Common Mistakes When Clicker Training A Dog

By Olivia Kight

Clicker training is an effective method of positive reinforcement training that encourages dogs through a sound association (the clicker) and food reward when the dog does the right thing. In this way, the trainer is able to communicate the desired outcome more quickly ab ddirectly to the dog. However, you may be subverting your efforts if you're making any of the following Top 3 clicker-training mistakes.

#1 Clicking Without Treating

When you begin a clicker training session with your dog, make sure you have plenty of treats on hand. Whenever you click, immediately offer your dog a very small food treat. Especially in the first months of training, never make the click sound without giving your dog an instantaneous reward. By always accompanying the click with a treat, you can motivate your dog to listen for the clicker and cooperate more closely with you. If you fail to offer your dog a treat reward, he may become disinterested or begin to disassociate the noise with positive reinforcement.

#2 Clicking Too Often

Only click and provide a treat to your dog when he obeys your given command or moves in the right direction. If you click too often, you may confuse your dog. Instead of learning the right behavior, your dog may become unsure of what you're asking of him.

#3 Sending Mixed Messages

The key principle of clicker training is positive reinforcement. If you combine clicker training's positive reinforcement with negative correction (saying "no" or giving a correction on the leash), your dog will likely feel confused and unsure of how he ought to proceed. Instead, be consistent in your training methods to make the training process as simple to understand as possible for your dog.

Other Considerations

Take your time in the training process, and don't be afraid to repeat lessons until you're certain your dog has understood and mastered the concept. Have patience during training sessions, and be generous with praise when your dog obeys.

By Olivia Kight


About the Author
Olivia Kight is an experienced online and print writer and editor. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in 2012, and has worked on education, family life and counseling publications. She also gained valuable knowledge shadowing a zoo veterinarian and grooming and socialize show dogs, and now spends her time writing and training her spunky young labradoodle, Booker.