By Ann Doyle
The first major improvement in dog training since choke chains
and spiked collars, click and treat has quickly establishing
itself in becoming a big hit in the world of dog training.
Currently, there are over 10,000 trainers who are using this
training method everyday.
One advantage to using this form of training at home is it’s
easy to learn for both the dog and his trainer!
Originally used to train marine mammals, click and treat
down the process into two separate steps, information and
motivation. The click is the information, the treat is the
motivation. While other trainers still work on these two
they try to teach them all at once, which can confuse the
and slow down results.
Most trainers will verbally praise a dog for good behavior,
while at the same time motivating the dog to repeat his
actions. This can be a good method, however it takes longer
the dog to understand which behaviors and actions caused the
praise from the trainer.
With the click and treat method, the processes are easily
taught. In normal training, a person would say “good boy” when
a welcomed action occurs and proceed with giving a treat. The
clicker becomes a substitute for verbal praise and can
catch the “good boy” behavior quicker than saying it, letting
the dog know exactly which behavior he is being rewarded for.
Another way to look at click and treat training is viewing it
as a secondary reinforcement, while food, water, physical
affection and play (things the dog wants) become primary
reinforcement. When you take a dog for a walk, the leash works
as a secondary reinforcement. It is obvious to the dog that
leash is not taking him for a walk; the owner is, however, it
triggers a reaction in the dog, telling him that the leash
let him know where he will go and where he will not. And if he
reacts to the leash with good behavior, his reward will be a
nice leisurely walk.
Click and treat works the same way. When a dog hears the
clicker, he will know that he performed a good behavior and as
long as he keeps hearing a click, there is a treat coming his
way. So, the clicker works as a secondary reinforcement,
teaching him boundaries and appropriate behavior.
A couple advantages of the click and treat method include;
1) Faster response than verbal praise. The clicker can
the exact behavior at the time it happens.
2) It takes the place of treats. While motivating the dog to
hear clicks, it will also teach him to work without the
expectations of having treats given to him each time he does
3) If the trainer is working at a distance from the dog, the
clicker will still work, without having to be right next him.
Are you ready to try clicker training?
The first thing you’ll need to do is go to your favorite pet
supply store and invest in a clicker. The clicker is nothing
fancy and should just cost you under five dollars. While
there grab some pocket treats, little bits of dried liver work
A good method to use when getting started with click and treat
is to stand in front of the animal. Click the clicker and give
a treat. Continue doing this for 20-30 minutes, or until the
dog becomes startled by the sound of the click. This will
familiarize him to the clicking sound, while teaching him that
every time he hears it, he has done something good. After he
gets the hang of it, begin by adding commands, such as “sit”
Click and treat has proven to be a simple, yet consistent
training method with quick results. So for the trainers out
there who are looking for a new and innovative way to motivate
and praise their animals, get out there, buy a clicker and...
About The Author: Ann Doyle is an avid dog lover, and has been
for years. Visit her blog at www.abetterdog.com