CM's Daily Poll: Clickers


Experienced Member
I'm going to presume that we all know what a clicker is and what it does. If you happen to not know, then you can learn more by reading Jean's in the classroom.

But, as popular as they are, there are some very divided opinions on their usefulness and effectiveness. Tell us your thoughts...

For me, I am really sat in the middle. I appreciate what they do, but I've always resented relying on things that I may not always have to hand, and may be used by others inadvertently to influence my dog. (Imagine a classroom full of eager clickers and their dogs.) So any dislike I may have towards them, isn't really towards them specifically, but rather towards dog gadgets in general.

I do use a clicker but only for the first few days of shaping a new behaviour. Then I switch to my usual "that's the way" to replace the sound of the clicker, and to let the dog know that she's doing the right thing. But for that start period, I do find it invaluable. I may find I rely on it more when I do some more protracted shaping behaviours in the future.

Jean Cote

Staff member
I love clickers, they are great for around the house or when training your dog one on one. I do believe you can deliver a click a lot faster than you can speak, I believe there was a study done on this which proved it. (Although I don't remember where.)

However I am like CollieMan - I don't use it all the time. When I train my dogs outside, at a public place or anywhere for that matter, I use the word "Yes", which acts exactly like the click. It works great!

I am very skeptical of dog training classes who make their students all use clickers. I mean, 10-15 clickers in one room, how can your dog differentiate between his click and the other dogs. Doesn't make sense to me!

Overall, I give clickers two thumbs up for price, ease of use and durability (I've never had one that broke).


New Member
Actually dogs seem to know which is "their" click in a class full of clickers. I guess with their exceptional hearing they can distinguish the subtle frequencies of each individual clicker, or maybe they orient in the direction of their owners.

Our current trainer doesn't use a clicker but a word as a verbal marker, and has competed successfully at the high levels of schutzhund as well as in agility and obedience so it's definitely not necessary to use a clicker at all to get great training results! Nonetheless I have personally found clickers to be so useful I have them everywhere - in my car, in my coat pocket....I continue to use a clicker even when I don't really need to. I use it for proofing our training around distractions in real life like on our daily outings in public places. Every new distraction or increase in distraction or combination of distractions is a change in training context. So I figure the more I can do to clarify and confirm to my dog when he is doing the right thing, the quicker the training will generalize, and in stressful situations I find that clicking is easier than using my voice. But if forget my clicker it's no big deal. clickers are useful and some people find them more useful than others but they are not necessary.