Clicker Training Your Dog For Fun

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Back in the day, I used to bring my Italian Greyhound, Bean, to dog training classes religiously. At first because I didn’t see my timid, shaky, growly rescue pup as being able to have a quality life with out help from professionals. I was unprepared for how this positive training method was quickly going to become a huge part of our lives, for training, and for straight up fun!

Bean, my Italian Greyhound buddy


What is Clicker Training?

Wikipedia defines Clicker training as “a method for training animals that uses positive reinforcement such as a food treat, along with a clicker or small mechanical noisemaker to mark the behavior being reinforced. When training a new behavior, the clicker helps the animal to quickly identify the precise behavior that results in the treat.”

I can sum it up for you: Clicker training is catching your dog doing something right. You use a clicker to mark a behavior you like, such as sitting. When the dog’s butt hits the floor, you click and give the dog a treat. The click is very precise. Each time the dog’s butt hits the floor, he gets rewarded. Very quickly the dog realizes that click = treat. Once this connection is made, I predict happy faces and waggly butts every time the clicker and treat bag make an appearance.

For example, I recently began clicker training my own four dogs again, after a fourteen year whirlwind of raising babies, building my pet grooming business, and generally just forgetting to train my own dogs! I have been training them for three days, just ten minutes a couple times a day for each dog. That’s it! But already, when they see the training bag come out, they are lined up and fighting over who gets to go first! (I always train them one at a time, away from the others, but more on that later.)

This training method works for all personality types!

I have four dogs, one Pomeranian who thinks she is a border collie with her intensity, one who is a dainty princess who needs to be babied, one rescue who’s confidence needs to be built with very careful, positive reinforcement, and a gawpy bull mastiff who thinks body slamming should be an Olympic sport. Clicker training works with them all.

Mr. Muscles demonstrates the use of a Click Stik. I present the Stik and…
…he boops it with his nose- gets a click and a liver treat!

I have been using the Click Stik for all of my dogs. It is a telescoping target stick- you teach them to touch the green ball on the end. Once they have that behavior, you can use it to teach all sorts of other behaviors. I like it for my poms because they are short, and this way I don’t have to bend over every time to treat them. And I like it for my bullmastiff because he is super slobbery and tends to get rough when he gets excited. Using the click stick keeps him away from my body and helps control that enthusiasm.

I invite you to try clicker training, too! Here is a wonderful starter kit with everything you need, including an informative DVD. You’ll notice a difference with your dog in a few short sessions! Have a new puppy? Try the Puppy Starter Kit Plus, geared for your new family member!

Also, if you want to read about my training journey with my own dogs, and maybe train along with me, click the upper right menu to subscribe to Shiny Healthy Dogs Updates.(Scroll down if you are on mobile) I plan on adding a category called Clicker Training Diaries so you can follow along! Cheers!



50 thoughts on “Clicker Training Your Dog For Fun”

  1. I have read about clicker training previously. I don’t have any pets, but will keep this in mind for training animals in a few years.

  2. Will this work for older dogs? My German Shepherd needs some training reinforcement and I need a new training method.

  3. I have a Terrier/Chihuahua who only knows how to “sit” lol. By all means, he’s a good boy, but he was never trained properly. He’s a big baby! I bet he’d respond really well to this! I’ll have to give it a try! 🙂

  4. Would this work for a 2 year old Cavapoo who has very bad door manners? Or one who likes to sit at the patio door and bark at chipmunks? Cause we have those problems over here and the barking always wakes the babies. I’d love to find something to help with that.

    1. Absolutely? Bear in mind tho, that you would have to work on it. Barking is a super satisfying behavior, as are things like jumping on people, for a dog, so you would have to make a plan: 1. What do you want your dog to do instead? (Quietly watch squirrels, or sit to greet people instead of jumping), and 2. Set your dog up for success by being ready to practice those behaviors and catch him doing something right. Hope that helps?

  5. Hmm I bet this would get my Boston Terrier to stop jumping all over everyone when we have visitors. I might just have to try this out one day. If I could ever find time between my toddler, and my chores!

  6. Clicker training sounds great! I definitely feel you on not wanting to bend down for your Poms. I feel the same way about mine. It definitely gives you a back ache! Lol!

  7. This is pretty cool! We tried something similar with our schnauzer when he was a puppy but we clearly did it wrong or he’s such a stubborn cute dog haha

  8. My dogs are old, but I feel like the smarter one would love this type of training. He is a border collie and loves showing how smart he is!

  9. I have never tried clicker training. I might have to give it a try for my stubborn bulldog who knows what he is suppose to do, but sometimes chooses not to listen.

    1. LoL- yep, bulldogs are very smart that way! The key is to discover what really motivates them(a certain food treat or game, perhaps) and use that as the reward. And don’t forget to mix it up to keep him from getting bored!

  10. I’ll need to look into this for our dog! My daughter got a clicker, but never did much with it – and I never really knew what it was for! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  11. We actually have a clicker but I didn’t understand how to use it. This is a great guide, now I’m excited to give it a try

  12. We actually have a clicker but I didn’t understand how to use it. This is a great guide, now I’m excited to give it a try

  13. This really sparked my interest! I’ve heard of clicker training but never have I actually looked into it. We’ve got an old pug and a blind pug that are sort of lost causes (in the best sense), but it would probably work very well with our border collie!

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