The term clicker is commonly known among pet owners since at the moment it seems to be one of the most effective methods of training. You can teach almost any house pet to do things through clicker indications. For example you might teach your dog to sit or a bird to hop on a stick.
This training works with cats, dogs, birds and even horses. It is said that this kind of training is gentler than the other traditional training methods. The difference between these methods is that with traditional methods you make the animal perform what you want them to do and then reward them with a treat.
In case of the clicker training you wait until the action happens, sign it with a click and reward the animal.
The treat that you offer might vary from one animal to another based on the preferences that they have. You could offer food, pat, praise or anything else. In case the animal makes a mistake you just have to wait until he tries again.
The method originates from the 1960s and it is known as operant conditioning, developed by psychologist B. F. Skinner. This psychologist observed that the animals tend to repeat an action that he has been rewarded for and he tends to avoid those that had negative consequences.
In this case the clicker is used as a conditioner reinforcing method, which signals that something good is coming. The original clicker training has been performed on dolphins and after the pet owners realized how easy it was to use, other animals have been trained like this as well.
The main point of the clicker training is to make the animal expect something good in case he does something that you expect it to do. The role of the clicker is to make the animal associate the sound with some kind of treat. After a while the treat will become useless and the animal will respond to the clicker.
The first step is to get a clicker and some small pieces of treats. They shouldn’t be crumbly because they draw the attention of the animal on the treat while he should be focusing on you. Then you should face the pet, push the clicker and offer a treat. This way it will expect a treat after the sound of the clicker.
Ask something easy from the pet, like ‘sit’ and once it does the required action, click the clicker and offer a treat. It is important to click the clicker and offer the reward while the pet is still sitting so that it will associate the actions.
In case the animal doesn’t do what you want it to do, try to make some hints regarding your wish. For example in case of sitting you might hold the treat above the head of the animal. In case the animal still doesn’t know what to do, use the clicker when there are some movements made in the right direction. This should get the job done.