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Thursday, September 9, 2010

The Miracle of Clicker Training

Clicker training has got to be one of the most brilliant training techniques I have ever used.  Brut was still very young, hyper and driven with fear when I found this ad on the computer, telling me I could control and train any problem dog.  The ad didn't reveal anything about the method used, just that it could solve any dog problem.  I was quite desperate at the time and order it.  It was clicker training and it has been a life saver.



Chance is quite high strung and panics when there is a change in routine or something new.  Riding in the truck or car is high anxiety for Chance.  My truck is a single cab with a bench seat and Chance will whine and pace which can be dangerous.  We were taking a longer ride then normal the other day, I happened to have treats in my pocket and told him to sit,  then I clicked (I click with my tongue), and gave him a treat.  He instantly calmed down and focused.  I did this a few more times, he began to relax, sticking his nose out the window and watching the scenery go by.  Every so often on our trip whenever he was sitting or laying down, I would give him a treat for reinforcement for his good behavior.  The whole ride was like magic.  Just like that his fears and anxiety were taken care of.  Clicker training gave him the security he was looking for and he could rest assured there was nothing to fear.  I have heard of a book called, "Click to Calm," and even though I've never read it, I believe it is along these same principles.
Chance calm and chewing his bone

If I had any doubts and needed more confirmation on this wonderful technique.  Daddy came home and took Blaze with him for a ride.  Chance was bouncing all over the place and was an anxious mess, because he watched Daddy take Blaze and left him.  Chance has strong abandonment issues.  The whole house was actually in a raucous because they were all hoping for a ride with Daddy.  Normally when Blaze leaves with Daddy, Chance paces and races around outside and in the house, until he emotionally crashes. Remembering my success in the truck, I ask Chance to sit, then clicked and reward.  He was instantly at my feet.  He went from panic to calm in seconds.  I did this a few more times and then he grabbed a bone, laid at my feet and we watched TV.  Calm, relaxed and secure, it gave him a sense a of knowing what to expect.  I watched his fear and anxiety melt away and he became centered.  The wonders of this simple, effective technique are endless as I have begun to use them with Fiona and Zappa to stop harassing our cat, Boxer.  Just a couple of times in the last couple of days and the results have been fabulous.

Clicker training is more than just a treat.  It comes down to when you ask your dog to do something and they get it right, there is a reinforcement of understanding what they are suppose to do.  I have used it on all the dogs for basic training and when I'm teaching something new.  I am just starting to learn how to resource it in other areas, like anxiety and correcting bad behavior.  I'm beginning the learn how valuable this tool is and the possibilities that exist. My mind is already reeling on how it can be incorporated with bringing the two packs together.  Wouldn't that be something?  It is amazing to me how powerful and beneficial this approach is yet so kind and gentle.  I am simply impressed and would recommend it to anyone. 

What are your feelings on clicker training and have you ever used it before?

**24 Paws Favorites:  Paul Owens, "The Dog Whisperer" teaches clicker training and breaks it down into bite size pieces, making it even easier to learn. 



7 comments:

♥♥♥ The OP Pack ♥♥♥ said...

Mom is fascinated by clicker training but has never tried it. It sure sounds like it works well for you.

Woos ~ Phantom, Thunder, and Ciara

Maggie Mae said...

My mom is a true believer in clicker training. :)

Woofs and Licks,
Maggie Mae

Hound Girl said...

I really tried the clicker training with Fred and it was a trainwreck. He never picked up on it, I actually saw the trainer get a little frustrated (she was an amazing trainer). Fred is not food motivated and so the clicker was just another sound for him to ignore. I am always in awe of people that have used it with amazing results. We are a clicker failure hahaha.

Thats awesome to think about using it when working on intergrating the two packs. thats some food for thought!

jen said...

Thanks for posting this! We just got a clicker, and I really have no experience with it, but am excited to learn and try it with Leroy.

Feral Female said...

We`ve never tried clicker training but it sure seems to work!

sagechronicles said...

We are clicker training Sage and she is doing amazingly well, but there's still a ways to go. I just have to remember the clicker all the time!

Pup Fan said...

I really want to try clicker training with my next pup (and perhaps I could introduce it to Bella at the same time?). Thanks for the informative post!