Should I Use A Clicker To Train My Puppy? | PUPPYFAQS

Should I Use A Clicker To Train My Puppy?

Should I Use A Clicker To Train My Puppy?

should I use a clicker to train my puppy? Clicker dog training is suitable for anyone who wants to raise or train their puppy with cooperation and mutual respect. Clicker training is a proven way to train puppies and older dogs using the theory of operant conditioning.

The principle that makes this form of conditioning work is that positive reinforcement of desired behaviors works better than negative conditioning. The clicker noise pinpoints the behavior you want to teach.

In this article, we will discuss the following:

  • What is clicker training?
  • Should I Use A Clicker To Train My Dog
  • Is clicker training good for puppies?
  • At what age can you start clicker training a puppy?
  • Does Clicker Training Work For Puppies?
  • When Can You Start Clicker Training A Puppy?
  • When should I stop clicker training?
  • Why Use a Clicker Instead of a Word
  • Advantages of Clicker Training Your Puppy
  • Should I Keep Using A Clicker To Train My Puppy?
  • Can you use clicker training for potty training?
  • How to use a Clicker to Train Your Puppy
Should I Use A Clicker To Train My Puppy?

What is clicker training?

What is clicker training? A clicker is a conditioned reinforcer – that means it is used to reinforce behavior.

The clicker technique was developed in the 1930’s by Burrhus Frederick Skinner, an American psychologist. Skinner discovered that animals learn faster when positive reinforcement is used versus negative conditioning using drugs and force methods—trying to clicker train your puppy?

Don’t know what a clicker is or how clicker training works? Read this article about clicker training puppies to learn what clickers are and everything you need to know to clicker train your puppy.

In addition, UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine created a free online course that takes viewers step-by-step through clicker training a puppy. Using clickers during puppy clicker training can help to reinforce commands, train puppies quickly and effectively, and teach pups new behaviors.

Should I Use A Clicker To Train My Dog?

With clicker training, you can easily communicate with your pup by consistently marking specific behaviors you want him to repeat.

Related Topic: Why does my dog stare at me?

This helps the dog learn how to clicker train a puppy for tricks and commands. Learn clicker training in just five minutes by watching the video below, then read on to learn clicker training tips for clicker-training your puppy.

Should I Use A Clicker To Train My Puppy?

Is clicker training good for puppies?

The answer to this question is not as simple as it sounds. Clicker training can be a suitable method for training puppies, but there are some considerations that dog owners should understand before using the technique.

As with any training, clicker or otherwise, consistency and patience are essential factors in working well. Proper timing is also vital when teaching commands like “sit” and “stay.”

For example, if you want your pup to sit on command, give them the verbal cue (i.e., “sit”), then wait for their hindquarters to touch the ground before clicking and giving them a treat/toy/verbal praise, so they know what behavior you’re looking for next time. This way, they learn that sitting equals treats!

At what age can you start clicker training a puppy?

Remember, clicker training is a way of communicating with your puppy using simple sounds and hand gestures.

By clicker training your puppy, you are teaching them that good behavior can be rewarded, but bad behavior will not go unpunished.

You can begin clicker training a puppy at the age of 3 months, but it’s best to wait until your puppy is four months old so that they can start understanding instructions.

So yes, clicker training should be used when training a puppy.

Does Clicker Training Work For Puppies?

So what exactly is clicker training for puppies? It’s simply rewarding the requested behavior with a few clicks. Now why a dog would want clicks is because, in the beginning, you give a treat with the click.

So you ask your puppy to sit, and when he does, you click and give him the treat. Eventually, your puppy only needs to hear the clicker to know that he’s on the right track.

Advantages to the clicker are that the reward for the correct behavior is delivered much more quickly with a click. That instant reward solidifies the behavior.

When Can You Start Clicker Training A Puppy?

You can start with clicker training from the moment you bring your puppy home. Simple exercises such as a hand touch are things that a young puppy can learn in no time. But, of course, you have to take into account that the attention span is short, so you have to keep the training sessions very short.

Because there is no punishment involved with clicker training, you can start working with your pup in a relaxed and playful way. One of the best things about clicker training is that you don’t have to be an expert dog trainer to use it.

All you need to do is learn a few basic steps, and you’ll know how to train your dog yourself (but maybe our best puppy training tips can also help).

Should I Use A Clicker To Train My Puppy?

When should I stop clicker training?

You can stop clicker training your puppy once they walk on a leash and have basic commands such as sit, down, come, stay. Remember, clicker training works great for puppies but not so well with older dogs.

When clicker training your puppy, you should let them know what happens when they behave badly or wrong. With clickers, you can click once and click again very soon afterward.

Why Use a Clicker Instead of a Word

You may be asking yourself why you can’t just use a word like “good,” for example, instead of a click. Of course, you could, but a clicker has several advantages.

  • It takes longer to say a word than a click, so the reward is closer to the requested behavior.
  • A word like “good” has social connotations. The click is neutral.
  • Use the clicker during training sessions.
  • The clicker is easy to hear and is unique; sometimes, words or your voice are indistinct.
  • Finally, the temptation is to use a word opposite the reward word, such as saying “bad” when the behavior doesn’t take place slows down training.

Advantages of Clicker Training Your Puppy

So here are some advantages of clicker training a puppy:

  • Clicker training is a constant that makes dog training much more accessible and much faster.
  • Dogs can very quickly learn to associate the sound of the click with a specific behavior that consistently earns them a reward.
  • Dogs have hearing that’s so far superior to human hearing that it’s hard to imagine, but they can pick up the slightest variations in tone. Clickers always produce the same sound every single time.

