Dog Obedience Training
If you are looking for a great form of dog obedience training, clicker training is a great option for you.
It is effective, convenient and fun for both you and your dog, because it focuses on positive behavior.
There are a lot of reasons why other forms of dog obedience training are inferior to clicker training. Here are some examples of what NOT to do:
Negatively Reinforce Bad Behavior / Punishment
This is a type of dog obedience training that entails a vibration or shock collar, or anything else that gives your dog a negative emotional reaction.
The first major reason this is not a good form of training is that it might deter bad behavior (though not as well clicker training) but it won’t encourage good behavior.
The clearest way I can explain this is if a dog is zapped every time he jumps up on someone, he knows not to jump, but he doesn’t know much else.
When a dog is clicker trained, not only does a dog know not to jump up on someone, but often performs the positive behavior without asking.
My dog often will simply sit in front of someone when meeting them because he has been trained that it is the good thing to do. It his a habit for him.
Additionally, did you know that dogs will sometimes continue a negative behavior pattern just to get attention?
So when Spot jumps on your bed, he’s thinking it will score him some major attention.
Or maybe he just thinks it looks like a comfortable place to lie down.
It probably is, but if you don’t want him there, then that is a behavior pattern that has to be broken.
The thing is, by focusing on stopping negative behavior instead of encouraging positive behavior, you actually encourage negative behavior in your dog by giving your dog attention when he does something bad.
While your dog probably knows the difference between when you are happy and when you are mad, your dog does not differentiate between attention given when you are happy and when you are mad while being trained.
Therefore, when you are yelling at Spot for peeing on your pillow, Spot is thinking he did something good because, “Mom is focusing all of her attention on me.”
Additionally, unless you have made it clear before that moment that you like Spot on the floor and not on your bed, he will not understand when you start yelling at him that he should not go on the bed.
He will either be confused, or he will like the attention, as I mentioned above.
Finally, it is probably very difficult to teach a dog to do tricks through negative reinforcement.
Performing tricks is fun or the dog and the human, but it won’t be fun for the dog if he or she fears punishment.
Positive Reinforcement with Food
This will work well initially, but I know that I taught my dog a lot of tricks, and continue to do so.
He has stopped growing, and if I were to give him as many treats as I did when I was clicker training him, he would probably be a very fat dog.
Also, a lot of dogs that have only had positive reinforcement with food will often only respond to commands when food is present.
This isn’t a problem with clicker trained dogs, who eventually don’t even need the clicker to be motivated to perform tricks.
Also, some puppies cannot stomach a lot of treats. And small dogs often fill up really fast on treats as well.
This is not an issue with clicker training. You can train for as long as you wish, and your dog will not fill up and get sick, or fill up and lose interest because he or she does not want any more food.
Hiring a Trainer or Doggie School
This can be a very effective way of training your dog, depending on where you go.
However, there is added inconvenience if you have to bring your dog to school.
For example, I live in a city without a car and cannot bring my dog to dog school unless I want to pay for a cab.
Another additional expense is the cost of the expert or school, which can vary greatly in price, but all options are more expensive than clicker training, which only requires a clicker.
Clicker Training Your Dog at Home
Convenient. Inexpensive. Effective. Kind to your dog. Fun. Easy.
These are some of the words that describe clicker training.
And when I say easy, I mean it. I taught this method of dog obedience training to my dog sitter’s daughter when she was 10 and she mastered it in 5 minutes. I came back after a week long trip and she had used the clicker to teach him several new tricks! She and my dog were so proud and I was very impressed!