Download this handout as a PDF at the bottom of this page.
Yummy treats, treat pouch, clicker
Getting started or “charging the clicker”:
- Find a comfortable, quiet place for you to sit down and have your puppy nearby.
- Load one hand with treats and hold the clicker in the other hand.
- Click and treat several times (make sure to click BEFORE you treat).
- Repeat this exercise with variations: deliver treats while you are standing, toss treats on the floor instead of holding them in front of your puppy’s nose, deliver treats while your are walking.
- When your puppy looks up or pricks his/her ears when hearing the click, you are ready to move on.
The 3 rules of clicker training (according to Gina Phairas of Tails and Tots Family Dog Training):
- If you click, you must treat.
- Click only once.
- Don’t use the clicker to get your puppy’s attention.
How to get the behavior you want to reward:
- Catch the puppy during the behavior, click and treat.
- Lure the puppy into position, then click and treat.
- Shape a behavior by taking one small step at a time.
We will talk about these methods in class.
How to eliminate behaviors you don’t like:
- Establish a “no reward” signal, like “oops” or “too bad”.
- Positively reinforce an incompatible behavior (a reliable “sit” will prevent your puppy from jumping up).
- Time-outs: Immediately after a misbehavior, turn away and ignore the puppy for 30 sec to a minute.
Different methods of using the time-out will be discussed in class.
A great book to get started:
Clicker Training for Dogs by Karen Pryor; available at amazon.com for about $15.