The Clicker

Click! The clicker is a tool I’ve never used, haven’t seen the need for it.

The clicker itself is a reinforcement or marking tool that basically says a reward is coming for good behavior or a trick. The click should come during a behavior that you want – but often times, it is used incorrectly. If the chance of incorrect use is there, then it’s not a tool that I would recommend. Humans are not infallible – and improper use of a clicker needs to be undone.

Any good trainer will tell you that a clicker turns or “shapes” behaviors to become tricks. Dog rolls over, that is a trick. Dog gives a paw, that is a trick. Trying to shape bad behaviors with a clicker, that is really iffy.

Walk into certain pet stores when training sessions are going on, everyone has the same clicker – and all one hears is the same sound. What click sound is an individual dog reacting to? Combine that with the idea that the clicker combined with treats is used improperly. I’ve watched these training sessions quite a bit, the dog is hyper – click and treat. Dog is scared, click and treat. Dog is barking, click and treat. I’m seeing the reinforcement of bad behaviors.

Many owners that I meet are using this tool wrong. Either they misunderstood what they were taught by a trainer – or they learned through some group or forum online.