Clicker Training your Puppy

by Dr Jess Beer
Veterinarian & Pet Behaviourist
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What is a Training Clicker?

A clicker is a popular training tool used by many dog behaviourists as a positive reinforcement technique. Hearing the 'click' lets the puppy (or dog) know immediately that they have done the right thing, even if you aren't right beside them to give them the reward straight away (such as a piece of tasty Black Hawk kibble, or a treat).

Step-by-step Guide to Clicker Training your Puppy

Step 1: Hold the clicker in one hand and push your thumb down on it to make a clicking sound, and immediately give your puppy a tasty piece of Black Hawk dry food kibble or a healthy treat. Do this 10-15 times. This teaches your pet that Click = Good Job.

Step 2: Start “target training”. Hold out your hand and then click as soon as their nose touches your palm, then give a piece of kibble or treat. Up the game by moving your hand around to teach them to follow. Click as soon as their nose touches your hand, then reward.

Step 3: Body Position Commands. Click when your puppy puts their body in the position you want (e.g. sit, lie down or simply being on a mat). This can be achieved by luring them to the position and then click and reward.

Other Tips for Clicker Training:

  • When first teaching a behaviour, reward every time to keep them motivated.
  • For more complicated behaviours, apply the same principle and link them together to create a sequence.
  • Keep it fun, click at the time of the behaviour, then reward. Keep training sessions short (5 – 10mins daily) for best results.
  • Be sure to take any kibble used for rewards from the recommended daily food quantity for your puppy, to make sure that you don’t overfeed them.
  • Ensure that any treats used, do not exceed 10% of a puppy’s daily energy requirements.