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Introduction to Dog Clicker Training

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Have you heard about clicker training and want to know more about it? Do you want to try clicker training with your dog but you're not quite sure where to start? If so, the 'Introduction to clicker training session' could be just the thing for you' You will find some more information below but if you have further questions, please give us a call!

What is clicker training?
Clicker training is a fun method of training that most dogs and owners really enjoy. It is also a very effective way to teach your dog a huge range of activities, from sit and down to closing doors and riding a skate-board!

The essential difference between clicker training and other reward-based training is that the dog is told exactly which behaviour earned it a reward. This information is communicated with a distinct and unique sound, a click, which occurs at the same time as the desired behaviour. The reward follows. Without hearing a click during an action, a dog may not connect the reward with that action. Or, the dog may associate the reward with another, unwanted action. With the click, a trainer can precisely "mark" behaviour so that the dog knows exactly what it was doing right.

Why use the click rather than just a word?
A click is more powerful for training than a spoken word because it is not a sound heard by the dog in other circumstances. It means one thing only: a reward is coming because of what you did when you heard the click. It can be produced instantly and at the exact moment a behaviour occurs. Even a very quick and subtle behaviour, the twitch of an ear for example, can be clicked.

Unlike our voices, which can say the same word in different ways, and so express different emotions or meanings each time, the click sounds the same every time it is heard; its meaning never varies. Humans are highly verbal creatures, but dogs are not. It can be difficult for them to pick out a single word from the stream of meaningless words they hear us speak every day. The click’s meaning, however, is always clear.

Is clicker training suitable for all dogs?
We recommend clicker training to all dog owners and it doesn’t matter how old your dog is. A dog can be introduced to it at any age! Clicker training is however particularly well-suited to very active dogs or those who are easily bored as it encourages them to think for themselves and therefore provides great mental stimulation.

How long will it take for my dog to understand clicker training?The initial introduction to clicker training takes just one hour. In this time we will explain the principles of clicker training and introduce your dog to it. We will also help you to teach your dog a couple of tricks so that you can see how well it works! After the initial introduction, you will then be able to go Home and continue to train your dog using clicker training. If you wish we can also arrange further sessions to help you train your dog to do anything you want it to.

Will I need to use a clicker and treats forever?
No. Once a behaviour has been learned there is usually no need to continue to click, as the dog understands the behaviour. Clicker trainers can maintain the behaviour by replacing especially good treats with occasional and less intensive rewards including a pat or praise. Learned behaviours are also maintained by real-life rewards: for example sitting quietly at the door is rewarded by opening the door so that the dog can have a walk. Clicker trainers then save clicks and treats for the next new thing they want to train.

Clicker training lessons will be charged at £45 per hour. (Travel costs may apply in some cases).

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