A clicker is a small device which makes a distinctive sound and which can be used to indicate to your dog that he, or she, has done a good behaviour. It is like taking a photograph of a correct behaviour. It is a sound that your dog will only hear during training so he/she becomes highly attuned to it. Clickers are just another way of using positive reinforcement techniques.
Yellow clicker - conventional clicker to use in your hand
Black clicker – soft clicker for wearing around your wrist
Blue clicker – soft clicker for using in your hand
Red clicker – clicker and whistle combined for wearing around your neck
To begin with your dog is taught that the sound of the click means he/she will get a tasty reward. You can do this by asking your dog to sit and immediately pressing the clicker and offering your dog a food reward. This gives your dog instant feedback. The dog soon associates the click with something good and responds quickly again in anticipation of receiving a similar reward.
The technique can be particularly useful if someone only has the use of one arm and therefore has difficulty delivering a food reward quickly, or if you want to reward a behaviour at a distance such as your dog racing towards you when you call and offer the “Come” signal.
How to use the clicker effectively:
• Click once only as soon as possible after a desirable behaviour.
• If you click you must treat – otherwise your dog will not trust that the clicker results in a reward.
• If you are not going to reward with food because you are offering intermittent reinforcement, do not click!
• Don’t use the clicker as a stimulus to get your dog’s attention! Remember it marks a good behaviour after it occurs.
• Some dogs are scared of the clicker sound so you may need to buy a soft clicker or simply click with your tongue.