Dog clicker training utilizes a toy noisemaker (clicker) to mark wanted behaviors. The clicker turns into an “adapted reinforcer” by being paired repeatedly with things the dog wants to work for (regularly, however not always sustenance) which we at that point use to communicate to our dogs, “I like that, do it all the more frequently!”
A Brief History Of Dog Clicker Training
While many view dog clicker training as a fad, marker training originated in B.F. Skinner’s work and was additionally created by Marion Breland Bailey, Keller Breland, and later, Bob Bailey decades ago. Clicker training has been utilized to train many species, including fish, recluse crabs, steeds, cats, chickens, tigers, elephants, rabbits, rats, marine mammals, even individuals!
It wasn’t until dog trainers read Karen Pryor’s seminal work Don’t Shoot the Dog that clicker training became generally embraced in the dog training network.
What Do I Need To Start Dog Clicker Training?
- Pocket for treats
- Tasty treats
11 stages to utilizing the clicker to shape desirable behaviors in your dog (also valid for cats, winged creatures, rats, or most different pets):
Practice Your Timing:
This progression has nothing to do with the dog; it’s all about you. Your goal is to end up capable of clicking when you see something that you want your dog to repeat. From the get go you’ll be practicing without the dog. Have a companion toss a ball straight out of sight (or do it without anyone else’s help). Snap when the ball reaches the most elevated point. Repeat until you are certainly clicking exactly when the ball reaches the most elevated point. When you can do that, you’ll have great clicker timing.
Discover Great Rewards:
Discover some really delightful treats. There are loads of good training treats out there. Bit of naturally cooked turkey or chicken also functions admirably. One dog I know goes crazy over bits of an orange, and another adores bananas. In general, you want to utilize something small and delicate, so your dog gets a snack of a treat, swallows it, and is ready to work for additional. (Important note: Never use grapes, raisins, or currants — as these can cause kidney failure in dogs.) Toys make brilliant treats, especially for dogs who aren’t nourishment motivated, however toys take time to convey, so treats are frequently better at this stage – you may simply have to discover a really high value treat to provoke your dog’s advantage.
Charge the Clicker
On the off chance that your dog doesn’t appear to be startled by or afraid of the clicker, you can avoid this progression and proceed onward to the following stage. On the off chance that your dog is timid or doesn’t have any acquaintance with you well, it associates the snap sound with a treat. This is called “charging the clicker”. In case you’re utilizing an alternate marker instead of a clicker, for example, “yes” or a hand signal, charge that too. Initially, the snap has no meaning to the dog. In this progression, you’re not searching for a particular behavior, you’re simply teaching your dog to associate clicking with getting a treat. Simply be careful not to click while your dog is accomplishing something you despise, for example, jumping, barking, or crying.
The actual procedure is straightforward. On the off chance that your dog is startled by the commotion of the clicker, suppress the clicker with your hand or a sock so it isn’t too noisy. At that point, click, treat, pause, and then repeat. Alternate short and long pauses. This will enable your dog to learn that the snap is the signal for a treat. Practice clicking and treating somewhere in the range of 10 and multiple times. Take a break and then repeat the procedure after a couple of hours. When your dog starts to search for treats after she’s heard the snap, you’re ready to move to the subsequent stage. Presently you’ll teach your dog how to make you click.
Start Teaching a Behavior:
Presently you are ready to teach a behavior utilizing a procedure called “shaping.” When you shape, you are teaching your dog that she can MAKE you snap and give her a treat. During the time spent teaching this first behavior, you are also teaching your dog how to learn from you. Read through all of the means beneath before proceeding. In the event that your dog is ahead of the game, you can move faster through the means, however just in the event that you realize where you’re going!
