Clicker Training For Dogs – Positive Reinforcement On Steroids
One of the most common and successful techniques for training animals is positive reinforcement. The basis of the technique is to reward and encourage desired behavior. However, one of the problems with this is getting the timing exactly right. The reward has to given immediately after the desired action has been performed. So if, for example, the animal performs the action and then sneezes and then gets his treat or reward it will not know what the treat is for. It could be either the desired action or the sneeze. This is where clicker training for dogs is useful.
The idea is to substitute a click made by a clicker for the treat. The click must be sounded immediately the action is performed. This removes any confusion in the dog's mind about what he is being rewarded for. The first step in the process is to get the dog to accept a click in place of the reward.
The Tractive blog has recently posted an article on clicker training for dogs.
Here is some of what they have to say:
A clicker is a small, handheld device with a tiny button. Before you can use the clicker for training purposes, you will need to introduce your dog to the clicker and the meaning of the clicker. Start out by holding a treat in one hand and the clicker in the other. Press down on the clicker once. When your dog turns to you at the sound of the click, immediately give him the treat. Since you probably have to practice this more than once, you will need a handful of treats. Vary the amount of time that you hold the treat in your hand before using the clicker. Then your dog cannot predict when the treat will come. If your dog tries to get the treat, keep your hand closed and wait until he loses interest in the treat before using the clicker again.
Read the rest of the article here.