Training a dog to be well behaved does not necessarily mean you have to hire a professional trainer or sign up for expensive lessons. There really are effective ways to do dog training at home.
Professional dog trainers can be very helpful during the dog training process, especially if you feel you do not have very much spare time to put into it, but dog training does not have to be time consuming if you use the correct tools. The clicker is the tool that can solve pet owner's problems. In as little as five to ten minutes per day, dog owners will find the clicker can help them achieve an obedient pet.
What clicker training does - Clicker training is a method that teaches the dog to associate the sound of clicks with the desired behavior. By using a pattern of clicks and rewards, the dog quickly learns. They will begin to understand what action a click requires, and they will know a treat will follow this action.
Clicker training is simply a way of conditioning the pet to perform a certain way in order to receive a treat as a reward. Different sequences of clicks are used to signal the animal which behaviors will bring on a reward and which won't.
Classic dog training methods use verbal commands and hand motions to signal to the dog what they are expected to do. With a clicker, the owner can target exact behaviors during training sessions, and reinforce the good ones with a reward. With practice, the dog will immediately know what the series of clicks mean.
Using the clicker to train your dog. - The first step to this method of training is referred to as the initializing, or loading, procedure. This step allows the dog to begin associating the clicking sound with the treat that will follow as a reward. This step can be done any place. To achieve success, all that is required is the clicker and the dog's treats.
All you need to do is click and then give the dog their treat. It's that easy. The goal is to get the animal's attention with the click. If it doesn't work the first try, keep repeating the click until the dog notices. Once the dog does notice, immediately reward them with a treat. The average dog will have a solid association between the click and the treat in 20 to 50 successful tries.
Each try is called a cycle. The goal is consistency throughout the training period. This can be accomplished by timing your clicks. Pick a set amount of time to wait between each click. You can use five seconds, or maybe ten seconds, between them. The most important part is to stick to whatever amount of time you choose. Each cycle requires only one click. The clicker should not be over used. Several clicks will not help the animal and may cause confusion.
When several clicks are used in a row, the dog will not respond. This is because they are waiting for the clicks to end before they will react. This is the same principal behind verbal training. If the owner repeats the word "sit" three times while training their pet to sit, he will learn not to sit until after the third word. One click should be sufficient to get the desired response.
Wolfram Merz is a clicker training expert. For more great information on clicker training, visit http://www.clickertraininginformation.org.