Perhaps the best behavior to teach at this stage is targeting a wooden dowel with a bit of tape toward one side (the “target”). The reason? Dogs will in general offer the behaviors they already know when you are attempting to teach the following behavior. The principal behavior learned utilizing the clicker is one of the most grounded. Since this behavior will utilize a prop, if it’s not there, she can’t offer the behavior. So she’ll have to give you something different. Alternatively, you can teach her to take a gander at you as her first clicker-trained behavior. When you have a dog who realizes how to target a wooden dowel, you can utilize that to teach her to turn on light switches with her nose, stop in the contact zones for agility, close entryways, or simply be charming driving a ball around! Please note, you won’t put a sign on the targeting behavior until some other time (see underneath). At this moment, you want your dog to make sense of what to do to make you click. So shut your mouth, but to give praise.
Start with the target despite your good faith or generally far out. Hold the target and the clicker in the same hand. At that point hold the target out to your dog. In the event that she makes any advance toward it, such as sniffing, turning her head, flicking her ears, (really anything at all) snap and treat.
Put the target despite your good faith while your dog is eating her treat. At that point repeat. Do that about multiple times or somewhere in the vicinity. Give a major reward once and for all. At that point stop and set the target away while your dog is eating the treat. To accomplish something different. You would prefer not to exhaust her. Return to it later. That can be a couple of hours later or even the following day.
You’re shuffling a great deal here. Reward yourself for doing such a great job and being so patient with your dog. Go take a nap, call a companion, or accomplish something different that makes you happy. Your dog isn’t the one in particular who merits a treat!
Raise Your Criteria:
When you return to the training you can start to make it harder to get nourishment. At the point when your dog starts to offer the right behavior decisively, ask for a somewhat increasingly troublesome behavior. For example, if your dog is effectively touching the target with her paw, have a go at waiting for her to touch the target with her gag before you snap and treat. Snap each time that she touches it with her gag. Stop before she gets worn out. In the event that she looks genuinely eager to proceed, proceed onward to the subsequent stage.
Raise Your Criteria Again:
Presently, when your dog is warmed up to touching the target, she has to touch the target notwithstanding when it’s moved to various positions. Any time she touches the target in these new positions, give her a reward. On the off chance that she’s worn out, or seems as though she’ll tire soon, stop. Something else, go on. Remember regardless we aren’t calling this behavior anything. The target itself is the sign.
Raise Your Criteria Even More (and More):
In your next session, when your dog is warmed up, your dog has to touch the target near the end. The time after that, she has to touch the end. At that point wait for your dog to touch and hold her nose on the target. Reward just the long holds – half a second from the beginning, at that point one second, and so on. You want to make it harder each time, yet not feasible. Set her up for progress. In the event that she attempts more than twice with no reward, at that point you have probably made it too hard. Discover a stage in the middle of what she used to get rewarded for and what you want her to do.
Put the Behavior on Cue:
After your dog is touching the end rapidly and accurately, you can put it on signal. Have the target despite your good faith, say “touch” and then haul out the target. Your dog won’t notice the word, from the get go, however then she’ll make the association after some time. Each time you ask her to “touch” and she does, snap and treat. Occasionally present the target without saying “touch” and at that point in the event that she touches it, take the target away. On the off chance that she doesn’t touch it after a brief timeframe (start with 1/2 second), present the target and say the sign. Snap and treat for the touch just when she does as such after the prompt. Proceed at this stage until she touches when you say the prompt and waits for you to advise her in the event that you simply present the target. Special case: in the event that you want her to touch without the sign, so the target itself always prompts touching, skirt the second half of this progression.
Start Rewarding Only Sometimes:
This progression is critical, because it makes her less inclined to surrender in the event that you ever don’t give her a treat. Consider a space machine versus a soda machine. In the event that you put your cash in for a soda and get nothing back, you probably won’t put any more cash in. You expect a soda unfailingly. Be that as it may, with a space machine, you don’t anticipate a reward and yet many individuals are snared. Dogs, in the same way as other individuals, as to gamble, so utilize that to your advantage!
