I am going to be posting up some more information on clicker training the retrieve.
But before I do, I want to show you how to ‘charge up a clicker’.
When you first start clicker training with a new dog, the click of the clicker is meaningless to him, and we need to change that.
We will do this by carrying out a couple of clicker ‘charging sessions’
Clicker charging sessions
For each session you need a bag or bowl containing some small and tasty treats. Make sure these are out of reach of the dog.[wp_ad_camp_1]What we are going to do is operate the clicker ten times or more and follow each click immediately with a nice treat.
We are going to do this over and over again, until the clicker is charged.
This usually takes just a couple of five or ten minute sessions.
You will know that the clicker is fully charged when your dog passes this test.
The charging test
Wait until your dog is completely relaxed and ignoring you. He should be awake and not busy with anything important like playing with your kids or eating his dinner. He must not know that you have the clicker in your hand. At least an hour should have passed since your last ‘charging session’.
Now click once and watch for his reaction.
If, on hearing the click, the dog immediately focuses all his attention on you and is clearly anticipating a yummy treat, then the clicker is charged. For this dog.
Don’t forget to give him his treat.
Click and treat
The click must always be paired with a treat. We call this C&T.
And that’s it. Now you are ready to begin clicker training! All you need to clicker train is your clicker, a dog and some treats.
You can find out more about clicker training in What is Clicker Training? And you might also enjoy Can gundogs be clicker trained?
If you are not sure what to use for treats, always go for cooked meat. Dogs love it. My dogs love little cubes of cheese. What is your dog’s favourite training treat?
If you enjoy my articles, you might like my new book: The Happy Puppy Handbook – a definitive guide to early puppy care and training.
Jim Wood says
Hi Pippa, I started “charging the clicker” with my 2yr old Australian Cattle Dog X Bull Arab girl this afternoon. On the first click she ducked out of sight and I needed to entice her out for the treat, a small piece of BBQ steak. She remained hidden but I persevered for the ten pieces I had prepared and her reaction was the same to each click. Distrust and avoidance of the click and probably some fear. I let her see and smell the clicker in the hope this would reassure her but it did not help. Should I continue with this training? Regards, Jim.
Hi Jim, you need to soften the sound of the clicker using some tape or blue tack. Or you could use a clicky biro, or just stick to a verbal marker – the word YES! will work if you are consistent with the tone and volume.
Hi Marion, when your dog is reliable at any given level, fade out rewards so that they are offered intermittently and increasingly rarely. Don’t fade them out completely. Reintroduce continuous rewards whenever you make an exercise more demanding, eg if you add increased distance, or duration, or add distractions.
marion gibbins says
Thank you for your quick reply ,she could already sit on command so am now onto down and trying on the 100 % recall but ofcourse at just 4 months there are far more intesting things than me out there!!Just one more quick question whendo you start phasing out the [email protected] ,
marion gibbins says
I am going to try this method of training ,is it OK if just I do this or does my husband who occassionally takes them for walks have to be trained in this methos also?
Hi Marion, it is fine for just one of you to do some clicker training with your dog.