Tricks and Clicks 101
Did you watch America’s Got Talent? The clicker is one of the tools that contestants like Sara Carson used to train her dog Hero and how Jokgu the chicken learned to play the keyboard!
The clicker is a small, springy, snappy metal hand tool utilized in training to reward a desirable behavior immediately with precise timing. It is a secondary reinforcer that signals to the dog that it performed the correct behavior and that a primary reward will be shortly forthcoming. Clicker training pairs the neutral sound of a clicker with a primary reward, such as a treat. Eventually, the clicker becomes a predictor that the reward will soon be given. This allows the trainer to use the sound of the click to reinforce the desired behavior. This is particularly useful when teaching a new trick because the owner is not always in a position to give the food reward immediately.
When training tricks it is best to use food paired with the sound of the clicker. Many tricks must be taught in steps and each step needs to be reinforced immediately to help the dog understand the process. The clicker enables you to reward each step at the exact moment of success.
Once the dog reliably performs the desired behavior, we can start weaning away from the clicker and food.
101 Requirement: Dog must be food motivated.
102 Requirement: Dog must be food motivated and have completed course 101.
103 Requirement: Dog must be food motivated and have completed course 102.
101 Curriculum: Handlers will learn how to teach simple tricks such as sit, down, stay, stand, side and rollover, touch and give me five, utilizing a clicker.
102 Curriculum: We will continue using the clicker to shape new tricks.
103 Curriculum: Continue to build on previous tricks and learn to teach multi-step tricks utilizing the clicker.
Recommendations: Bring a hungry dog, leash and collar, treat bag and yummy treats. If you do not have a treat bag, they are sold at Misty Pines. You may purchase one before class.