Start with stage nine. Practice three of four touch demands where you reward your dog each time she touches the target on a sign. On the off chance that she is reliably touching the target with her nose, start rewarding discontinuously. In some cases when your dog effectively touches the target, simply praise her. Try not to give her a sustenance reward or snap. At that point set the target back despite your good faith. Reward approximately 50 percent of your dog’s triumphs, however, don’t adhere to a predictable pattern of rewarding each different achievement. In the event that you stuck to each different achievement, your dog would notice the pattern. Since you aren’t rewarding inevitably, you can make sure to pick the great reactions.
After some time, you can change to saying “yes” and treat instead of snap and treat to start weaning off the clicker.
As always, end with a decent reaction that earns a major reward. I want to give a handful of treats on the floor for a final huge payoff. Set away your clicker, treats, and target while your dog is crunching.
Take It on the Road:
It’s important for your dog to realize how to perform in a variety of conditions. It’s great to practice training in new locations or with more distractions. However, when you change the conditions, performing turns out to be increasingly hard for your dog. When you go to another location or add more distractions, bring down your criteria. The first occasion when you train in the parlor instead of the room, click for reactions that aren’t exactly as flawless as the ones for which you used to reward your dog. Work up to the previous degree of flawlessness.
Practice in various rooms of the house and various distractions. On the off chance that your dog knows different signals, blend those in with the goal that you are asking for a combination of behaviors before treating. For example, you may ask your dog to sit, lay down, and then touch the target before you snap and treat.
When your dog can perform combinations effectively in each room of your home, head outside. Practice in the yard, on the sidewalk, down the road, or while in transit to the dog park! Each time the earth changes, your dog may act like she has no idea what “touch” means. That’s absolutely normal and she isn’t being difficult or determined. Your dog sincerely has no idea what you mean in this new setting. Simply experience the shaping procedure again, as a boost. She’ll catch on rapidly enough that you’ll feel like you’re on fast forward. As never forget to keep sessions short and upbeat. Always finish strong.
Clicker trainers always carry a clicker and food. The clicker is a teaching tool for new behaviors. Once the behavior is on cue and fluent to your standards, the clicker is no longer needed. You can then phase out treats, phase in play and life rewards, and only reinforce with treats occasionally.
Clicker trainers ignore unwanted behavior. While extinction can actually be a very effective tool for modifying behavior, but will not work for self-reinforcing behaviors. Clicker trainers use a combination of management (preventing the opportunity to rehearse unwanted behavior), negative punishment (the doggy equivalent of a “time out?) and training incompatible behaviors (a dog can’t jump if he’s sitting) to address self-reinforcing behaviors. Clicker trainers focus on what they want the dog to do instead of unwanted behavior in question.
All clicker training is created equal. Not all trainers who use clickers are “clicker trainers,” as many trainers use a clicker combined with leash corrections. Clicker training doesn’t work for certain dogs/breeds. All dogs can learn through clicker training, regardless of breed or age!
Think your voice is just as effective as a clicker for marking behaviors? Not so! Research by Lindsay Wood indicates a clicker is a faster, more efficient marker for behaviors than a verbal marker.
The clicker can also be used in conjunction with luring and capturing. With luring, you use the target or a piece of food to get the dog to offer the behavior or some approximation of it. Stop using the lure as soon as possible and use shaping to finish up the behavior. With capturing, you click and treat whenever the dog offers a complete behavior. For example, to teach a dog to stretch, find out the times and situations when she will stretch. Then, just before you know she will stretch, say “stretch” and when she is stretching, click and treat. Soon she will be offering the stretch more and more. Click and treat each time, attempting to say the cue before, or at least during the stretch. Clicking your dog for making eye contact with you is another great use of capturing. Enjoy!
Clicker Training Resources
Here are some resources to get you started on your clicker journey:
Clicker Training for Dogs, by Karen Pryor
The Thinking Dog: Crossover to Clicker Training, by Gail Fisher
The Power of Positive Dog Training, by Pat Miller