Clicker training, a common method mostly heard by a household that owns a dog. Naturally, owners are responsible for training their dog as it addresses behavioral problems and creates emotional bonds that flourish in time.
Clicker training is used with other training methods as well. Or it can be utilized on its own. But, what is the general concept in using clicker training?
What is clicking for? Clicking is a mark or a signal that an owner makes to represent that they obtained the desired result out of a task the dog has been given to do. The good thing is, our dogs are so intelligent that when they are rewarded with a click, they understand what our intentions or what we ask them to do. Bob Bailey is quoted with the saying “what you click is what you get.”
Owners have this “plan” or an image of what a desired behavior or response should be. But, they fail in realizing the main point in all of this. It is up to the dog’s ability to conclude as to which of the behaviors he presented shall be rewarded. However, some factors such as timing, level of expectations, environment and reinforcement are taken into account how the dog shall draw the conclusion.
For better understanding, here is an illustration. I train the dog with the command “stay” while continuing on clicking. However, I don’t realize that my dog is preoccupied with environmental factors and with that, he may be misunderstood that I am clicking for something that is completely unrelated to what he is doing and what I am asking from him.
Here are the advantages of clicker training:
When you turn into a clicker training, it is a rewarding environment that highly motivates him to discover things on his own and explore things by not restraining him.
You don’t have to worry about losing a dog’s interest in the training or his motivation to move forward. With this, you can repeat it many times for easy mastery.
This training is reward-based sessions that last longer in comparison to other training methods that are not reward-based.
Teaching a dog becomes easier because you provide a clear signal or cue that differentiates the right from the wrong, what you expect from him and what shall be rewarded.
Here are the disadvantages:
Clicker training relies on rewards for this training to be effective. If your a dog is not motivated or does not feel rewarded with toys, cuddles or treats, it will be difficult for this training to be understood.
When not done properly, especially during the periods of transition from continuous reinforcement to seldom ones, the learned behaviors associated with rewards will cease to exist or diminish gradually.
This training method requires a lot of patience, knowledge, and understanding. The training depends highly on what you intend to do. This is why professional dog trainers are usually the one who does this method.