INTRODUCING THE CLICKER TO YOUR DOG
Introducing the clicker to your dog is pretty simple. You need small moist treats your dog loves. Size and kind of treat does matter. You want a treat that doesn’t produce crumbs. The smaller the dog, the smaller the size of the treat. Treats should not be hard and so large the dog has to chew them. I don’t want to use treats that produce crumbs. I want the dog to look to us for the reward and not the ground during the introduction. I like soft, moist treats, about half the size of an M&M, plain not peanut.
Next, offer your dog the treat. They should be very interested, eat it right away and be looking for more. That tells you there is value in the treat! Once you have established the dog loves the treat we can introduce the dog to the click. If the dog is not hungry, takes the treat slowly, drops it on the ground before eating it, the treat is not of enough value.
,Step two, have clicker in hand away from your dogs head. Don’t want to scare him with a loud noise. I usually begin with the clicker behind my back. You need to have the treat in one hand and the clicker in the other. Remember!!! CLICK PRODUCES REWARD!!!! When you are ready, click and feed the treat immediately! You are teaching the dog that click produces reward! You will repeat this process five to 10 times. Click, feed, wait several seconds, click, feed again, wait. The waiting several seconds is important! If you click, feed, click, feed back to back, your dog may learn food produces click! WRONG!!! Dogs learn the click indicates you like what they were doing when they heard the click. Proper timing of the click, while the behavior is happening, and reward are very important. Clicker training builds value in working with you.
I do not like luring and bribing the dog. I want to make sure the dog is learning what I think I’m teaching. I want the dog to start offering the behavior and not wait for me to cause it to happen. When you have a treat in your hand and use it to get the dog to do the behavior, that is luring. When you use a lure to cause the behavior to happen you need a plan to get the behavior without the lure. Luring does not build value in doing the behavior in many cases. The treat comes out when the dog is not doing what you asked. So therefore dogs learn to wait for the treat to come out to get the behavior to happen. When you ask for the behavior without the lure, dogs learn to not respond until the food comes out again. That’s the dog training us. You show me the food and then I, the dog, will respond maybe. That’s like paying the employee before he works.