Saturday, January 11, 2014

Inside Your Dog's Head: Why the clicker works

Ever wonder why, when you click that little button on a clicker, your dog lights up like it's Christmas time?

  Lets put it this way, why do you like facebook?  How easy is it to write your woes as a facebook status versus telling them personally to all your friends or acquaintances.  The lack of emotional response can be quite freeing.  That's why it's so easy to say the wrong thing or take things the wrong way.  Lack of ability to convey emotion.  Now what if you were only able to get positive feedback and happy, good feelings from everything you saw and read on Facebook?  The fact that your computer screen can not give you any real emotional feedback makes it a perfect way to show how your dog sees the clicker.  The clicker is just like your computer screen, only you can give it any ties to emotion.  When you pair the clicker with yummy treats and good times from you, you suddenly have that magic happy feeling button.  It never means scary, or bad or grumpy growls.    If you use it often enough your dog will begin to see you in more of the same way.  If you use it (paired with yummy treats, or a fun toy) around places or things they find scary, your dog will quickly learn to associate more happy, positive feelings with those that were once scary.

Pretty simple. Yet very powerful.

 Not taking wet food from a spoon until clicked,
 not jumping all over you when they are very excited to see you,
Doing what you asked, when you asked it.

All thanks to the power of that little clicker in a box.


  1. That clicker is amazing. Great! Thanks for sharing. Just for additional info. Training would be easy to handle if you already established your role as a leader. Based on experience as a trainer, everything goes absolutely smooooooth afterwards. :D
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  2. Actually you don't need to "establish yourself as the leader" in order to have your dog respect you. With the clicker you dog learns to look to your for cues and learns that life is more fun when they look to you and listen to you. You don't have to use fear, or any dominance base anything else in order to have a great relationship with your dog. If you want to read more about that look at my other posts. I am a trainer, and have used this method exclusively for many years with great success.

    1. Seems kinda like you are still being a leader when you use clicker training since you say your dog will "look to you and listen to you." It's benevolent leadership vs. force-based dominance theory, though.

    2. Yes, it is being a benevolent leader. That's why I put it in quotes. You become a real leader, not just a feared dominater. Your dog understands what you want it to do, instead of just hoping that he won't get beat or punished for not knowing.