Clicker Train Your Dog or Cat. It's Easy and Fun!

You can teach your cat to high five or jump through a hoop. Your dog can dance or play dead. Clicker training is fast and easy. And once you get the hang of it, the possibilities are endless. 

The clicker is a small handheld device that can deliver a loud, sharp, easily identified sound. You are going to teach your pet that when he hears the clicker he did something you like, and, as a result, he is going to get a reward. Successful training results from rewarding the desired behavior as it is being performed. The value of clicker training is that you can click very quickly, much faster than you can reach into your pocket for a treat. Basically you are using a clicker to provide a "bridge" between the desired behavior and the reward. It doesn't matter if it takes you a few seconds to give the treat because your pet knows he is going to get one. First you must teach your pet that the clicker means a reward is coming. For most dogs and cats, food is the best reward. Start by simply clicking, and immediately giving your pet a treat after each click. Repeat that multiple times, several days in a row. Eventually your pet will hear the clicker and look for the treat. Use tiny morsels of a very special food that your pet loves.

Once your pet has learned to associate the clicker with food, you are ready to start training. A key to clicker training is to reward a behavior that your dog does naturally until he does it repeatedly. For example, your dog will naturally sit, and if you click and reward each time your dog sits he will soon figure out that behavior gets him a treat. Then you can go to the next step. If you want him to sit and raise his right paw to high five, you will only click and give a treat if he lifts his right paw off the ground. When he does that well, you will click and reward when he raises his paw higher off the ground each time until he is lifting his right front leg as high as you want him to. Basically he wants a treat, and he will keep trying everything from his repertoire until he gets it right. Once he figures out how it works it will be fun to see how fast he can learn new tricks. You can reinforce a desired behavior with a verbal cue as you click, and eventually you will be able to ask for the behavior using that command without the clicker.


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