Clicker training is a fun way to teach your dog, cat or critter new tricks and cues. Using a clicker takes some getting used to, but with a little practice and patience, you’ll be on your way to communicating clearly with your pet – no matter what age or species!
The Click Predicts
To teach your pet the rules for the clicker game, you’ll first need to “charge up the clicker.” When your pet hears one CLICK, it always indicates a treat is coming.
- Begin with 10 very small treats that your pet really enjoys.
- Click the button one time, then place one treat on the floor near your pet.
- Wait until your pet finishes eating the treat.
- Click again. Place one treat in the same spot on the floor.
- When your pet begins to look to the spot on the floor after hearing the CLICK, that’s when you know your clicker is “fully charged.”
A Powerful Tool
Now you can begin to use the clicker to teach your pet new behaviors. The clicker is a precise way for you to reinforce your pet for doing all kinds of things, like:
- Lie down
- Raise paw
- Go to a mat or bed
- Touch objects with paw or nose
- Almost anything that your pet feels comfortable with
My pet is sensitive to the noise of the click:
Consider using a different, quieter clicker, or even the click of a ballpoint pen. You can also make a tongue-click sound with your mouth instead.
Just for fun? Clicker training is not just for tricks. You can help fix unwanted behavior by reinforcing an alternate behavior you prefer. Puppy jumping up on guests? Click for all paws on the floor. Pulling on leash? Click for a loose leash. Click for quiet. Click for chewing on appropriate items.
SMART TIP: Keep sessions short
Clicker training is addictive! You’ll want to keep going when you see how fun it is. Much more is learned in sessions that are three minutes than in one long 20-minute session. Keep the game short and fun for your pet. If you notice they (or you!) are getting frustrated, it’s time to take a break from learning.
Work on your timing
Begin with something that is easy for your pet to do, and is easy for you to observe. You’ll want to click at the precise moment your pet offers the behavior. Timing is crucial!
We are always here to help! You can find additional behavior and training resources at pasadenahumane.org/behavior.