Puppy Training with a Clicker

So, what is puppy training with a clicker? First, let’s explore the rules of using a clicker.

Rules of Puppy Training with a Clicker

  • If you click, you must treat.
  • Your clicker is not a way to get your puppy’s attention or get your puppy to come to you.
  • Only click once

What is Puppy training with a clicker?

The clicker is a sound (click) used to communicate with your puppy. Clickers have been used for decades in all types of animal training, from marine mammals to zoo animals. You can’t use a collar or physically manipulate a camel without getting hurt.

How does Puppy training with a clicker work?

It’s really very simple. First, you need to teach your puppy that the click means they have earned a treat. Then you use the click to tell your puppy when they have done something you like. Basically, when your puppy does something you want them to do—like a sit or recall—you click and give them a treat. This gives your puppy immediate, exact feedback.

Teaching Your Puppy That Click Means Treat

  • Grab a handful of your puppy’s favorite yummy treats cut into very small pieces.
  • Click and give your puppy a treat (be careful not to click and treat at the same time; the treat must follow the click, not come before, or happen together with the click).
  • Do this in all situations, including while moving, standing still, lying down, inside, outside, etc. In other words, make sure your puppy understands that the click means treat in any condition.
  • Your puppy should soon learn that when you click, they get a treat. Give no indication that a treat is coming, except by clicking. Don’t reach for a treat, point the clicker at the dog, or reach toward him with the treat before using the clicker. Make sure you include a count or a word before you give the treat: Click. One-one thousand. Treat.

Practice Without Your Puppy

Timing is important in clicker training. Before you start your puppy training with a clicker, get in some practice without your puppy in the room. Remember, if you click, you must treat, so practicing away from your puppy will ensure that you don’t have to continually treat your puppy. Put your treats in a treat bag, cup or bowl, grab an empty cup or bowl, a tennis ball, and go outside. Bounce the tennis ball clicking every time the ball hits the ground. This will improve your timing and observation skills. For your next practice session, set up your bowl of treats or but on your treat bag. Put the empty bowl in front of you. Every time you click, you then take a treat out of your bag or bowl and put it in the other bowl. Be careful that you are not leaving your hand in your treat bag or treat bowl. Remember, you don’t want to disclose to your puppy that you will be giving them a treat, so practice this ahead of time.

Pro Tip for Puppy Training with a Clicker

Your puppy may be frightened by the sound of the clicker. If your puppy leaves or moves away, you can muffle the sound by wrapping the clicker in a piece of cloth. Work with your puppy at their comfort level, until they look forward to the click, because they always get a yummy treat.

Now that you know about puppy training with a clicker, click here to check out our blog on the 5 Things You Need to Train Your Puppy To Do

Do you need help with puppy training with a clicker? Our dog trainers have worked with all types of animals, not just puppies, and can help set you and your puppy up for success. Give us a call at 786-299-1552