Should I Keep Using A Clicker To Train My Puppy?

You don’t have to use a clicker to get your dog to do as you ask forever. The idea is that a clicker is simply a teaching/learning tool that’s temporary.

Once the puppy has his “light bulb moment” and understands what you want him to do, he’ll do it when you tell him to.

Praise is always needed. That’s what a dog wants more than anything else: your approval. But, of course, he won’t turn down a tasty treat when he’s a good boy, either.

Can you use clicker training for potty training?

Using clicker training, you will be able to train your puppy to do all kinds of tricks, including using a clicker for potty training.

Potty training a puppy with a clicker is similar to clicker training in general, except that click-sound is tied to going outside (where the puppy can ‘do its business).

At the same time, potty training ties a click-sound to going outside. So, every time you let the puppy out, click once and say “good dog,” then praise the puppy for doing its business.

Should I Use A Clicker To Train My Puppy?

How to use a Clicker to Train Your Puppy

Clickers are a great tool to use while training your puppy. A clicker is an inexpensive click-noise-making device that is used with clicker training.

Clicker training can be fun and easy for you and your pup! A clicker is used by associating the click sound to a pleasant reward which makes the click effective when delivering the reward. The clicker helps communicate to the pup what it did correctly so that you can get your ultimate goal, which is having a well-behaved puppy!

The clicker also makes training faster and more effective because your puppy knows that they have done something good when you click. Thus, an excited puppy will try to click again and want to do what you ask.

Using clicker training requires a clicker, treats, and a click-sound maker. After doing this click-noise, you should click your clicker, which will make a sound that resembles a dog click. Then give the puppy its treat or reward to associate the click and the treat together.

The click you use to mark behavior that is good for your pup is different from the click used during training. You can teach this by holding out a clicker and training your puppy to click it on command. With clicker training, you will click first but then hold out the treats so that your pup does not start chowing down and instead sits in anticipation of the treat.

Then once your puppy has become accustomed to the click sound, you can then combine this with some commands such as “sit” and “stay” so that the click is associated with your pup sitting down or staying in one place.

Also, you can click your clicker when your puppy does something good to reinforce good behavior! When dog training, always remember to click first and then treat so that the puppy knows that it was their action of sitting or staying that got the click and then reward.

This will tell your puppy that if they make a move again, it has the possibility of getting a click and treat! You should click about two to three times per session so that you repeat this process enough for your dog to remember the association between clicker sound and treat.

Below are the 4 steps to click training a puppy.

Step 1

Buy several clickers at any pet supply store, plus some yummy treats that your puppy likes. These should be different from any of the ordinary dog treats you give her.

Tiny pieces of hotdogs work well. The treats should not be substantial—after all, the purpose of the training is not to create an overweight puppy! Use tiny pieces, and your dog will get the idea.

Step 2

Start training with the most critical hand command, “Watch Me.” This is important because you cannot introduce any puppy until you have the puppy’s full attention.

When she looks at you, click and give a tiny treat. When she looks away, repeat the sequence. Try to lengthen the time she keeps her eye on you. Repeat this exercise several times a day over several days.

Step 3

Add the verbal cue “Watch me.” While she is looking somewhere else, click and reward when she looks at you. When she looks away, click and say “Watch Me!” in a firm but not overly loud voice. Repeat this sequence half a dozen times with a click, cue, and reward.

Then begin to phase out the click and treat but reward her with positive words like “Good dog.” Repeat this over several days, adding a release word like “OK.”

When you do this, change to some other activity, so she knows the game is over. Then, expand the training by getting her attention when distractions are present—sounds, people talking, television, or the radio going. Reward her each time with praise and an occasional treat.

Step 4

Use the same click, treat, verbal cue method for each new command. For example, teach the “Stay” command by moving away from her. Click and hold up your hand palm facing her.

If she moves, say, “Too bad!” and turn your back. It should only take a few tries before she will get the idea and stay where she is. When she does, click and reward her with another treat and use the release word, “OK.”

Over about a week, gradually lengthen the distance and add the verbal cue, “Stay!” Then, finally, release her with an “OK” and treat. Keep this up until she stays, even when you are out of sight.

Summary: Should I use a clicker to train my puppy?

Clicker training a puppy is an effective and humane way to train your pet. It does not use physical punishment or intimidation but rather positive reinforcement in the form of treats.

In addition, the clicker will give off a distinctive sound when you press it, which signals that they are doing something right.

This method can be used for just about any type of dog behavior modification such as potty training, housebreaking, teaching commands like “sit” or “stay,” and more!


I'm a self-employed blogger, life-long pet parent, and lover of dogs. I have always loved animals, especially puppies. So when my family got our first dog 15 years ago, it was love at first sight. We named her Sassy because she was so small, cute, and had a sassy personality! Once we got her home, I wanted to know everything about caring for her, so I researched online. Eventually, this led me to create the PUPPYFAQS website, where I write about nutrition, health, and care of puppies and the latest news in the world of puppies. In my spare time, I volunteer at my local shelter, which is run by volunteers who are passionate about helping homeless dogs find their forever homes. If I'm not working or volunteering for dogs, you can find me spending time with my family, friends, and my puppy. I have been writing professionally online since 2009. In addition to PUPPYFAQS, I also write for several other pet-related publications.

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