When my journey in dog training began, I wondered why people use coercion. Was coercion the only choice? Was this the only way to interact with animals?
But after a while everything changed: I met the world of clicker training.
My life changed when I discovered that I could communicate with my dog just by using a little sound: click!
So instead of forcing the dog to sit, you can have a dog who wants to sit. There’s a big difference!
Sometimes we feel frustrated because our dogs don’t listen to us, or they ignore us. How many times does this happen? But, have you ever thought that this can be due to a lack of understanding between two different species?
The beauty of the clicker is that it helps to build a strong and effective communication. How can I talk to my dog if I speak English and he speaks “dog language”? By using the clicker we can explain to our learners what we want to say. The clicker is like a bridge between the behavior and the reinforcement. Simply said, it tells the dog what is the behavior that earns the treat. And this leads to the repetition of that behavior.
Moreover, the dog understands that he is in control of the situation: once he figures out what is the behavior we reinforce, he can make us click! And this is how confidence grows.
And the more you build confidence, the easier it is for the dog to cooperate with you.
Another amazing aspect of using a clicker to learn a behavior is that you can only focus on what is “positive” and not on what is “negative”: you click a behavior you like but you can’t click what you don’t want. In other words, you explain to the dog that you like what he does, but you don’t focus on behaviors you don’t like. Instead of punishing unwanted behaviors, we teach the dog more appropriate behaviors.
Furthermore, remember that learning new behaviors stimulates our cognitive skills (attention, memory, problem solving, etc) and it is not different for our furry friends. You’ll see that the more your dog learns, the more he will be able to learn.
Last but not least, using a clicker makes you a better trainer. You realize how big is the difference between forcing your dog to do something or explaining what you want, giving the dog the correct information, respecting his needs, building trust. And all this is an invaluable experience for you.
Isn’t it a fascinating world? Once you learn how to use it, you never stop. BUT. Keep in mind that before teaching behaviors to our learner, we have to consider ourselves learners too.
This is what this course is about: we’ll start from the beginning because I want you to acquire the skills you’ll need for the rest of your life. Also, I want you to pay attention to the process and not run to the final behavior, because it is the process that leads to the final behavior.
This is the key for successful training.
During the course we’ll try to understand how to use the clicker and the science behind it through some very basic exercises. While working on these, we’ll focus on the mechanics of clicker training, delivery patterns, errorless learning, cues, latency. Basically, we’ll “use” these behaviors to understand how to use a clicker and all the components that stand behind the final result.
So join me for six weeks, I am sure we can learn from each other and I can’t wait to share my experience with you!!