What is clicker training for dogs?

Our question this week was:

Dr. Debra – what is clicker training? I hear dog people say that term occasionally but I don’t know what it means.


Bill H. – Columbia Missouri


Hi – thanks for your email. Clicker training is a way train dogs that involves a device or something that makes a clicking sound. This is part of a positive or reward-based training. The idea is to train your dog to perform certain desired behaviors rather than to punish unwanted behavior. One way is to use a “secondary re-enforcer,” like praise or a neutral cue that signals that the primary re-enforcer is due.

In animal training, whistles and clicks have been used as secondary re-enforcers, though you can also use your voice. Clicks made by small plastic clickers (“frogs”) are probably the best and most consistent way of marking the successful accomplishment of a behavior. For more information on Clicker Training, please read Clicker Training Your Dog. This article has a step by steps instructions on how to train.

Best of luck!

Dr. Debra

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