Would you like to develop better communication and a deeper connection with your dog? Would you like to encourage a faster acquisition of a new behavior or to effectively deflect your dog’s bad behavior? Are you particularly keen on new trends and practices to boost your relationship with your endearing pooch? If so, you may be interested to try clicker training dogs.
Clicker training dogs has rapidly gained considerable ground against other existing methods to become a greatly preferred way of training and reinforcing new behavior. This innovative practice has been initiated by a couple of B.F. Skinner’s students, Marian Bailey and Keller Brelland. Greatly inspired by the former’s work on operant conditioning, the couple recognized its great potential and started clicker training dogs. From then on, this method has been a catalyst to numerous success stories from dog trainers and determined pet owners alike. If you would like to join the bandwagon and experience the joys of clicker training dogs, here are some tips and tricks to get you started.
Before you commence clicker training dogs, you should have a good enough understanding of positive reinforcement and how it works. Positive reinforcement is a type of operant condition where the dog is given treats or rewards for every task that he is able to accomplish. This is in contrast to the highly-discouraged negative conditioning where dogs are punished for bad behavior. Positive reinforcement is the bedrock of clicker training dogs because the behavior of interest is highlighted and rewarded which, consequently, leads to repetition.
Aside from learning the concept of positive reinforcement, you should also focus on improving your timing. When you are clicker training dogs, the clicker’s function is to highlight or identify the behavior that you would like the dog to learn. For instance, if you would like your dog to sit down upon command, you should click when the dog is doing the behavior and give him a doggie treat to ensure that the dog identifies the particular act as the desired behavior for which he is rewarded for. Of course, you should have a clicker and a bag of delicious treats ready before clicker training dogs.
The Perfect Setting
Since clicker training dogs involves the giving of food or goodies for good behavior, this method is ideally done when the dog is hungry because a fed dog may no longer be too motivated by treats to execute the behavior of interest. Initially, training should be done in a quiet environment, progressing into a noisier area once the dog is prepped for the next level. Also, training should only be done for about 5-10 minutes per session in view of the dog’s relatively short attention span.
Clicker training dogs requires a great amount of patience and persistence on your part. It involves gently urging your pooch to take baby steps in learning new behaviors and, thus, the training should be done by progression. First off, you should load the clicker by giving a treat to your dog with every click to develop an association between the two acts. Once you have successfully done it in succession, you should add a cue to the behavior which may be a distinct verbal command or a clear hand gesture. Once your canine friend has mastered these steps, you can now move on to more complicated steps or tricks. Admittedly, clicker training dogs is not an easy feat but it is definitely a very fulfilling experience.
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