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Clicker training and the power word “Yes”

February 21, 2009

022109_clicker_img_1833Last week I discussed the four keys to training your dog.  This week I want to remind you that timing is one of the most crucial aspects to dog training. If you reward you dog improperly or not quick enough it could take months or years for your dog to understand what you really want out of them. Therefore, it’s important to understand that you need be quick with your reward. I prefer using positive training methods with the use of a clicker, toys, and the power word “Yes”.

A clicker is a positive reinforcer, as can be the word “yes” or whatever word you to be your positive action word.  “A reinforcer is anything that, occurring in conjunction with an act, tends to increase the probability that the act will occur again” written by Karen Pryor from her book Don’t Shoot the Dog. (If you want to learn more about the clicker and positive training methods this is the book to read!)

Clicker training was originally used by marine biologists to train dolphins and whales. It still is today, but the practice and methods can be applied to dog training just as well. Positive training with the use of a clicker is humane and very rewarding. Knowing you can train your dog without beating them is a breath of fresh air. Before your dog will understand that the sound of a clicker or that the word “yes” is associated with doing the correct behavior you will need to condition your dog.  Conditioning your dog to a clicker is very easy.  Simply pick up some treats for your dog and start conditioning them. Click the clicker then give your dog a piece of food. Then do it again and again. Pretty soon when you click the clicker your dog will associate the sound with a reward.

I aslo use this method with the power word “yes”. Just say “yes” then give them a piece of food. It works the same way. However, the advantage of the clicker is the sound is always exactly the same and it’s a much faster sound than a “yes”. However, I like to use the power word “yes” as a substitute for positive behavior reinforcement to remind my dogs what they are doing is correct. I use this method more because I don’t always have a clicker in my hand.  The key is to have the same tone and enthusiasm when saying the word “yes” every time. I want my dogs to respond to me even when I don’t have a clicker handy. I use toys and flying discs to reinforce behaviors during shows along with the word “yes”. When performing, this is my primary reinforcer as my dogs love to play. I also don’t want them to be dependent on food while performing. But you need to find out what motivates your dog the most. Use toys or food, but just make it fun and exciting!

Pawsative action” for the week: Condition your dog to the clicker and the power word “Yes” using food and/or toys as a motivator.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. February 21, 2009 8:59 pm

    hey DOG GUY!

    im lovin the blog and will be following you dailly 🙂 great job so far! that pic of baby ferarri is adorable 🙂

    sam and usman

  2. February 22, 2009 2:33 am

    Thanks for the encouragement!! I have more adorable pics of Ferrari.. i’m gonna put the up on flickr at some point. 😉 See ya soon!

    BTW, it’s Stunt Dog Guy…. lol! 😉

  3. Marie permalink
    March 10, 2009 1:26 pm

    As a dog trainer I cannot emphasize enough how powerful the word YES can be as a conditioned marker. I teach this to all my students as a ‘backup’ marker to the clicker. The ‘good boy’ and ‘good girl’ does work but can sometimes be overused by others interacting with the dog & therefore, for training purposes may not be as directly effective as the YES verbal marker. Also, when a behavior is learned using the clicker & the backup marker YES, it makes it so much easier to drop the clicker because your YES marker has consistently been paired with the click.


  4. March 10, 2009 3:42 pm

    Thank you for the post and compliment! Have a dog gone great day. 😉

  5. January 27, 2012 1:55 am

    Very interesting. I love dogs, my dog Arthur love watching TV. So cute. Clicker training is very useful and really effective.

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