Lifestyles for Better Living



Clicker Training


Clicker training is one of the most effective ways of teaching a pet to behave well, whether inside and outside of the home. If you don't want to pay for costly obedience school lessons, you can take it upon yourself to train your pet during your free time.

Clicker training falls under the rubric of operant conditioning. It is not a form of classical conditioning; instead, this form of animal training focuses on getting the animal to behave in a certain way by encouraging the target behavior.

Encouragement to perform target behaviors is achieved through nonverbal signals, verbal signals, clicks, and rewards. Rewards are important to clicker training because a reward is the clearest sign (to the animal) that the action that it just performed is desirable to the trainer, and that a reward will always come if it performs that action.

Another thing that separates clicker training from all other forms of classical conditioning is that it minimizes the use of aversive control, or punishments. This is not to say that clicker trainers do not punish.

Corrective actions are performed, but animals are never scolded or physically hurt just because they did not perform the desired action. Whenever an animal does not perform the intended action, a neutral verbal sign is given to signal to the animal that it has not performed something that was to be rewarded.

Simplicity & power

The system is simple enough for any animal to understand, because all animals understand the concept of reward. Another element that separates clicker training (operant conditioning) from classical conditioning is that it requires the utmost patience during training, because small steps are also rewarded.

So, if you want your dog to run to a target, you have to reward it even if it only managed to just look at the target during the first attempt. If a target behavior is too complex, it has to be broken down into several phases that can be managed easily by the student (your pet). The animal will then be led into successive phases.

Each small success is met with a click, and a reward. Wrong or non-targeted behavior will be met with a neutral deterrent, so the animal will choose the target behavior over non-targeted behavior.

Clicker training works extremely well because of its foundation is in positive reinforcement. Positive reinforcement helps an animal to figure out which actions provide the highest return (the reward), and which actions do not. Of course, an animal will always choose the action that will bring a treat or reward, because it is in the animal's best interest to do so.

Animals that have been trained with classical conditioning can still be trained with clicker training. Researches have shown that any dogs who cross over from traditional method of training still produce great results, especially if the trainer is willing to assist the animal during first few sessions (which can require 20 to 50 successful repetitions or cycles). Nonverbal signals and verbal signals can be added later on when the animal has good mastery of the target action.




For more information and help on dog training and health, these Nook books are also available at Barns and Noble.
You and Your Dog: Training and Behaviors
Ultimate Guide To Mastering Pet Training: With A Clicker
The Ultimate Guide for A Healthy Dog



  You can also buy and download these and other books as a PDF File from Paypal.

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