I like clicker training. Clickers are a very powerful tool. You can, of course, also use your voice and one of the advantages of that is, that you always have your voice with you.
The advantage of a clicker is, that it always sounds the same. Our voices will have different levels of excitement and not be as consistent. The same word might actually sound different to your dog and take on a different meaning. The clicker will clarify that.
Here is how: hide the food in your hand, click and then feed the dog. Do not offer the food at the same time you use the clicker. If the food is in your pocket or a pouch, click and then reach for the food.
If you are not very coordinated, you should not train with a clicker, because the proper timing is so important. You want to avoid sending the wrong information to your dog, by not clicking at the exact right moment. The clicker is a precision tool, not a general tool. Clicking, when your timing is bad, can really hurt the training process.
Let me give you a common scenario, where people mess up with clicker training:
You say your voice command, for example “sit”. Your dog does not sit and now you are using your leash to help the dog, maybe even pushing the dog’s behind down and in addition repeat the sit command a couple of more times. If the dog then finally sits, you might think, that the dog understands the “sit” command and you click and reward. The truth is, that it is difficult for the dog to make the association between “sit” and the click, if it takes more than 5 seconds in between. Even worse, if the command was repeated several times, the dog will be conditioned to respond to “sit, sit, sit” rather than just “sit”.
You are trying to train your dog not to be so dog reactive on a walk. Your dog starts pulling on leash and you know, when you click, the dog will turn around and come back to you. So you click, the dog comes back to you and you are now rewarding the dog for pulling on the leash.
I love using the clicker, when I am teaching, but not so much, when I am practicing. In real world scenarios, I like using my voice more.
Longoriahaus Dog Training is a dog training service in the Kingwood, Humble and Houston, Texas area. Longoriahaus Dog Training can help you raise a happy, reliable dog.