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Getting Started with Clicker Training

You need a clicker, some treats and a dog). The treats should be something the dog likes. We recommend a soft treat as opposed to a hard cookie. You can use sliced hot dogs, beef, cheese, Cheerios®, Rollover® in fact almost anything.

 

Dog Training ClickerSome trainers recommend a brief 'warm up' period where you get the dog understanding what the click means. To do this simply click and give the dog a treat. The size of the treat should be proportionate to the size of the dog. It should be small enough that the dog can eat it quickly but large enough that it is worth going after. When using Rollover® we cut chunks into cubes about ¾ " in size. This is then broken into smaller pieces to be given as a treat. A single cube can be 10 to 20 treats. Continue clicking and treating for six treats. When the dog looks away, click again. If the dog looks for the treat you may consider that it is beginning to get the idea.

 

 

We normally start with no fixed idea as to what behaviour(s) we are going to work on. We wait to see what the dog offers. Some dogs will sit, lie down, bark, lift a paw, turn its head. Your job is to click the behaviour you want. It is important that you click as the behaviour is happening. For example, if the dog is in the sit position and you want to work on the stand behaviour, you have to click the moment the dog stands not after it has walked forward two paces. (You will be clicking the 'walking' behaviour not the 'stand' behaviour). With a 'raw' dog i.e. one that has no previous training you are working with a clean slate. What the dog ultimately does is in your hands. If the dog has had previous training it is called a 'crossover' dog. Crossover dogs may tend, initially, not to offer behaviors as readily as a raw dog. The reason is that it has probably been trained by 'traditional' compulsion methods and has not had the luxury of being allowed to offer behaviors. It has had to wait to be told to do something. With a crossover dog we try to start with non traditional obedience behaviors such as sit, down and stand. We will try to get paw shake, or even a paw lifted from the ground, or a head turn.