How to Clicker Train Your Dog





Introduction: How to Clicker Train Your Dog

This Instructable will teach you what clicker training is, and I included how to do a few basic tricks too. Clicker training your dog is a good idea for several reasons:

It enables you to tell her exactly what you like that she did.

It's easier than not using a clicker, because you can communicate to your dog what you want her to do.

You don't have to give the treat right away, but you can still promise a reward for good behavior.

It uses positive reinforcement, which helps maintain a stronger bond with your dog.

I hope this Instructable helps you to train your dog, and don't forget to have fun!

Step 1: The Way It Works...

The way clicker training works is if your dog does something you like, you click and give her a treat. This teaches her that you liked what she did, and she will try and reproduce that behavior to get another treat. That's pretty much it. This method was developed by dolphin trainer Karen Pryor and has helped people train their dogs since then.

Step 2: What You Need

For this Instructable, you will need:

A clicker or clicker app (I use the app iClicker)

A dog


Step 3: Charge the Clicker

The clicker won't mean anything to your dog unless it is charged. She'll just sit there wondering what the heck you are doing. So to charge it, simply click, then give her a treat immediately after. Repeat that until she starts to look up at you expectantly when you click. This may take a few days.

Step 4: SIT!

To train your dog to sit, hold a treat in your hand. Stand in front of your dog. Bring the treat up in front of her nose, then bring it over her head towards her tail. Her head should follow the treat, bringing her into a sit. As soon as she sits, click. Once she is sitting, give her the treat. Repeat until your dog understands the move, then add the verbal command "sit" right before the click.

Step 5: Come to Meeeee

Come is an essential command for your dog to learn, mainly because really, what's the point of having a perfectly trained dog that doesn't come when you call? Also for safety reasons, like if you're taking your dog outside and need to get her out of the street.

So to train your dog to come, you'll need her to be a little way away from you. Once she's about 10 feet away, call her name to get her attention. when she turns to look at you, click. She'll come to you to get her reward. As soon as she comes to you, give her a treat. Walk away a short distance, then repeat. Once she comes reliably every time you call, start introducing the command "come". Call her name, tell her to come, then click when she starts coming towards you. Treat as soon as she reaches you.

Step 6: Lay Down

To teach your dog to lay down, she'll need to know the sit command. From a sitting position, lure your dog into a down by holding the treat in front of her nose, then bringing it forwards and downwards. She should follow the treat with her head and lay down. Click and reward as soon as she lays down. Practice, then add the command "down" or "lay down".

Step 7: That's It!

There is a TON more tricks you can teach your dog through clicker training, but I just included the basics here.

I hope you enjoyed this Instructable and that it helped you to train your dog. Please feel free to leave any questions, comments or concerns in the comment section. If you liked it, I would really appreciate your votes (I'm in the dog contest), but don't feel like you have to.

Thanks for reading :)

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    7 Discussions

    Sorry... little confused on how the clicker is actually working in the training. Instead of clicker... just get them to learn their name. Their name replaces the clicker all together. I think the commands and treat is all you need. If you want to command your dog at a further distance, then introduce a whistle during command training. Again, once they know their name then Sit=one whistle chirp, Come= three whistle chirps, repeat as needed. The food treat is bonus. The ultimate reward for a Lab is throw something for them to retrieve! :-) Happy training.

    1 reply

    The clicker is useful in more complicated tricks, like roll over, jumping over stuff, put it in the trash can, and stuff that takes multiple steps to complete. It shows them what you actually want to do.
    I agree that the whistle could work instead of a command, but if your dog learns a ton of tricks, you'll have to use commands so you don't have to blow the whistle like 10 times.
    Once a dog knows what the clicker means, she knows that click=treat. If she does something you like, she gets a treat. So she wants to repeat that behavior. That's how she learns what exactly you want her to do. You don't really have to use a treat for this, if your dog likes fetch better, then certainly use that! Whatever motivates them. And thanks, I agree, labs are awesome :)

    By the way... beautiful Lab! Best dogs in the World!

    What's the purpose behind waiting to give the command? Why not introduce the verbal command the first time the dog performs the behavior?

    1 reply

    You want her to understand the move first, so that she doesn't get too overwhelmed. You could try starting with the verbal command with your dog if you want, but I've found this way works best.

    I Highly recommend this form of training. We trained our lab/boxer puppy 9 years ago. It works quickly. This method can work with cats as well.

    1 reply

    Thank you for the nice comment. I did this with my lab and we really liked it. I did hear that it works well with cats, but I don't have one. :)