Clicker training has been the best thing I have discovered for training my dog. So what is it? It is simply positive reinforcement with rewards, but at a speed the dog understands.
Clicker training is simply using a sound marker to tell a dog at the exact moment when he's done something you approve of, with a reward that comes quickly after the sound marker. Usually, we are too slow with our rewards for the dog to clearly know just what we are rewarding, so training can go slowly and be frustrating for both of you. The sound marker — usually a click with a metal clicker which has a consistent and noticeable sound — tells the dog the exact moment you see something you like and tells him that a reward is coming for that movement or behavior. It is a much more direct way of communicating with your dog.
By coaxing a dog to figure out what you want with positive reinforcement, clicker training is an excellent way to ask, not tell, a dog what you want, to build trust, and to encourage creative thinking and problem solving for both you and your dog. Clicker training has been the best possible solution for training my dog. He's food-motivated, loves to solve problems (including the problem of figuring out what in the world I'm asking him to do), and thrives on positive energy. Introduce anything negative, like a "No" or trying to physically maneuver him and he completely shuts down. This is true for most dogs; negative feedback, pushing or shoving them into place, or getting frustrated by their confusion does nothing to help them understand, and definitely does nothing to build trust and a working relationship. You might get some results eventually, but at a cost. Instead, you'll find with clicker training that most dogs understand what you're asking far faster and will oblige you with far more joy.
So, ready to start clicker training? Here are 10 of the best videos I've found (and have used) for clicker training my dog to do some basic commands. However, this is just the start! Each of these YouTube channels has many more excellent videos addressing more specific problems and teaching more advanced tricks. I used the search term "Clicker train my dog to" and have found videos that have helped me train my dog to do everything from crawling on his belly to doing handstands to balancing on wobbly platforms.
We'll start with one of my favorite channels, Kikopup. This trainer has a great selection of videos for all sorts of behaviors, and uses a slow, step-by-step approach and way of explaining actions that help you understand the why behind the how. Here are a few videos for getting started:
Here is my favorite video from another great YouTube resource, Treat Pouch, which has some excellent trick videos like how to play dead, weave through your legs, and sit up.
Pam's Dog Academy is another excellent clicker training resource, with videos that help with solutions for all sorts of different problem behaviors, as well as great videos for teaching your dog agility through clicker training.
Train a hand touch
No pull toward a dog
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