I’ve seen some of my doggy friends get really excited when their bipeds get a clicker out. I can understand their excitement as clicker training is all about positive reinforcement. The aim is to have fun while training and reward the behaviour that you wish to encourage. I believe that to begin with you click and give your dog a treat each time – that sounds like fun! This builds a positive association with the click.
My bipeds believe in using positive reinforcement in training, so I was puzzled about why I’m not trained with a clicker. I decided to ask my bipeds about it – I don’t want to miss out on something exciting!
I questioned the female biped about it, as she did most of my early training – the male biped injured his Achilles tendon while I was young and had his leg in a cast for weeks, making it very difficult for him to keep up with me until he had recovered!
I asked her if she thinks that clicker training is a good thing. She replied that training based on positive reinforcement is always a good thing.
I asked, “So, why don’t we use a clicker?”
She replied, “I didn’t have a spare hand for a clicker when you were a puppy! You grew so fast and were so strong that I wouldn’t have been able to use a clicker. I needed both hands free to be able to control you when I took you out. If you remember, I always wore something with pockets, or had a bag strapped around my waist, to carry the things I needed.”
I could understand that but asked her why we hadn’t used a clicker for our training sessions at home. She replied that they had wanted to be consistent. They had decided it would be confusing for me if they used a clicker at home and not when we were out.
I was still concerned that I was missing out on some fun and asked about the differences between our training and clicker training. She told me that instead of clicking with a clicker they say “yes” in a special way that I associate with doing well. I love it when they say that! But I have noticed that other bipeds sometimes give them a strange look when they do that. My biped explained that is one advantage of using a clicker – other people hardly notice!
I don’t mind if my bipeds get strange looks when they’re talking to me and it doesn’t seem to bother them either. It’s the positive reinforcement that’s the important thing – you can use a clicker or your voice, whichever suits you the best.
I asked my biped if she was sure that I was getting enough positive reinforcement. She asked me how many times a day do I hear that I’m a “good girl” or a “good dog”. I started counting and soon ran out of toes! Then I realised she wasn’t really expecting an answer to the question, as she already knew it’s dozens of times a day – I’m glad it is.
See you next Wednesday!