Clicker training is a phenomime, which is an excellent positive training tool for your dog. But, where do you start?
You can’t just say ‘sit’ and expect your dog to understand what you are talking about – how do they know? How do they know that if they complete the command that they will receive a click and a treat?
You have to strip it back to the basics, and this starts with charging the mark.
So, what do we mean by charging the mark? Is this some new foreign language we have never been privy to?
Quite simply put, charging the mark is where you teach your dog that the click marks the reward being delivered. Now, how do you do that?
Easy? No! But not too difficult, trust me!
Get your clicker, no distractions around and your dog hungry. Now press to release the ‘click’ sound and as soon as the ‘click’ is heard, feed your dog their treat/reward.
What food should you use? There is no hard and fast rule here, however, for optimum results use food which is soft and palatable in small pieces. This can be hot dog sausages cut up small, cheese, liver cake, we have even used salmon before!
The click should be the only signal that food is coming and you need to aim to get a minimum of 300 reps for your dog to understand the link between the click and food. Please though, do not think this has to be done in one go in one session!
Always alternate between hands when feeding, so your dog does not learn to target just one hand.
When you dog starts to understand the ‘game’, start to take a step back when feeding, your dog will then need to come forward and this will create energy and drive which you can manipulate when training.