June 21, 2009

Clicker Training

What is clicker training anyway? A clicker is a small rectangular box with a mechanism that when pressed creates a "click". The clicker is very similar to and was created based on the whistle used in ocean mammal training. When the dolphin jumps through the hoop (behavior) at Sea World the trainer blows a whistle and the dolphin returns for his fish (reward). So when you ask your dog to sit...wait until his butt hits the floor (behavior), click the clicker and reward with a yummy treat. Repeat this over and over adding the cue "sit" and the dog will learn very quickly that sitting gets him a reward and is a much better behavior to practice than jumping on people. Dogs learn much quicker when using a clicker because it marks the very behavior you are looking for exactly when it happens and is always followed by a yummy treat (you can also use toys, petting, etc). It is also consistent. The click is the same sound every time vs. your voice saying "yes" or "good boy" which can fluctuate and have various tones. Give clicker training a try and get rid of the punishment-based training that is very ineffective. All dogs can learn using a clicker including infant puppies which are much too young to understand "corrections".

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Dog Training Philosophy

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I train dogs using positive reinforcement training to modify unwanted behaviors.  I step outside the traditional training box and use therapeutic-grade essential oils to assist in my behavior modification regime when it comes to dogs plagued with fear and anxiety as well as aggression.  My philosophy is to heal the dog's mind, body and spirit, not just to rid the dog of unacceptable behaviors.  I specialize in shelter dog rehab, reactive rover, and fearful fidos.