It is great because the dog is able to know exactly what you want because it hears the click and knows that whatever it is doing is a command you want to them to do.

    Say you want to teach your dog to yawn on command, you would wait until they are doing it naturally then if the dog knows how the clicker works, if you click they will know they are doing something good and will repeat what they are doing. I know that is how a lot of difficult-to-teach commands have been taught.

    I actually taught my dog to wave in less then 2 minutes using the clicker and it seems to have proven to be a very great device for training. I also taught my cat how to come and to sit on command using the clicker and he still does it every time I tell him to.

    I really like the method, but I have a few concerns. All 3 concerns of mine have a lot in common, but they are all different questions.

    1) Because clicker training requires treats after every click, I am worried that my dogs will learn to rely on treats instead of verbal praise. If you do clicker training, is it ok to switch back and forth from clicker to the normal way of training with only praise and no treats?

    2) Will my dogs respect me less if I clicker train them? I want my dogs to do a command because they respect me and want to please me, not because they want a treat.

    3) Will my dogs and I still have the strong connection from training if I clicker train or will they only care about the reward?

    Also, someone told me something and I was wondering how true it is. "You only treat after every click at the start, to teach the dog that the sound of the click is a positive thing. After a while just a click will act as the reward and tell the dog you are pleased with what it is doing." Is this true??

  2. Jean Cote Administrator

    1) You only need treats to train the behavior. Once the dog knows and understand what is required, he will offer the behavior without food being present. Of course you shouldn't get off food cold turkey, but gradually you can stop giving treats all the time and using praise & petting instead. You can use food to reinforce excellent performances of the behavior.

    2) I'm not sure what you mean by "respect". Clicker training will actually create a better relationship with your dog because he is able to be successful. It is a lot better than the traditional type of training where they wait until the dog makes a mistake and constantly correct the dog. A clicker trained dog is a dog which wags his tails the entire session.

    3) It is not just about the reward, the time spent with your dog is something special between the two of you. I personally train my dogs because I have fun doing it and my dog enjoys it so much, I wouldn't do it if it was any other way.

    4) You can read the reinforcements and clicker lessons in Level 1, it explains in greater details the theory of dog training. The click is only to pinpoint the behavior that you want to reinforce, but you are right in the beginning you must teach the dog that good things happens when she hears the click, but later on she must work to get the click. :)

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