by Kathy Fischer, KPA-CTP
- My dog needs to (insert word) NOW!!
- I don’t have time to teach my dog how to do things, I want him to do it now.
- My dog needs to stop doing (insert word) now!!
- Clicker training takes so much time, why can’t I just tell my dog once, and then make him do it?
- He (my dog) knows what (insert word) means, so he should do it.
As a dog trainer, I frequently hear the above statements. And I do remember actually thinking some of the same things in my very early years of training dogs. But this was before I studied learning theory and behavior, and realized that dogs can, and do learn!
So, why bother to learn the clicker training method when you can get immediate results just making your dog do what you want?
Taking your dog for a walk should be an enjoyable event for both you and your dog. But, is it? During the walk your dog pulls on the leash and causes you to lose your balance. So, you jerk hard on the leash and yell at your dog. Your dog most likely complies and the problem is solved. But for how long? How long before your dog pulls on the leash again? How many times are you going to jerk the leash, yell at your dog and make life miserable for both you and your dog? So, is this walk filled with jerking and yelling enjoyable?
Punishment (jerking the dog around, applying pain, yelling at the dog, etc.) does appear to work immediately. But, I’m guessing that your dog doesn’t like to be yelled at and doesn’t like to be in pain, so yes, they will avoid it which will look like they are obeying you. But are they obeying you or just trying to avoid pain and conflict? AND … Are they learning anything?
Pain, punishment and force will give you immediate results, but it does not teach anything. Pain, punishment and force will need to be repeated over and over to maintain your “well trained” dog. Pain, punishment and force will guarantee that your life is going to be clouded with negativity, frustration, anger, and conflict. Isn’t this just the relationship you’ve always dreamed of sharing with your dog?
Pain, punishment and force give immediate results. However, the results do not last as the dog does not learn anything (other than perhaps avoidance, which will not last). And what is the cost to your relationship? Is quick compliance worth it?
It is very possible to get quick compliance without the use of pain, punishment and force. It’s very simple; teach your dog what you would like for them to do in place of what they choose to do that you feel the need to punish.
The Clicker training method, once learned, is the quickest, most efficient way to teach any behavior. Clicker training is a very clear, direct communication with your dog, used to TEACH your dog how to behave. You no longer need to tell your dog over and over what to do; you only ASK them once and they happily perform! This is because with Clicker training your dog LEARNS the behaviors, AND the behaviors will last the dog’s lifetime!
YES, the Clicker training method does take time for you to learn, and for your dog to learn. It is like learning to drive or ride a bike; you feel like a total klutz at first, but before you know it you are riding the bike/driving a car without any effort at all.
Clicker training is the fastest, most efficient way to teach behaviors! We are talking mere minutes!! Once you both understand and are fluent using a clicker, you can teach new behaviors very quickly (in a matter of minutes). So, putting the time into learning the clicker will save you an unbelievable amount of time when it comes to teaching your dog new behaviors.
A great side effect of Clicker training is a much stronger bond with your dog. Say goodbye to frustration, anger, and inflicting pain, and say hello to enjoyment, laughter, and understanding. With clicker training, you are teaching your dog! Your dog learns, and hence the new behaviors you teach will stay with your dog for his life. With the clicker training method, your dog will no longer appear to obey you out of avoidance of the consequences. Instead, your dog will be excited to interact with you, and very happy to understand exactly what it is that you expect from him!
I’ll bet that this the relationship that you’ve always dreamed of sharing with your dog!