Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Clicker Training

When I get back to New Ulm and volunteering again I will start to use clicker training on some of the dogs. Of course this will be after the time when the old ones get to know me again. Anyway the basic idea behind clicker training is that when the dog does what I want it to do I click my clicker and then proceed to give the dog a treat. The clicker is used as a bridge between the action and the reward. It cements the cause and effect relationship between the dog doing what I want it to do, whether it be sit, lay, or something else, and the reward. When the clicker sound is connected to the treat reward the dog will begin to react to the clicker just like it does to the treat.
One of the main benefits of the clicker is that it becomes much easier to pinpoint the behavior that is wanted and reward that specific behavior rather than cause confusion as to what is actually being rewarded.
Clicker training can be used to teach a variety of animals a variety of different behaviors. You can train anything from a dog, to a mouse, to a horse, to a bird, and a multitude of other animals. The behaviors you can teach are only limited by the limits of your imagination.
Next week when I begin to use clicker training with the humane society dogs I will also be able to shoot some short videos and then update you on what progress is being made.