Important tips starting clicker training

  1. Don’t ever break the promise. If you click- you have to feed, even though it might have been the wrong moment. As long as you realize it was wrong, you more likely learn to be sharp! If you break the promise, your dog will start looking for other, more reliable information to know that now the reward is coming.
  2. Click- pause- treat! Do not fuse the click and the treat with your timing. The click has to precede the treat. If click and treat are fused together, the click will have much less meaning- if any!
  3. When you start the process of conditioning the click itself, begin by clicking in your pocket to damp the sound and avoid scaring the dog with a noise he never heard before. It would be a very bad start if he hears the click and is startled!
  4. Do not identify a training situation by having the clicker or treats visible only if your intentions are to train. The dog will key in on that picture and is starting to hope. Have treats on your on the counter, have the clicker in your hand, and do nothing. If you don’t show the meaninglessness of the sight of treats and clicker, the dog will learn that its only worth while if he sees the clicker or the¬†treats being present.
  5. Use treats that are quick to swallow.
  6. Do not let treats drop on the ground, the dog sniffing and finding those treats will train him that the behavior of sniffing during training is rewarded. He sniffs the ground and finds treats. The behavior will quickly ex potentiate through this mechanism of reinforcement. If the treat drops, hurry to pick it up, or step on it to prevent the dog from getting it!
  7. During clicker conditioning¬†as a marker, make sure that you don’t get into a rhythm of click-treat. Have variable duration of time laps between the next click and treat. If there is a rhythm, the clicker will not gain the magnificence we intend to have. Avoid to click for the same action during the process. If you click when the dog sits over and over, before the click is established as a marker, he might learn that click means sit! In the process click for different behaviors to avoid to attach the click to a behavior. The click is solely the announcement that the treat is coming. It is NOT a signal to perform a behavior.