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Showing posts from September, 2010

Charging the Clicker

An integral part of operant conditioning - also known as clicker training to the average dog owner - is the marker which tells the dog she's performed the desired behavior. While technically "any" sound can be made to mark behavior (such as a whistle or even a word, such as "Good!"), studies have shown that animals trained with a clicker as the marker learn quicker.

Why is that, you might ask? The reason is simple - the clicker makes only one sound, without variance in pitch, tone, loudness, etc. Therefore the dog knows that exact sound means he's offered the desired behavior. Before beginning any type of clicker training, first your dog must of course know the meaning of the clicker. To start him off, it's merely a matter of equating the sound of the click with some sort of "paycheck," the easiest being treats.

(While you can use any of your dog's reinforcers for training, the easiest to use is small, chewy treats. This is only because it…