Ultimate Guide on Dog Clicker Training
Dog clicker training has become more popular in recent years. It has shown success in training working dogs such as police dogs and sheepdogs and with being readily available to the public, it has become a very popular training method.
Trying to use a dog clicker can seem a little intimidating, especially if you’re a first-time dog owner with an excitable puppy. But it is actually a great method for easy dog training. Below I’ve put together a guide on how to use your dog clicker for some simple dog training.
How does a dog clicker work?
If you’re interested in using a dog clicker to train your dog, you may be curious as to how it works. Dog clickers make for easy dog training as they operate on the basis of positive conditioning. Positive conditioning is the association of a certain thing with something positive.
Much in the same way that a child associates doing good on their homework with the reward of a sticker, it works with dogs too. Associating the clicking noise of the dog clicker with a treat, they will hear the noise as something positive as they subconsciously think about them yummy dog treats you got from us.
How to train my dog to sit
To teach your dog to sit, or do other simple commands, all you will need is a dog clicker and some healthy and natural dog treats. Then simply follow the step by step instructions below.
- Introduce your dog to the clicker. Whenever you click the button, give your dog a small treat so that they learn it is not a bad noise.
- Call your dog by their name, when they come over, click the clicker and give them a small treat. This will help them to associate both the clicker and treats with commands.
- Keep a small piece of treat in your hand as you train. Your dog will focus its attention on this treat and it will be easy to guide them into a sitting position.
- Hold the treat above your dog’s head so that they look up at your hand. Once they are looking up, lean over them ever so slightly. This movement will cause them to rear back a little.
- Some dogs will automatically sit after rearing back. However, if yours doesn’t, with your free hand gently push on their bum until they are sitting.
- As you are coaxing them down, issue the command of ‘sit’.
- When they are sat down, click the clicker and give them the treat at the same time. Remember to shower your pooch with praises and pats when they perform a command correctly.
- After they have successfully sat down, repeat the steps starting at step 3. After a while they should start sitting without you having to coax them down.
- When they start sitting correctly on command, start lessening the amount of treats that you give them but continue to use the clicker every time.
- Soon enough you will be able to remove giving them treats altogether, rewarding them with the sound of the clicker and your own praises.
- Congratulations, you have taught your dog to sit!
How to train my dog to lie down
Once you have taught your dog to sit, teaching them to lie down should be no harder, if not easier. Similarly to before you will only require a dog clicker and some healthy dog treats. Follow the steps below to teach your dog to lie down.
- Start by getting your dog into a sitting position. Remember to click the clicker when they have sat calmly and correctly.
- Hold one treat in your hand and hold it close to their nose to keep their attention on you. If they jump up to try and take the treat, move your hand away and ignore them until the sit calm down.
- Once your dog is concentrating on the treat, slowly move your hand and the treat closer to the floor. Your dog will follow the treat, leaning forward and downward.
- As their head hits the floor, they will shift their legs and put themselves into a lying position. Once they are led down calmly, click the clicker and give them the treat at the same time.
- Make sure to shower your pooch with praise and then proceed to repeat the above steps. Slowly lowering the amount of treats that you give them and solely using the clicker.
- Remember to click the clicker when your dog sits as well, but do not give them the treat until they have led down otherwise they may lose interest in this second command.
- Congratulations, you have taught your dog to lie down!
How to train my dog to roll over
Once you’ve got the basics of clicker training down, you might want to try some commands that are a little flashier. Teaching your dog to roll over may seem like a big thing you won’t be able to do, but it’s actually pretty easy and logical to teach once your dog has mastered lying down.
Get your trusty clicker and our natural dog treats and follow these step by step instructions for some easy dog training.
- Get your dog into the lying down position. Remember to click the clicker when they sit and then lie down. But save the treat, keep it in your hand so that your dog doesn’t lose concentration or interest.
- Hold the treat close to your dog’s nose and move it in a curved arc, guiding their head and body to roll over.
- Just as before, if your dog tries to get up and take the treat, ignore them until the calm down once again.
- You may need to guide your dog when rolling over. If they are turning their heads but not their body you can place a hand on their side and slowly move their body in motion so that they roll over.
- Speak the command roll over as you go through with these motions.
- Once your dog has successfully rolled over, whether on their own or with your help, praise them and click the clicker. Make sure to give them a treat at the same time you use the dog clicker.
- Repeat the above instructions, as they start to roll more comfortably on their own reduce the amount of treats. Remember to keep clicking every time they do the command, the clicker acts as their rewards in place of a treat. You should still give your dog verbal encouragement so that they know they are still getting attention from you.
- Congratulations, you have taught your dog to roll over!
What dog clicker should I get?
There are lots of different dog clickers around. All dog clickers work on the same principle and your can get plenty of brands for cheaper than a cup of coffee.
Whilst you may be tempted to go for the super cheap ones, I’d recommend investing just a little more to get a sturdier clicker that is less likely to break. You can also get ones that have little belt loop straps attached, meaning you can reinforce positive training in your dog wherever you go.
My dog is scared of the clicker, what should I do?
A lot of dogs may be quite nervous when introduced to the clicker and it can be very tempting to simply give up with it. But you shouldn’t. It’s a new item and it makes a new sound that they likely haven’t heard before. This is why you should spend some time getting your dog used to the clicker before trying to train them with it.
As stated in the above step by step guide, introduce the clicker to your dog and give them dog treats to get them used to it. Make sure they are comfortable and no longer scared by the clicker before you start training. It will make training them more difficult if they are still scared whereas it will be much easier if they are already used to it and associate it with some yummy rewards.
When should I introduce clicker training to my dog?
You can teach a dog to use a clicker at any age but it is easier the sooner you get started. If you are adopting a puppy, introduce the clicker at the same time as you would start regularly training them. You should try to start teaching your puppy commands at about 10-12 weeks.
If your are adopting an older dog, make sure that they are both comfortable in their new home and comfortable with you before introducing the clicker. Rescue dogs can be quite nervous when they are first adopted so a clicker can be quite a scary thing. It is always better to make sure your dog feels safe before trying to train them with the clicker.