Clicker Training is a form of positive reinforcement training that has increased in popularity in recent years. To help in the training process, an owner uses Clicker to signify every time the dog has performed a correct behavior that will be rewarded. The dog learns to associate the sound of the clicker with the rewards through a process known as classical conditioning.
The theory behind clicker training is that by pairing the click sound with a reward, such as a treat, you create a powerful training tool that you can use to immediately signal to the dog the instant he has done something correctly. One of the main problems with positive reinforcement training is that giving a dog a treat takes a few seconds. For every second that passes between the behavior and the reward, there is a greater chance that the reward won’t have the desired effect. The Clicker helps alleviate this problem because it allows an owner to reinforce the behavior almost instantly.
This method work with any type of verbal marker, a whistle, a one-syllable word, etc., however there is some research which suggests that the click sound is processed in a different part of the dog’s brain which accounts for its effectiveness. Whether using a clicker or verbal markers, pairing treats with sounds can be an effective way to help with positive reinforcement training.
- Allows more effective timing of rewards than simple positive reinforcement training
- Helps build positive relationship between owner and dog
- Needs good timing in order to be effective
- Ineffective if dog has low drive for food or other rewards