Clicker Training for Dogs

The Many Benefits of Clicker Training For Dogs

There’s nothing better than the enthusiastic welcome you get from your dog when you return home. But when dogs start to jump up on their owners — or their owner’s guests — it’s unpleasant, to say the least.

Clicker training for dogs is a positive reinforcement method that helps to encourage your dog to follow commands, such as sitting when you enter your home. Discover how clicker training enables you to channel your inner canine whisperer and effectively train your new puppy or older dog.

What is a Dog-Training Clicker?

A clicker is a small plastic device containing a metal strip. This handy training accessory makes a clear clicking noise when dog owners use their thumbs to press down on the metal part. By using the clicker in conjunction with high-value treats, dogs begin to associate the clicks with rewards and are likely to repeat the desired behavior. Dog training clickers are inexpensive yet effective training tools available at most pet stores.

What is Dog Clicker Training?

Dog clicker training is a technique that relies on positive reinforcement. Instead of correcting problem behavior, dog owners will use clickers and treats simultaneously to reward actions they want to see again in the future.

This training tactic helps to improve obedience, as dogs can learn the meaning of commands when owners use clickers appropriately. Dog clicker training is also a successful way to teach your hound new tricks. Tricks help to provide mental stimulation, which is vital for your dog’s confidence, brain development and overall wellness. Bored dogs are also more likely to resort to naughty habits, such as chewing your furniture or barking incessantly, so it’s in your best interest to find healthy ways to keep them entertained.

Once your dog is familiar with clickers, you can also use them to reinforce good behavior outside of training sessions. For example, if your dog is lying quietly at your feet while you prepare dinner instead of begging for scraps, encourage this by clicking and rewarding them.

How Do I Use a Dog-Training Clicker?

If you’ve decided to try clicker training to improve your dog’s obedience, you’ll be happy to know it’s a fairly straightforward training technique. Follow our step-by-step guide to get started.

1. Introduce Your Dog to the Clicker

Before you begin your dog clicker training session, prepare a variety of high-value pea-sized treats. Small pieces of boiled chicken, dried liver and even cheese are great examples of tasty rewards, as they are easy for your dog to digest before moving on to the next command.

Once you have your clicker and treats ready, move to a quiet space to ensure your pet is most attentive. Practice holding the clicker in the palm of your hand and along the seam of your pants so your dog feels comfortable near this new training accessory. Some dogs are sensitive to these sounds, so assess their reactions carefully — you may need to muffle your clicker by placing it under your shirt or in your pocket.

Introduce your dog to the clicker by using it once and immediately handing them a treat.


Introduce your dog to the clicker by using it once and immediately handing them a treat. Reinforce the connection between clicks and rewards by repeating these actions for the next few minutes.

2. Reinforce Commands With the Clicker

As soon as your dog associates the clicker with rewards, you can solicit desired behavior. It’s best to start with something simple like “sit” and move on to more complex tricks as they grow in confidence.

To train your dog to sit, raise a treat in the air and as soon as they assume a seated position, click and reward your dog. Timing is most important in this process. For example, if your dog sits and then instantly walks away, they may think you are rewarding another action.

3. Mark Good Behavior with Vocal Commands

Dogs are brilliant animals, and studies indicate they can learn approximately 215 words. With this in mind, be sure to add vocal commands once they have perfected the desired action.

Keep practicing the command-click-reward process over multiple short training sessions. When they consistently sit on instruction, you can reduce your clicks and rewards and replace your behavior marker with a mono-syllabic word such as “yes” or “yip.”

4. Praise Your Dog Frequently

Treats are highly effective in rewarding your dog, but praise is just as important. Saying “good dog” or stroking them immediately after they have followed through with a command are other ways to reinforce good behavior.

Key Tips for Successful Dog Clicker Training

Now that you’ve got a better understanding of how to introduce your dog to the clicker, you’re ready to begin your first training session. Keep these seven tips for clicker training for dogs in mind to achieve greater success:

  • Keep the rewards flowing: Initially, rewards are crucial to reinforcing a specific action. Remember to reward each time you use your clicker and only start phasing this out when they have mastered a command.
  • Short training sessions are best: Your dog exerts a high level of mental and physical energy during training, so spread your sessions throughout the day. Puppies generally require three five-minute sessions each day for best results.
  • Explore high-value treat options: If your pup is not responding well to dog clicker training, you may need to use tastier treats! Test out a few options to see what they enjoy most.
  • Set new goals: Continue to stimulate your dog by advancing to more complex commands and tricks.
  • Patience is a virtue: Remember to be patient with your pup — they’re learning something new! 
  • Put the clicker away: The ultimate goal of clicker training is for your dog to follow a verbal command. Start phasing out your dog-training clicker when the time is right.
  • Have fun: Clicker training for dogs is an effective way to teach your dog new things while bonding with them. Enjoy the process!

Let Our Expert Dog Trainers Assist You with Your Clicker Training

From puppy socialization classes to therapy dog training, Off Leash K9 Training Maryland offers numerous training programs suited to dogs of all ages, sizes and breeds.

One of our most popular dog training services in Baltimore, Maryland, is our Marker Obedience program. This is a six-part course that relies on markers such as clickers, food rewards and your voice to encourage good behavior. By signing up for this program, you will learn how to use your clicker effectively to encourage your dog to follow basic commands every time!

If you’d like to know more about our Marker Obedience program or where you can find dog training services in Baltimore, Maryland, complete our online form or give the Off Leash K9 Training Maryland team a call at 443-743-3221.

Let Our Expert Dog Trainers Assist You with Your Clicker Training


Posted in Blog, Dog Training.