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Home / Nutrition Advice / Behavioural Advice / Training & Behavioural Advice

 

Dog Clicker Training

 

by CHRISTINE EMERSON, dog behaviourist at Drove Veterinary Hospital

 

My Labrador Fern recently sustained a cut to her pad. Her daily gallops off-lead were limited to a slow stroll and despite me treating her to some new toys and regular social visits to interesting places, she became a little depressed.

I knew what would brighten her mood! That old trusted friend – the clicker! Now for those who have not discovered clickers, it is simply a small plastic box-like thing with a metal tongue in it. You press the metal tongue down quickly and it makes a ‘click’ sound. Associate the sound with a tasty treat so when the dog hears the sound they are more likely to repeat what they were doing at the exact second they heard the ‘click’. It’s fantastic for training dogs as it is quicker (than saying “good girl”), consistent (the sound never varies unlike your voice) and positive (it’s like hearing ‘success!!’ over and over again).

But here’s the best bit. Once the dog trusts that the sound of the clicker results in a tasty treat and indicates they have succeeded, every time they hear that sound their brain gets flooded by endorphins. It is an automatic thing. When endorphins are released by the brain, it makes us feel really good. In other words ‘clicker training’ elevates the dog’s state of mind and brings a sparkle to their eye.

As soon as I bought it out, she sprung up! I could see from her expression that every sinew in her body was yelling – “oh yeah!” What can I do….Down? Roll Over? Wait for a minute? Look pretty? Give me something to do……anything to make that click sound!

If you don’t believe me, ask an experienced Dog Trainer to show you how to use one and read a good booklet on the subject – you will never look back once