There are several methods by which you can train your dog, and clicker training is one of the most effective and popular. Its popularity has risen not only because of its effectiveness, but also because it does not cause the dog any amount of pain. It is based on the premise of behavioural psychology which states that rewarding good behaviour is the best way of promoting it. Clicker training your dog involves associating a positive behaviour with the clicking sound and some treats.
The positive reinforcement employed in clicker training your dog helps in making the dog understand the purposes of training even better than giving vocal commands. And the clicker allows you to do away with old methods of giving the dog a little electrical shock in order to correct bad behaviour. It is in a dog’s nature to want to please his master, but it is YOUR responsibility as owner to communicate what you want in the appropriate manner.
Researchers refer to this type of training as “operant conditioning,” which means that your dog will consciously and intentionally do something in order to gain a particular result – in this case, the reward. Dogs have a natural tendency to associate people, places, objects, and events with either a positive or negative experience. So, if your dog learns to associate good behaviour with a positive experience, he will be more likely to exhibit such behaviour.
Now, what’s the value of using a clicker rather than sticking to vocal commands? Well, think about it: The sound of the clicker is designed specifically for training purposes. Your dog hears it only when he does something good and then he gets a treat right after hearing it. Therefore, he won’t be able to associate the clicking sound with anything other than good behaviour. Furthermore, the sound of the clicker is the same every time he hears it, so it’s easier for the dog to make the association. Your voice can have a different inflection each time you deliver a command, differences that just might cause a bit of confusion in your dog.
One important thing to remember when clicker training your dog is that the click has to be given DURING the desired behaviour. Do not wait until your dog is done exhibiting the good behaviour. The moment you notice your dog doing something good, click and give the reward. Give another click as soon as the good behaviour is completed. This will help him realize exactly which behaviour caused the clicking sound and the treat. Punishing bad behaviour can undermine your relationship with your dog, but rewarding good behaviour will help you build a stronger bond and ensure that your dog continues to exhibit only those behaviours that you find acceptable.
It has been proven time and time again that positive reinforcement is the best way to promote good behaviour in your dog. So if you want to have a happy and well-behaved pet, clicker training your dog may be the best way to go.
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