A pet like a dog or a cat is great for your psychological well-being since they offer a unique type of companionship. You could reduce stress, anxiety, and depression with your adorable dog on your side. At the same time, a pet helps ease loneliness, encourages activeness in exercises and playfulness, or even boosts your cardiovascular well-being.
But for a dog to be that perfect companion, you still need to train them. And unlike other training methods, clicker training is one of the top priority strategies you could start with. For a start, click here for dog training packages and explore more about basic obedience, therapy dog preparation, dog aggression and reactivity, and advanced obedience. Next, let’s understand clicker training in detail and when to start it.
Understanding Clicker Training and When Your Dog Can Correctly Learn
Clicker training is an animal training method by which you train your pet by following behavioral psychology. The technique also relies on marking and identifying desirable behaviors and rewarding them.
During the training, you monitor behaviors you want your dog to grasp and repeatedly reward them for it. And unlike other training sessions that use words and gestures almost entirely, clicker training uses a device known as a clicker as part of the routine.
The clicker makes short and distinct sounds. Through these sounds, your dog picks up on what is required to do and does them. In other words, it’s a form of communication that reinforces your pet to behave and respond how you want.
The Age at Which You Can Start Clicker Training
Naturally, every animal grows and gets older, including your pet dog. And when it comes to training, especially with methods involving psychology and mental stability, the average age to begin training your dog via clicker training is six months.
At six months, most puppies become adolescents regardless of their breed. As this happens, they also develop more energy and willfulness to participate in activities, including training. As a result, clicker training your dog at this age helps them develop, grasp, and adapt to the manners you want them to have as they grow.
At six months, your puppy should understand good and bad; thus, training them at this age enhances their ability to adapt to new behaviors effortlessly.
How to Clicker Train Your Dog
Depending on your dog’s age or breed, grasping commands differ from dog to dog. As a result, how your dog learns to use a clicker relies on the effectiveness of the training technique. But in general, some of the effective strategies and steps to implement are the following.
- Deciding on a Proper Training Setting
For your dog to correctly learn multiple commands, choose a distraction-free and comfortable spot where you are in control of every session. You could train at a dog park or within your compound. This way, you could incorporate a leash or pet games to help keep the dog focused on the commands you want to teach.
- Loading the Clicker Sounds Correctly and Associating the Dog with the Sounds
Once you pick a training location, the next thing is to start the clicker by loading it with sounds and clicks. Load the sounds and clicks and associate them with particular commands to help the dog recognize them in a specific manner, making it effortless to grasp and remember them.
For example, you could load the clicker with commands such as sitting or running after something. In the end, this helps the dog learn and remember the sounds whether you say the orders or only use the clicker sounds.
And remember motivating your pets goes a long way in training. To motivate your dog, reward them with a treat and verbal recognition so that they can associate the act with a reward. Next, once your dog understands the multiple sounds, reload the clicker with new sounds and commands. Repeat this until the dog learns all the commands you want and can remember them efficiently.
Combining the Clicker with Verbal Training
After your puppy masters the clicker commands you could reinforce this with vocal commands. Do this by encouraging the dog to perform specific behaviors with vocal commands after using the clicker.
Next, remove the clicker and continue giving the instructions to the puppy, and watch how the dog reacts without the clicker. Depending on your preferences and stage of training, you could incorporate vocal training with treats or decide not to involve treats.
As you can see there are many ways to train your puppy. However, it is always important to consider the breed, age and your training needs before embarking on this exercise. Working with a professional with experience is also a great option. This helps your puppy gain social skills while having a more in-depth training. The result is a smarter, social and obedient dog.