Why Clicker Training Is Overrated
You probably have seen people at the pet store training classes using a clicker to train their puppy.
If you don’t know what I’m talking about, a clicker is a little plastic device that makes a clicking noise when you push down on the button.
When training, you are supposed to make the clicking noise when your puppy exhibits the correct behavior or trick. Then your puppy associates the clicking noise with doing the right thing.
Don’t get me wrong, I think the idea of associating the clicker sound with positivity to tell your pup he performed the correct behaviors is definitely beneficial to training.
I DO believe that the clicker method works, however, there is one major flaw that hinders its usefulness:
That is, are you actually going to keep a clicker on you at all times? 24/7? Because that’s what it requires to implement clicker training.
Think about it like this...
If training clickers are so effective and convenient, then why don’t you see everyone at the dog park, dog beach, or even your local dog daycare using clickers to correct their dog’s behavior?
Even if you committed to carrying a clicker on you at all times, I guarantee you that you would forget it occasionally. I know that I sure would!
Even if you are a professional dog trainer like me, it's still not the best option at your disposal to train a dog how to respond to commands.
Because it’s my passion to teach dog owners practical skills and techniques so that they can have a well-trained dog for life, not just for a temporary fix!!
And I don’t know about you, but most people I know don’t want to carry around a training clicker every time they’re out with their pup!
More importantly, why would I train somebody’s dog using a tool that they don’t want to use? This is the case with 95% of the dog owners I work with.
So what's the solution?
Instead of using a physical clicker device, I like to use a ‘clicker’ that I am forced to have on me at all times... my voice.
You obviously have this ‘clicker’ on you at all times, I suggest you use it to your advantage!
For training purposes, choose a ‘clicker word’ that you will use to signal to your puppy that he has correctly done what you are asking him to do.
I say a specific word instead of phrase because you want something very short and sweet.
" What can I use as my ‘clicker word'? "
Personally, I use the word "yes" as my clicker word when training dogs; it has been incredibly successful in my training experiences and dogs respond very well to it.
It is easy, fast, and I don’t find myself just telling my dog “yes” unless we are working on training.
Therefore, it’s not easily confused with other words by my dogs, which makes it PERFECT as a ‘clicker word’. Other examples of ‘clicker words’ are the words “good” and “right”.
*Notice that I did not include “good boy” or “good girl” in the examples of clicker words. To find out why, check out the ‘Finding a ‘Clicker Word’ section in “The Puppy Training Handbook”.*
" How do I use a ‘clicker word’? "
When training your pup, your ‘clicker word’ will ALWAYS be followed by a treat or reward such as physical affection. In your puppy’s mind: ‘Clicker word’ + treat = I did something good!
When paired with consistent positive reinforcement training methods, properly utilizing a ‘clicker word’ is one of the most important tools to use for raising a well-behaved dog!