There are several methods for teaching your dog to be obedient. One of the most popular is clicker training for dogs. This type of training focuses on rewarding and reinforcing positive behavior rather than punishing bad behavior.
The thinking behind clicker training is that if a behavior is rewarded, dogs will continue with that behavior. On the other hand, if a behavior is ignored, a dog will cease that behavior.
What the clicker does is provide a bridge in the dog’s mind between the behavior and the reward that immediately follows.
Here is an example of how clicker training for dogs works.
Let’s say that you want to teach your dog to sit. First, get the dog to perform the behavior. At first, you might have to gently nudge his bottom to get him to sit. That’s ok, but be sure to also use the command that you want the dog to associate with the behavior. In other words, say “sit” as you nudge the dog into a sitting position.
The moment that he sits, use the clicker. Then, immediately offer praise and a treat. The clicker makes it clear to the dog why he is being rewarded. He will quickly learn to associate the sound of the clicker with getting a treat and will, therefore, work hard to do whatever it takes to hear that sound.
There are many specifics involved with the proper use of clicker training for dogs, so it is a good idea to read one of the many books that are available on the subject.
Also, many obedience classes utilize clicker training. Attending one of these classes with your pet is a great way to be sure that you are using proper clicker training methods.
Animal rights advocates say that clicker training is among the most humane of all training methods. Unlike training that punishes bad behavior, this type of training simply ignored undesirable behavior.
While some pet owners use choke chains or electric collars to train their pets, clicker training for dogs offers a training solution that will not cause pain to your dog.
Some people fear that clicker training for dogs could result in a dog that will only respond when you have a clicker. This concern is unfounded because part of proper clicker training includes gradually discontinuing the use of both the clicker and treats to reward good behavior.
Another concern of some pet owners is that their dog will gain an unhealthy amount of weight since he is being rewarded for every correct behavior. Pet owners with this concern should simply decrease the amount of food slightly during the training period.
Keep in mind that training treats should be tiny, so unless your dog already has a weight problem, this concern in minimal.
If you are uncomfortable trying this training on your own, consider hiring a professional who can work one on one with you and your dog to ensure proper techniques are being used.
Whether you go it on your own or take a class that includes clicker training for dogs, this method has proven to be one of the most effective and humane ways to train your pet.