Are You Truly a Clicker Trainer or Just Training With a Clicker?

Clicker Training Basics

Clicker Training Basics

“Clicker training is an animal training method based on behavioral psychology that relies on marking desirable behavior and rewarding it.” – Karen Pryor Clicker Training

Karen Pryor began using a training method called “clicker training” when she was working with Dolphins. It helped her communicate precisely what behaviors she was looking for. Soon she applied it to other animals, including the dog, and it really caught on! Her clicker training school has a special reputation for hosting “Chicken Camps” where students learn to clicker train chickens! Clicker training is such catchy term these days that even trainers who use the clicker incorrectly consider themselves and advertise themselves as click trainers.

What Constitutes a “Real” Clicker Trainer?

A clicker trainer should:

  • follow each click with at least one treat
  • use the clicker to mark correct behaviors – not to get the dogs attention, get the dog to come, etc.
  • not use corrections of any kinds (verbal or physical)

When not used in the intended way, trainers that use clickers are reducing the effectiveness of the clicker training process. It’s not that it doesn’t work that way, it’s just that it’s misguiding people into thinking they are real clicker trainers and it may not be working as effectively as the intended use. Also, when people say they are clicker trainers or say they have tried clicker training, but don’t use the clicker correctly, they run the risk of harming the clicker training reputation because it will not give the results real clicker training could.

So, are you a real clicker trainer?

More Resources for Clicker Training fanatics!

A friend and fellow blogger, Donna Hill, created an index of dog training videos that are great to get started as well as learn about service dog training, treibball, scenting, retrieve, competitive obedience, and rally. Check it out here: