Clicker Training for Catch Dogs
Clicker training for catch dogs proves to be one of the most effective, impressive, and easiest methods for controlling and dictating behavior when you are teaching them basic commands. A clicker is a universal training tool that can be used in a variety of situations, and is easily understood by catch dogs.
How Clicker Training for Catch Dogs Works
A clicker has a strong, sharp, consistent sound that can be heard from 20 yards or more. The purpose of clicker training for catch dogs is to teach them to recognize the sound of the clicker. You mark a specific, desirable behavior with the sound of the clicker when the dog does the right thing. The trick here is to look for a good behavior that your dog exhibits without being told to do so. It can be sitting, chewing its allowed toys, waiting patiently etc. Just pick one positive behavior that you notice your dog is doing on its own, and begin implementing your clicker as a reward for the behavior. All dogs have good behaviors they exhibit even if they haven’t received any training. You just have to determine the habits that your dog has that you consider proper behavior.
Initially catch dogs will not recognize the sound of a clicker as a reward so this will be the first lesson you teach. Compliment your clicker with a bag of treats, or pats, which will help a dog, recognize the sound of the clicker with positive praise. This is called classical conditioning, and a famous example is Ivan Pavlov who experimented with a bell when feeding dogs. When it was feeding time he would ring a bell, and soon the dogs started associating the sound of the bell with being fed. They would begin salivating, even if there was no food in sight. The clicker is the bell in this instance.
How is Clicker Training for Catch Dogs Implemented?
Clicker training for catch dogs has three basic steps; behavior, clicker, reward. First, your dog will display a positive behavior. Choose one behavior at a time to clicker train with. Don’t try to use the clicker for many behaviors initially as the dog will not recognize the clicker’s significance. When the dog performs the action correctly mark it with a click from the clicker and give them a reward.
Catch dogs will usually begin to understand, and repeat, the behavior you are teaching within two or three markings. Rewarding and disciplining dog behavior needs to happen instantaneously after the action you wish to encourage or control. Dogs learn best this way. Since a clicker has a strong, sharp and consistent sound it works more quickly than verbal or body commands alone.
Reinforce the good behavior of catch dogs regularly with the clicker. As they say ‘Practice makes perfect’. You do not have to use treats every time. Praise and petting work just as well and can eventually replace treats, and the clicker.
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Transitioning Catch Dogs to Follow Commands Only
Once catch dogs have learned the desired behavior competently, you will transition them from the clicker to understanding spoken commands or body signals. Whenever you are about to use the clicker, say the command and then click, followed by the reward. Catch dogs will quickly learn to associate all three, and you can retire the clicker, and even the praise and rewards. The dog will respond just as well with a command only.
As you might have learned in this article, clicker training for catch dogs has a number of applications, and it makes training dogs in basics and eventually hunting specific skills much easier and effective. With simple, sharp and consistent commands, you can mark and reinforce nearly any behavior in catch dogs.