Clicker training is a technique of dog behavioral modification that is based on the rewarding of desirable actions, signaled by a sound created by a hand-held device called a “clicker.”
How it Works
The dog trainer produces the “click” sound the moment the desirable behavior is performed and rewards the dog immediately afterward. The dog quickly begins to associate the noise with the reward and will perform the action to obtain it.
Why It Works
Clicker training marks the exact instant at which the dog performs the action and thus leaves no confusion as to what behavior is desired. Through the associations created, the dog tries to learn new behaviors, rather than merely acquiring them through habit.
Asking for Behaviors
Once the dog has learned the desired behavior, the trainer can begin using a spoken command in conjunction with the clicker, adding another layer of association.
The clicker does not always need to be used. After a dog has learned to associate the command with the action, the clicker can be saved for training new behaviors.
Clicker training works with nearly all animals—not merely dogs. It was developed, in fact, as a way of training dolphins, and has also been successfully used with cats, rodents and even fish.