Clicker Training has become a worldwide phenomenon, and not only for dogs. Clicker Dog Training has proven that it can be helpful to train the German Shepherd Dog just as well as most other dog breeds.
What is Clicker Training?
A clicker simply makes always the same "click" noise when you press on the unit. So if you produce the "click" noise immediately when your dog does something well, then the dog quickly learns to associate the click with whatever the dog has just done well. And if you provide an upbeat atmosphere, or even praise or affection, then going forward the dog may want to repeat whatever the dog has just done well.
Mark this: Combining the click with a food treat - as is so widely promoted - is not necessary at all!
Food treats in dog training are so widely used because treat training often gives the quickest results, and "professional" dog trainers need quick results to please the customer, the dog owner: professional means nothing other than to earn money with it, here with dog training.
But treat training does not give lasting results: Food treats are extrinsic motivation - which has diminishing return even if you were to continue to give food treats forever.
Diminishing return of all types of extrinsic motivation means here that the dog will show the desired behavior for a little while longer, but less and less.
Treat training has no lasting results: it is lure or expected reward, not training such that the dog wants to show the desired behavior out of intrinsic motivation.
So aim to avoid to combine clicker training with treat training. Or else you get that kind of dog that almost everyone seems to have: the dog behaves well only when expecting to get a treat!
Pros and Cons of Clicker Training
The biggest advantage of Clicker Training is that it typically shortens the time required to train a dog, because the consistency of hearing always the same "click" noise makes it clearer to the dog what you want.
While without the clicker, the ambiguity of human sounds and human behavior often leaves the dog confused, which slows down training success.
The biggest disadvantage of Clicker Training is that actually dogs focus most on our behavior, not on the sounds or noise we make. So when we use a clicker, we distract the dog from focusing on our behavior. Plus, we distract ourselves from using our behavior alone to train the dog.
Neither is an immediate drawback: clicker training IS successful most times.
Nonetheless be aware that long-term all this distraction obviously reduces the dog's practice to focus on our behavior alone, and it also reduces our practice to focus on our behavior alone!
Makes sense now, right?
In other words, Clicker Training is well suited to support all methods of Obedience Training, but is not useful when we want to improve our skill of Behavior Training the dog, and the dog's skill of focusing on our behavior alone - which would be the pinnacle of dog training, right?
Want to become a Super Trainer?
The video training from the top clicker trainers Morten Egtvedt & Cecilie Koeste is no longer available, but their book Clicker Training - The 4 Secrets of Becoming a Super Trainer finally is available on amazon.com as well. Enjoy!
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