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Clicker Dog Training
What's With All This Fuss About Clicker Dog Training?Quite simply clicker dog training is the most humane and effective way we know how to shape any new behavior in our dogs and extinguish any existing behavior problems.
Clicker dog training utilizes proven behavioral science methodology to clearly communicate and interact with our dogs. We now have a greater understanding of how animals (including our dogs!) think and learn - clicker training is the practical application of this knowledge in real life everyday situations.
Clicker dog training is a positive, reward based training method which relies on co-operation, consistency, repetition and positive reinforcement. Clicker training is free from any violence or harsh corrections. The best thing about clicker training are the results you and your dog will achieve - plus you'll have a heap of fun in the process.
What Is The Clicker?The clicker is a plastic toy like device with a metal strip that makes a quick, clear, consistent and distinctive sound when pressed. For our purpose it serves to accurately "mark" the behavior that we are shaping in our dogs and provides them with precise feedback - it does not have magical powers.
Yeah, but what exactly is Clicker Dog Training?Tell me Chris, "How does this clicker training work and can you honestly tell me that a little plastic clicker will train my dog?"
Well no, the clicker doesn't actually train your dog - but it is an important tool in the clicker training process. Clicker training relies on our understanding of how dogs learn, dog psychology and the behavioral science principles of operant conditioning and classical conditioning. We know that when we combine these principles it is our best means of communicating with our dogs.
At the core of the clicker dog training principle is this proven belief - reinforced or rewarded behavior in a dog is more likely to be repeated, and behaviors that are not reinforced will become less likely to occur again.
This is how Karen Pryor puts it:
"In traditional training, animals learn what to do and what to avoid around people from the reactions of people. It's the same way animals learn what to do around other animals in the wild, from the reactions of other animals.
In OUR kind of training, animals learn how to find food, increase their skills, and discover new ways to have fun the same way they learn in nature-from exploring the world itself."
These are the brilliant communication tools of a Clicker Trainer:
Operant Conditioning:Basically this takes advantage of the fact that dogs learn by the immediate consequence of their actions. What this means is that if we provide and control these consequences we will in fact be controlling our dog's behavior. I hear you ask "how do we control the consequences of our dog's behavior?" We do it by giving them instant feedback. This feedback or consequence can take the form of the following five outcomes:
What does all of this mean? Depending on which of these 5 consequences we provide, we are making the behavior occur more often or making it fade away.
A couple of quick real life examples of a dog learning through the consequences of their behavior (operant conditioning).
Classical Conditioning:When we combine the effectiveness of operant conditioning with the power of classical conditioning clicker dog training is the brilliant result.
Classical conditioning is the pairing of two unrelated stimuli so that an association is formed between the two.