Clicker Dog Training for Chicago Pet Owners

Clicker Dog Training for Chicago Pet OwnersWhile the term “clicker” may be a familiar one, do you really know how to go about using this tool for Chicago dog training?

The clicker dog training method involves the use of a small mechanical device that, when pressed, makes a clicking noise.

It can help in modifying the behavior or teaching new tricks to your dog, and has been widely accepted by many Chicago dog trainers. This tool uses positive reinforcement to teach good manners and enforce simple commands.

Dog behavior psychology / modifications – classical conditioning and operant conditioning

Behavior psychology explains that there are two main forms of conditioning: classical (respondent) conditioning and operant (instrumental) conditioning. The first relies on stimulus reactions, or reflexes.

Classical conditioning

Pavlov explained this theory by ringing a bell in front of a dog, and then showing the animal a piece of meat. This triggered salivation, and after many practices, the dog would reflexively salivate at the sound of the bell (without having to see the meat).

Operant conditioning

Operant conditioning, on the other hand, is dog behavior modification taught through consequences. These behaviors are not reflexes, but rather voluntary behaviors (like sit, stay, or lay down). This is important to understand, since the clicker tool actively uses operant conditioning, and your dog will learn better the more you (as the dog trainer) understand it.

Clicker Dog Training Process

  1. The first use of the clicker in front of your pet may cause it to startle (especially puppies). The best way to get rid of this fear is to associate the click with a positive action, like a reward. Before any dog training commands, simply click the button and provide a treat. This part of the training is called “loading the clicker”, and you know you’re done with this step when your pet looks at you expectantly after a click.
  2. The second step in clicker dog training is to say a command, wait until the dog performs the command, and then click the button. Every time you click, you must provide your pet with a treat. This registers in your dog’s mind that for every time the clicker sounds, a reward will be provided.

Once the command is learned, slowly begin to take the clicker and treat away, so that your pet’s action becomes a reflex. You can also add a visual cue to each behavior. For instance, when you raise your hand, a standing posture is sought. When you lower your hand, this can refer to the sit command.

Whatever cue you’d like to use while training your dog, remember to stay consistent, which helps with easier training in the future.

I hope this quick clicker dog training for Chicago pet owners will make the process easier and smoother.

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