Clicker training has become increasingly popular over the past several decades as dog owners look to adopt positive reinforcement training rather than outdated training methods. I have to be honest with you. I really don’t like clicker training. More on that is below.
If you’re familiar with some well-known dog trainers on YouTube, you’ll probably know that trainers such as Zak George endorse and encourage clicker training. We love Zak George and watch him all the time. We’ve also purchased his book.
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The reason I don’t like “click and treat” methods is that I don’t feel like I have enough hands. I have my dog’s leash in one hand. Then I need to click and treat. That requires two more hands.
Not including if I have to physically correct or guide my dog if they did not do the command. (I mean like pulling them toward me if the command was “come.”)
What is a dog clicker?
A clicker is a simple noisemaker that “clicks.” Dog clickers make a single or double click sound to indicate to your dog that they’ve done something good and a treat is forthcoming.
Before you begin teaching your dog with a clicker, they have to think that the clicker (actually the click) is the best thing on earth.
You do that by doing “click and treat” until your dog associates the click with a treat.
I want to get on board. I just feel not coordinated enough. I’m constantly dropping treats and delaying the clicks too much to make it effective.
What Is Clicker Training?
Clicker training is a form of positive training reinforcement that focuses on what your dog is doing right rather than what they’re getting wrong.
The idea behind clicker training is that you’ll use the clicker when your dog successfully follows a command or does something good to indicate that you’re happy with what they just did.
At the start of clicker training, you’ll usually give your dog a treat after every click so they begin to associate the sound of the clicker with a reward.
The American Kennel Club explains on its website that these techniques are based on the science of animal learning, which says that behaviors that are rewarded are more likely to be repeated in the future.
So why not just pet your dog or say “good job?” We all have different voices and voice fluctuations. A clicker is more consistent. The sound of the click is the same, every single time. We may be having an off day as humans and may not be as enthusiastic, which could affect the message your dog receives.
A clicker makes the same sound every time, so the message is consistent.
Once your dog associates the clicker with good behavior, you can slowly stop giving them a treat every time.
Best Dog Training Clickers
There are a number of considerations when you’re looking at getting a clicker for your dog.
Most clickers will have a simple design and there’s no need to overcomplicate this little training device.
You’ll want to be sure that the clicker gives a clear, distinct, and loud sound so it effectively signals good behavior. This will be especially important if you plan on using the clicker outdoors or in public places.
Some clickers can hang from your wrist or you can place them on your finger. Luckily most of them are just a few bucks. If you don’t like the way one feels or sounds, you can try another.
You’ll want a clicker that’s easy to access in case you need to use the clicker when you notice another dog approaching or you spot a small animal that your dog would typically chase.
There are some clickers that include a whistle which could be a handy tool if you’re working on recall or commands that require you to leave your dog in position and move away.
Best Clicker For Dog Training
Now that we’ve explained what a clicker is and a little about clicker training, let’s look at the best clickers for dog training.
If you’ve got a dog breed that tends to have a poor recall or a high prey drive, you may prefer a clicker that has a whistle included to give you an even more versatile training device.
You may also want to purchase a treat pouch. I personally don’t like dog treats in my pockets because I usually forget to remove the extras before I do laundry. It makes quite a mess!
Here are the most popular dog clickers on Amazon right now.
- Treatpod-Includes wrist strap
- A kit that includes a wrist strap, poop bags, and a pouch
- Simple, no-frills, cheap dog clickers