About Clicker Training – Positive Reinforcement Training for Dogs

Bradley DiTeresi is a Kansas City entrepreneur with a successful career in international real estate investments. When not working, Bradley DiTeresi likes to spend time with his family and donate to charitable organizations. He is also a dog owner and enjoys dog training.

According to the American Kennel Club, clicker training is one of the most effective forms of positive reinforcement training for dogs. Also called mark and key training, clicker training combines sound with precise timing to teach your dog the desired behaviors. Positive reinforcement in dog training involves giving your dog a reward immediately after good behavior.

The reward could be anything your dog wants, such as a treat or toy. Clicker training adds sound as positive reinforcement, enabling your dog to associate a specific sound with positive reinforcement. Dog trainers often use a mechanical device called a clicker (or marker). Immediately after a dog does the desired behavior, such as sitting, a dog trainer presses a button on the clicker, which makes a sound. As the clicker sounds, the trainer rewards the dog. The click and reward must occur immediately when the dog sits.

Clicker training may take days to engrain a particular behavior in your dog. Repetition is crucial in clicker training. If you repeat the training for days, your dog will figure out what behavior is responsible for the reward it is receiving. The dog will repeat this behavior frequently in the future.

You don’t necessarily have to use a clicker in this form of positive reinforcement training. Anything that can make a quick sound is valid. You may use a whistle, clap your hands, or say a particular word, like ‘good’ or ‘yes.’ You must constantly use a particular sound for your dog to associate that sound with positive reinforcement. For example, if you have been using a whistle for two days, you should not change it to a word. This will confuse your dog.

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