Monday, March 12, 2012

The workings of the brain, how and why the clicker method works...

    Now that you know a little bit more (if you have read my past posts) about the clickers have you said to yourself, "how does that make a difference or why does that work better than food?"  Well let me explain.
    Stop and think back to a time when you were looking forward to something, a concert, a trip, an upcoming party, anything that you were really excited for.  Now in the anticipation of that event weren't you just as excited thinking about the upcoming event as you were experiencing it?  This is how the clicker works.  Instead of instant gratification, that gratification is delayed for a few seconds but in those few seconds a part of the brain called the "SEEKing circuit is stimulated and that produces the excitement  in anticipation.  So just like you get good feelings when thinking about some fun thing that you are soon to experience, so does your dog. (They have actually done quite a few studies on this phenomenon in animals ranging from monkeys to rats, to read about a few pick up the book "For the Love of a Dog")  So when you click that clicker that dog is flooded with good anticipation feelings for that treat or toy that will be imminently coming.  So they in reality are not working for the food as much as they are working to get that flood of good feelings.  The food after the click just continues to reinforce the click.  Pretty cool huh :o)  So remember not only are you training your dog with the clicker, you are also reinforcing that bond between the two of you.  Keep in mind that the more fun you make training the more you become that awesome all giver of goodness at any given time, and the less likely you are to have dominance issues with your dog in the future.  No need to "show your dog who's boss," they won't even feel the need to question it if whenever you ask them to do something they feel so good because even after you stop using the clicker for your "commands" they still have those good feelings associated with doing what you have asked. Really neat huh :o)  Now if I could just remember to do that with my kids, I think I will have it made! :o) 

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