Basic Tutorial For Beginners: How To Be An Effective Clicker Trainer?

Basic Tutorial For Beginners: How To Be An Effective Clicker Trainer?

Today I have another video by Donna Hill. This is the 2nd video by Donna that I have featured in this site so far. Here is the 1st one:

Donna specializes in clicker training for dogs. Her video teaches the beginning steps all the way to higher levels of dog training in a fun and positive way for you and your kids.

I would also be publishing more of her informative videos in later posts so stay tuned.

And don’t forget to follow Donna on

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Summary of the video:

This video is part of the tutorial for beginners, on the way to becoming an effective clicker trainer.

In this video Donna uses ‘Eye contact’ or “Watch me” as the training criteria. This is a fabulous force free way to train dogs and other pets! Applies to humans too (although we call it TAG Teaching -Teaching with Acoustic Guidance – but it is still a marker-based training approach!)

Here is the overview of the basic things you must do while clicker training your dog:

  • Capture eye contact
  • Training sessions: 10 reps or 30 seconds
  • Clean, uncluttered area to help dog learn faster.
  • The actual Training Session:
  1. Preparations: Treats are cut and counted and clicker in the hand before getting started.

  2. Still body and mouth: Verbal coaching and body movements distract the dog. So keep still and no distracting noise.

  3. One click, one treat: A click should be paired with a treat so that the click can maintain its value.

  4. Reach for the treat after you click: If you reach for the treat before or as you click, the dog will think that the hand movement is the marker.

  5. All done signal: Lets the dog know the training session is over.

  6. Position of the treat hand: When you hold the treat in front of the dog, the dog will look at the treat instead of your eyes. So, hide the treat hand at your back.

  7. Clearly defined criteria: In the video, Donna’s criteria are ‘direct eye contact’ and ‘watch me’. What you are clicking for – the criteria, needs to be decided before the training session.

  8. Soft small treats: Dogs can swallow small treats quickly so that they are ready for another round of training quickly. Dried treats take a while to go down.

  9. Short sessions: Keeping sessions short is fun for the dog. Also give them down time between training sessions. 10-15 reps at 4-5 sessions at a time give 40-50 reps per dog.

  10. Rate of reinforcement: Clicks and treats must happen in rapid successions.

These are just the outlines. For more on what behaviors to start with, what to eliminate and a whole lots more, watch the video:

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