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Does Clicker Training Really Work for Dogs?

Does Clicker Training Really Work for Dogs?

The first year of training is a crucial bonding time between pet parent and pet. After thousands of years of domesticating and training dogs, it’s no wonder there are so many approaches for how to train your puppy. Unfortunately, it does make choosing a route for training difficult. With puppies, you know you need consistency in your training and that means committing to a training technique lest you undo puppy’s progress. Considering clicker training for dogs could help training your puppy.

Clicker training for dogs is a popular method in the current world of dog pet parents. The trainer uses a small plastic toy that produces a clicking noise as a tool for training a desired, purposeful behavior into a puppy. This unique sound directly associates a behavior with a reward. With a clicker, a trainer can immediately alert a pup to an incoming treat right after the performance of the desired behavior. Like other marker training methods, this method conditions dogs to associate the behavior you want to see a reward and is designed to strengthen those behaviors, increasing their frequency as a result.

Many websites and books swear by clicker training as the number one method for dog training for all pet parents, but does it live up to the hype? Is clicker training universally effective? Is it the best choice when you’re deciding how to train your puppy?

When looking at research studies, results do prove that clicker training is effective for most dogs. As a traditional reward-based method that utilizes treats and toys as motivators, it is a proven approach to behavior conditioning. It can reinforce behaviors in dogs and maintain their interest throughout a training session thanks to the reward system. With clicker training for dogs, dogs stay confident and happy throughout training. This makes them willing to try new things without fear of failure. This method creates a positive atmosphere for you to bond with your new puppy and promotes fast learning which rewards you, the pet parent, at the same time.

Every method has its setbacks, though, and some dogs won’t be as responsive to clicker training for dogs. Believe it or not, not every dog responds enthusiastically to rewards. Some dogs just don’t have a motivating stimulus that can be used as a variable for reward-based training. If a dog has low food or toy drive, clicker training may not be as effective. It can also mean that, even if your dog learns a behavior through clicker training, the behavior may disappear, or go through ‘extinction’, over time when rewards become more variant.

Clicker training, like all marker training, also takes some learning on your part as the trainer. For a responsive dog, the effectiveness still lies in the knowledge of the trainer. It’s important that you study the proper technique for clicker training for dogs prior to starting training sessions.

Training your new dog is an essential part of dog pet parentship, but keeping your dog healthy is even more important. The Shot Spot is a mobile vet in Dallas that provides basic veterinary services for pet parents in need at convenient hours and locations. When you need spaying, neutering or cat and dog vaccinations in Dallas, the Shot Spot is there to make providing for your pet’s health needs simple. Visit the Shot Spot’s mobile unit at any of our locations during the week and check our calendars for special events that can benefit you and your new dog.