Using Clicker Training To Train Your Dog
Clicker training is a way to train your dog with positive reinforcement. You reward your dog for behaviors you like so they will happen again. When you reward your dog for a certain action it must be immediate so the dog knows what he is being rewarded for. Sometimes your dog performs an action and then does something else before he gets his reward. In this situation it is hard for your dog to understand exactly what he is being rewarded for. For example, he could sit which is the desired action and then yawn. If he gets his reward after yawning, he may not realise the reward is for sitting - he may think it is for yawning. The secret is to mark the desired behavior so the dog understands what he is supposed to do. You use a small clicker which you click as soon as the dog exhibits the desired behavior.
step 1: charge your clicker
In this stage you are simply getting your dog to associate hearing the clicker sound. You start by having 10 treats ready. You click the clicker pause and then give your dog a treat. You repeat the procedure 10 times.
step 2: Luring
When you have trained your dog to associate the click with the treat you can start training specific behaviors. The first stage in this process is luring. The dog is being taught to sit pretty. You should hold a treat in your hand and reward any movement towards the desired end position. The movement is rewards by a click and the treat. You should stop using the lure as soon as possible but still reward the movement with a click and then a treat.
step 3: free shaping
Free shaping is an alternative to luring. You click the dog when he exhibits any behavior which is a move towards what you want to achieve. So, if for example, you want the dog to walk backwards you reward any small backward step and then build on this.
step 4: Capturing
Capturing is clicking a behavior which your dog offers naturally and then gradually moving forwards from there. The advantage of capturing is that some of the behaviors would be hard to get in any other way.
step 5: eye contact
A easy behavior to capture is eye contact. You simply have to wait for the dog to make eye contact and then click it. Repeat this process and the dog will quickly learn why it is being rewarded.
You can use click training for any breed or size of dog. You just need patience and persistence.
Here is the full video version of the training.