We use positive reinforcement training (reward-based methods). In other words, when a dog does a behaviour we want, we reward him with treats, toys, attention .....whatever floats his boat! We can compare it to us going to work – our salary is our reward, and if we didn’t get that reward, we would not be as likely to go into work each day. It is the same with dogs. We need to tell the dog when he has done something we like, in order to reinforce the behaviour. Behaviours that are reinforced are scientifically proven to be more likely to occur again. We do not use aversive or punitive methods or equipment.
The Dog Train Approach To Training
Positive Reinforcement Training
Will my dog get confused with lots of clickers going off in class?
No! If anything it enhances your dog's focus on you. Although several clickers can be going off at once in class, your dog will learn to discriminate between a click meant for himself, from his handler, and one that is meaningless.
What is the benefit of using a clicker rather than just using treats?
Timing! The clicker is a very accurate marker for a behaviour and indicates to the dog that a reward is coming. By clicking at the vital moment, we are able to communicate to the dog that what he did at that precise moment is what we are looking for…and this is then followed by a reward to reinforce that behaviour. For the food reward to be effective on its own it would need to be delivered to the dog within less than a second of the behaviour occurring. Humans do not have such great timing! Therefore by using the clicker, we are able to be as accurate as possible which, in turn, makes it far easier for the dog to understand what we want.
Do I have to use the clicker?
We would never force anyone to do something they do not want to do, and if you truly do not want to use the clicker we would suggest you use a ‘marker word’ such as “yes!” or "bingo!", which can be used instead of the clicker. This is not as accurate as the clicker, and we do find that despite some people being unsure of the clicker to begin with, once they have got the hang of it and how it works they don’t look back!
Will I need to use the clicker forever?
No, not at all. The clicker is mainly used to introduce a new behaviour or exercise, but once the dog understands the behaviour and is performing it consistently the clicker can be phased out. We do recommend that you still use the clicker and rewards at least intermittently, however, so the dog doesn’t forget and continues to be keen to learn.
Clicker training is one of the most modern, effective and enjoyable training methods available. Based on sound scientific principles, the clicker enables you to communicate with your dog and train him or her to do practically anything you choose. Clicker training is simpler and quicker than more traditional training methods. It also builds your dog’s confidence as they learn that something that they do by their own choice can earn a click, and then a reward.