Clicker Training
Clicker training has been around for a very long time.  For some reason, it is not well understood by many people who think it is bribing an
animal into behaving.  Quite the opposite in fact!  Clicker training is indeed a reward system, but usually food is only used in the beginning
stages.  Once an animal learns a behaviour, the food reward is replaced by a kind word or a pat, or often isn't necessary at all.   Remember
when you were learning to count?  All the adults applauded your every effort.  Once you mastered counting however, people stopped telling
you how clever you were for being able to count...but you didn't un-learn it inspite of losing the reward.

There are many good websites devoted to clicker training  (I'll give you a basic link at the bottom of the page), and most of them will offer
"clicker boxes" for sale.  You can use them, or you can choose a key word spoken in a special tone.  I use the word, "good" said high
pitched.  Every time one of my dogs hears me chirp, "good", they know they have just done something good and will be getting a reward.

My subject below is "Moe Hawk"   Moe is 1/2 Chinese Crested & 1/2 Chihuahua.   I picked him as a model because I have never
bothered to teach him basic obedience, so he was starting at ground zero.

The first step is to let the dog know that the clicker, or your keyword is followed by food.  This is the dog's favorite part as you will "click"
then give him a treat, then click and give him a treat about 10 times in a row!    A brief word about treats.  Soft treats are best.  Use treats
that he can eat quickly & will not make crumbs for him to hunt for.  Also, if your dog is a bit tubby, reduce dinner appropriately to make up
for the extra treat calories.
Teaching Moe Hawk to Sit
I'm showing Moe a
treat and holding it
slightly above his head.  
I just wait for him to
offer behaviours.  On
the left, he is standing
on his hind legs... a nice
behaviour, but not what
I am looking for, so no
click.  On the right, he is
circling . . . very nice,
but no click!
On the right, Moe is
starting to lower his
hindquarters towards the
ground.  I go ahead &
click for the try & give him
his treat even though he has
not exactly "sat".  I am not
saying anything yet.  I
won't actually tell him to sit
until he is doing it
consistantly when I hold
my hand over his head.
I start over again
& this time Moe
immediately starts
to lower his hind
end!  What a
smart boy!  I wait
just a minute and
he continues to
try.  At this point I
could reward, but
I decided to wait .
. .
Moe continued on
the right path and sat
down to get his click
& his reward.    Moe
figured this out really
quickly.  Either he
has been taught to sit
at some point (he
was a rescue), or he
is just really smart!
Now Moe is sitting
everytime I hold my
hand over his head,
so I start saying the
word, "sit" as soon as
I see him start to
lower his rear.  He is
still getting a click & a
reward every time.
In the picture on the
left you can see the
clicker box .
Moe is now
happy to stay
sitting.  As long
as his behind
stays down, I
will click &
reward every 30
seconds or
so...yum, great
Learn more about
More lessons
for Moe Hawk
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