If you’re in the park, at home or any place where it’s noisy, your puppy may not be able to distinguish your voice from all of the hustle and bustle. Using a sound to train your dog gets around this problem. It also lets you control your dog from distance without yelling.
Dog of breed dachshund on a chain as a sentry dog image by Dzmitry Lameika from Fotolia.com
Hold the clicker in one hand and a treat in the other. Wait for your dog to approach you.
Release the treat to the dog. As soon as you release the treat, click the clicker. Repeat this action for periods of up to 20 minutes. As the dog learns to associate the sound of the clicker with receiving a treat, the sound itself becomes its own reward. This won’t happen over night, but the sooner you introduce this stimulus, the sooner your dog will learn what it means. Eventually, your dog will respond the sound of the clicker as quickly as he runs to get a treat.
Carry the clicker at all times when with your puppy. You never know when an opportunity to reward him will arise. For example, your pup may voluntarily go lie in his basket or urinate in the correct place. Using the clicker means you can reinforce desired behavior at all times, not just during designated training time.
Teaching the Sit With a Whistle
Hold the clicker in one hand and a treat in the other. Put the whistle in your mouth.
Raise the treat over your dog’s head and move it backward. As you do this, blow into the whistle using single, short blasts, leaving distinguishable gaps. As you move the treat backward, your dog will naturally hit the sit position so he can follow it. All you are doing here is replacing the sound of the word “sit!” with the sound of the whistle. Since your dog doesn’t understand words anyway, either sound will work. The whistle is more distinctive and can be used from far away.
Sound the clicker the second your dog’s bottom hits the floor and release the treat. The treat is the lure, and the clicker is the reward, but use the treat to reward the dog for the first few days, until your dog learns the behavior. Repeat this five or six times daily. Over time, your dog will learn that if he hears a single, short blast on the whistle and then sits down, he receives the positive stimulus of the clicker. Once he learns exactly what he needs to do, you can eliminate the treat from the exercise.
Simon Foden has been a freelance writer and editor since 1999. He began his writing career after graduating with a Bachelors of Arts degree in music from Salford University. He has contributed to and written for various magazines including "K9 Magazine" and "Pet Friendly Magazine." He has also written for Dogmagazine.net.