GUIDELINES FOR CLICKER
1. Charge up the clicker by pairing
a click and a treat.
Don’t ask for any specific behaviors at
first, just click, treat, click, treat, click, treat… as
fast as possible. Do this about 20 times. Simply be sure your
dog isn’t doing anything you don’t like when you click.
2. Don’t click too close to your
It hurts, a lot. If your dog seems a little
worried about the sound of the click keep the clicker in your
pocket or behind your back. If your dog still seems worried try
to find a soft clicker (they vary a lot in sharpness and volume).
Some people recommend putting some masking tape over the metal
part of the clicker to soften the sound. You can also use a ball
point pen or a baby food jar lid for an extremely soft click.
3. Pair the clicker with toys and games
in the same way you charged it up with treats.
Click and play for a very short period, then
repeat. It really helps add variety to your reinforcers by pairing
the clicker with all the things your dog loves.
4. Always follow the click with a reinforcer.
This needs to be a 1 to 1 relationship.
Clicking without offering a reinforcer lowers
the value of the click as a signal that good things are coming.
This makes the meaning of the click inconsistent.
5. Use the click as a behavioral marker.
The purpose of using the clicker is that you
can mark the ‘exact’ moment your dog performs a behavior
you like. Believe it or not, the clicker is much more precise
than the human voice. Plus, people tend to chatter at the dog
rather than use a single, short, distinctive word.
6. Only click once for each desired
Because the sound of the click is a precise
behavioral marker, multiple clicks will be confusing to your dog.
7. Practice your timing.
Your training is only effective when you are
exact in your behavioral mark. Most people click much too late.
Practice your clicker timing by teaching silly tricks and playing
shaping games such as ‘101 things to do with a box’.
8. Split, don’t lump.
Build the behaviors you want to teach in a step-by-step
manner. Break down each behavior into the smallest possible parts
and teach each of those separately. Expecting too much will lead
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