HOWTO Click Train Your Dog

This video has nothing to do with click training (that I know of). But I'll go out on a limb and say it had to have taken some deep, deep discipline to shoot that thing. Personally, I'm all about affirmative verbal cues and occasional treats. Other dog owners prefer the non-verbal conditioned reinforcements of a handheld clicker. So which is more effective? According to one recent study the use of a clicker resulted in a "decrease of over 1/3 in training time and number of required reinforcements" when compared to verbal conditioning. Plus, click training also promoted the superior acquisition of complex behaviors (on a limb again, but just look at that video!). Most of's 15 Tips seem pretty straightforward and helpful:
Click for voluntary (or accidental) movements toward your goal. You may coax or lure the animal into a movement or position, but don't push, pull, or hold it. Let the animal discover how to do the behavior on its own. If you need a leash for safety's sake, loop it over your shoulder or tie it to your belt.
A clicker costs $1.50. How hard could this technique be, really? If you've used a great book, web site or video, or just want to share your experience, please write us in the comments...
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11 Responses to HOWTO Click Train Your Dog

  1. nexusheli says:

    Click training is difficult and easy at the same time. The real problem is getting them conditioned for the actual training. If they’re used to training using rewards, it can be difficult to get them re-conditioned using the clicker.

    Tried it with one of my Grey’s and lost my patience.

  2. Steven Leckart says:

    To me, any time a dog can jump into frame, perfectly illuminated by lasers, it’s an indication of Alvin Ailey-like refinement.

  3. randalll says:

    I don’t know about clicker training, but I’d be interested in any type of training that would keep my otherwise well-behaved dog from bolting out the door and not coming back for an hour every time company leaves it open.

  4. LeSinge says:

    @4 Randall, my friend’s Lhasa does the exact same thing. Man, he loves being chased. You try the “I’m not chasing you game” and he plays the “Fine I’m just going to wander around and ignore you” game until you get impatient and start chasing him again. Makes me wonder who the pet is.

  5. bex says:

    all I will say is dogs are great

  6. RedShirt77 says:

    Clicker training works great. Works because it clears up the line of communication between the dog and the person. Click = good and the dog isn’t left interpreting tone.

    I wrote a paper in school about the use of click training for autistic patients. It worked better for them. Makes sense since at the heart of autism is difficulty learning through human interaction and not getting emotional cues.

  7. Idiotswork says:

    My fiancee and I took our dog to B-more Charming in Baltimore ( where the class was taught by a former dolphin trainer for the National Aquarium. She taught us click training, and I was shocked at how fast our dog picked up new commands and dropped bad behaviors.

  8. Schorsch says:

    Any animal can be classically conditioned. Dogs are social animals, though, and are uniquely tuned to social cues, like anger or happiness. Clicker training to me seems like training a lab rat. It takes more discipline on your part, but traditional training gives you a dog attuned to you, your mood, and your voice, as opposed to a click.

  9. mappo says:

    The video looks cool, but what do you mean about the discipline comment? It’s just video of dogs being dropped to the ground, but played backwards and in slo-mo, no?

  10. mathew says:

    I don’t know about dogs, but clicker training works great on budgerigars.

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