You can use your voice instead of a clicker, of course. The problem with using your voice is, that your voice will have a lot of different inflections. Many of us use the word “Yes” or “Okay”, to mark a moment. Sometimes we might say it calmly, sometimes excitedly.
This changes, what the clicker actually is. The clicker is a moment marker, which means, it tells the dog the exact moment, when he did something right and that it will lead to a specific consequence, like throwing a ball.
The verbal marker can easily get attached to praise. If I tell my dog “Okay”, when he sits, I might use the word again and say “Okay, good boy!” The word that is supposed to mark a moment, now becomes part of praising my dog. This can be confusing to a dog.
Here are a couple of other examples on how voice markers can become confusing:
I was doing some protection work with my dog and my dog was in a down-stay. Next, my dog was supposed to chase after the “bad guy”, aka helper, and bite the sleeve to stop him from getting away. So, my dog was in a down-stay, the helper approached me and asked me a question and I said the word “Okay” to the helper. My dog heard that and thought, this was the green light to go after the helper. My dog Gabby wasn’t wrong in believing that, though it was not what I wanted her to do. This is why the clicker is better, because you will not use the clicker in a conversation. It is only used to clearly communicate with your dog.
Here is another funny example: I have a “Go-Pro”, that uses voice commands. I would love to use it to take pictures of my dog, but when I say “Go-Pro, take a picture”, all my dog will hear, is the word “Go”, which could lead to my dog getting up and maybe even biting the camera.
Some people are resistant to using a clicker, because it’s just one more piece of equipment to keep up with, but they are inexpensive, so you could easily just have several of them in your home, your car, your purse etc.
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 and reliable dog.