Clicker Training 101 – Lesson 9 – Handling Problems – 1

Lesson 9 - Handling Problems - 1

It’s unlikely that your clicker training will proceed without incident. You might run into some problems, either with your technique or with your subject (your dog).

That’s what this section is about. We’ll look at some common clicker training problems and concerns.

Remember that our information is general in nature. You know your dog the best, so if you think a different solution or technique will be best, by all means run with your own sense of what’s best for your dog. As well, if you think your dog is having severe behavioral problems that you can’t get a handle on, see your vet.

My dog doesn’t listen

First, remember that this method of training your dog is a bit unique in that your voice is not the only arbiter of what’s right and what’s wrong, of what your dog has done right or what he’s failed to achieve.

In addition, this isn’t about punishing the bad behavior, but rewarding the good. Call it positive reinforcement.

Therefore, if your dog isn’t paying attention, the best method of dealing with it isn’t to yell, scream, or try to coerce good behavior out of him.

Instead, ask yourself some questions:

  • Are you doing the training at the ideal time of day for your dog?
  • Are you working to get your clicks and treats nearly simultaneous so your dog understands that the click indicates a reward?
  • Are you being consistent?
  • Are your commands clear?
  • Is your dog older? If your dog is older, remember that it might take more time for him to learn basic obedience commands, particularly if he’s never been introduced to them before.

I can’t time my clicks right

Timing the clicks with the treats is hard for many dog owners and trainers.

Initially, work to get the click timing right. Give your dog the treat as soon as you can. It might take a minute and that’s OK. As long as it follows the click fairly quickly, you’re doing OK.

As you get better at the clicker training, however, it’s important that you do try and time your clicks and treats together well. That is when you are getting to the heart of the clicker training and reward system.

Here are some tips:
Instead of keeping treats in a pocket, try to put one in your free hand so that you can click and hand a treat all at the same time.
Give treats that are easy to hold and hand to the dog. Anything sticky or too mushy will cause problems.

Video Examples



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