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Clicker Training

Clicker training is a non-confrontational reward-based training method. It creates an attentive dog, who loves to "go to work." It is a fantastic way to build a "team" of owner and dog synchronization and have a thinking dog. Results are truly amazing and unable to be replicated with traditional training or negative reinforcement.

The clicker itself is a small box that has a metal piece that elicits a two click sound. This sound is a marker signal which tells the dog what behavior you want. The click is usually done on the ACTION of the skill you want, and the reward or reinforcement is given in the POSITION (for instance, you would click the ACTION of the sit as the dog is going into position, and reinforce the POSITION of sit with a reward). You can also us a marker word, or whistle or other sounds. A sound like this is easy for the dog to identify with, because it shows no emotion (like our voices do) and so it is a reliable sound and marker the dog can count on to specify what they "are doing right."

Clicker training focuses on what the animal is doing right, rather than punishing what they are doing wrong. You get a much better communication and relationship with your animal when you use this method. There are wonderful books on the subject including:

  • Click for Joy by Melissa Alexander
  • Clicking for RallyO by Pamela Dennison
  • all the books by Karen Pryor at www.karenpryor.com (many titles are included on this site and it is a one-stop shop for these books)
  • Clicker Training for Obedience by Morgan Spector Best lists for clicker training animals:
  • ClickerSolutions, a Yahoo Group list
  • BirdClick, also a Yahoo Group list

Diane is a professional clicker trainer and reward-based trainer with over 10 years of experience training all kinds of animals. She specializes in dogs and specifically reactive/aggressive behaviors. Reactive/aggressive dogs respond well to non-confrontational training techniques, the clicker used in training marine animals, is one of those techniques.

I don’t know where I’d be without you, Diane – who knows. Clicker training has changed my life and my approach to both domestic animals and humans.

- N.L.
Sedro Woolley, Washington

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