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Discussion Starter #1
Can someone explain clicker training to me? I am watching some Kikopup videos on YouTube and I don't get the "why" of using a clicker? :redface:

Thanks!
 

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The clicker marks exactly what is being rewarded so they have a more specific idea of what you want, and training can happen faster.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thank you both!
 

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It tells your dog two things: 1. I like what you are doing this very instant (marks the behavior you want) and 2) And you will get something wonderful for doing that (a bridge to a reinforcer). The reinforcer can be a treat, or anything else that the dog finds valuable. You can use a word, of course, but we talk all the time, and dogs learn to tune us out. Later when the behavior is learned, you can switch to a word at least some of the time (I never take the clicker away totally, though I use it a whole lot less frequently with known behaviors.)
 

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Really its not Clicker Training, its learning psychology. A clicker is just a tool in the cabinet of animal trainers. Treats are another tool, some times one or the other is used, sometimes both. It all depends on what is being taught, and how to best teach the dog. But its all in name of making friends of our animals and treating them as though they are friends.
 

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The clicker marks exactly what is being rewarded so they have a more specific idea of what you want, and training can happen faster.
It's also more precise than speaking. Dogs do not generalize, so if you say "good" at all differently (which you will depending upon health, time of day and mood), the dog may not realize that it means the exact same thing. Also, people don't usually say "good" at exactly the right moment, so the dog gets the wrong idea of what you want. Really, the clicker is just a way to get around human imprecision and dogs' lack of generalization skills.
 

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As previous posters have said, clickers are a tool for "standardizing" human-to-dog communication, making it uniform between all of the various training instances. It removes variability in the handler's vocal tone, and pitch. It removes the human emotion which can sometimes hold back or even retard the learning process.

Verbal communication using a marker word such as yes or good could be analogized to using a blunt butter knife that usually gets the basic job done, slowly, whereas a clicker is more akin to the extreme precision of a surgeon's scalpel which allows for faster and much more detailed work. At least I've heard some people describe it that way.

When communication is improved and clarity is increased, so too does a dog's eagerness to respond accordingly.
 
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