or, Now There is Dog Hair on my Good Suit.
More and more, people are coming to the realization that clicker training is the fastest and most productive way of getting whatever behavior they want from their puppy.
Of course, first you need to learn what the clicker is and what it stands for before you can fully benefit from this great little dog trainer’s magic wand.
I have numerous articles on operant conditioning, the most complete of which you will find under Featured Content. Please do yourself a service by reading that article and digesting the information before you start your training.
But for those of you who don’t want to be bothered reading the whole article, here is a brief synapsis. Hopefully, this little taste of information will give you enough of an appetite to willingly go and read the whole explanation.
First, you need to familiarize and teach puppy that the clicking sound means something good is on its way. And that something is a VERY tasty treat. Some dogs get it right away. Some take a bit longer. Either way, it is the most surefire method of getting and keeping attention from your pupil.
If there is one thing that most dog owners complain about in terms of behavior is their dog jumping up on them, or any other poor, unsuspecting person who happens to cross puppy’s path.
Now, I know all of the force methods to do this, like grabbing their front paws, or giving them a healthy bump with your knee in their chest. There are loads of others, but none of those have any place in a proper course in training.
Put yourself in Fluffy’s place. All happy and overjoyed to see you, then all of a sudden, BAM. He is knocked off his feet, or put in some other unpleasant position. I don’t know about you, but I would have a tough time putting confidence in someone who did that to me, just because I was happy to see them and wanted to say hello.
How about we convert that negative training into a positive and productive lesson instead, to train Fluffy, to keep all four on the floor? You will need an assistant in the beginning of this to help get your point across.
First Fluffy is on his lead, and you are armed with your trusty clicker and your wonderful helper is also armed but with a handful of tasty treats.
Now, helper person walks up to Fluffy. We know that good old Fluff is going to jump (that’s why we are here). So helper being the good dog trainer he/she is when Fluffy does jump, totally ignores Fluffy, (no talking, no sympathetic poor baby noises, no eye-contact, helper just backs away). After a short pause, helper person tries again, and walks up to Fluffy, again Fluffy jumps. Helper knows what to do and once again, with total disregard to Fluffy, backs away.
I can guarantee you that after a few (sometime more than a few) times of this, Fluffy is going to get tired of you ignoring him and start to lose interest in this game, or come up with something else to get you to pay attention to him.
When Fluffy keeps all four on the floor, at the approach of your willing helper, you immediately (and I mean immediately click) and helper offers the treat to Fluffy, along with the mandatory praise. Repeat until it looks like puppy has taken the hint (at least for now), that ‘if I stand I get a treat and praise.’ If he doesn’t stay consistent, keep trying until he is. It’s all about patience.
If you have children, (if not, rent some. They are in every neighborhood) this is a great way to incorporate youngsters into helping train Fluffy, and at the same time, keep up with Fluffy’s socialization skills around kids.
Each kid in turn calls Fluffy, but should Fluffy decide to jump, the child does the whole snubbing of Fluffy (as explained) thing.
But if Fluffy obediently stands there, you click and at the sound of the click, the kid gets the thrill of giving Fluffy his treat for doing a good job.
With most dogs, this is not a long, drawn out process. They pick up on this whole idea pretty quick.