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Being Consistent in Clicker Training

November 4, 2013     Ed Frawley

As mentioned in previous articles, you will need to mark your dog consistently and only once. It is very important to mark only once since it will give a clear snapshot of what the dog soon will receive. Clicking your clicker too many times can result in losing its meaning. Your dog will expect you to give it a treat and when you don't, then it starts thinking that there is another meaning to it.

Now you might still be wondering when to mark the dog's good behavior. We will mark our dogs when it looks into our eyes and then after a short pause, proceed with a food treat. They will quickly understand that looking into your eyes will be the trigger to getting another treat.

Sometimes, trainers get too excited and will press their clicker 4 or 5 times in a row. This will confuse the dog. It may not be looking into your eyes when you are marking it multiple times--your dog will not understand if the clicker is for looking at you or for doing something else. Point is, simply press the clicker when he looks you in the eye.

Remember that pressing the clicker isn't the praise itself. When your dog starts understanding the clicker system, he will know that a secondary praise will always come after. To ensure that your dog truly understands this concept, you will need to mark only ONCE and with good timing.

It is so very important to understand that the mark needs to be given only once followed with a pause then a food treat. When you are starting this out, do this without an obedience command. You need to establish first that the mark will proceed with a food treat.

The dog will start to receive satisfaction from the CLICK itself but never to the point where it wants it as the only reward. You will always need to offer a reward after the mark.