How To Use A Clicker In Dog Training

Dog responds to clicker training

Using a clicker is one of the most effective versions of positive reinforcement dog training. The technique uses sound to mark a moment when your dog has done something correctly. A clicker can be anything from a mechanical noisemaker to snapping your fingers, blowing a whistle, and even words such as “yes” or “good.” The most important aspect of using this tool is that it makes a sound that is distinct from how you would normally communicate with your canine companion.

A clicker is a common and useful tool to get your dog to learn certain tricks. However, getting used to using it with your pooch can be a challenge. Let’s look at some important tips and tricks below that will help ease your way to including a clicker in your dog training program.



Always give your dog a reward after the click

Lady praises dog

The rule of thumb is that every click needs to be associated with a reward. Dogs will repeat behaviors if it results in a positive outcome. For example, if you give them a reward after they’ve followed an instruction such as sitting down, your dog will be more likely to listen to you in the future. The click sound should indicate to your dog that a reward is coming.

The reward could be anything that your dog values. It can be a toy, playtime, or praise, but the most effective one is a high-value reward such as a treat.

Failing to understand the concept of ‘click and reward’ will make your dog care less about the sound. Studies also suggest that using a clicker without a reward can cause your dog’s response to deteriorate. So make sure you always reward them even if you click accidentally.


How to use a clicker in training

To start off with, find a quiet environment with as little distractions as possible. If you’re using a treat as a reward, it’s a good idea to start the training when they’re hungry.

Simply click and give treats every time. Follow the pattern of click, reward, repeat. Go over each command around 10 – 20 times, and your furry friend should get the hang of it. Test it even further by clicking when they’re not focused on you. If they instantly look at you, you can then go on trying to incorporate it into your dog training programs. Otherwise, repeat until they get it.

The clicker is an effective tool to use for different types of dog training such as basic commands training, lure-and-reward training, and shaping behavior. You should also use a clicker every time you spot your pooch doing good behaviors. For example, if a guest comes to your home and your dog doesn’t bark, click and reward them.

Remember that you won’t need to use a clicker forever. Once your canine companion has learned certain behaviors and tricks, you won’t be needing it anymore. A clicker is a learning tool and should be used when you want your pup to learn new things.


The challenge with clicker training

Focused dogThe clicker technique might sound easy, but a lot of dog owners have a hard time with it. You’ll need to be patient and willing to spend some time practicing with your pup. It’s also important not to reduce the amount of training too quickly. Your dog can easily lose interest, which means you’ll have to start the process all over again.



If you still struggle to use the clicker at home, be sure to bring your dog along to one of our training classes, and we’ll show you how to use it more effectively. To find a training class near you check out all of The Dog Stop’s locations