Teach It : Respond to a Clicker

Cue: [click-click]
Difficulty: easy

A clicker device can become a valuable tool in puppy training. In order to take advantage of this tool, you must first teach your puppy to respond to its sound. Do so by building the association between the clicker sound and the food reward. This is called “charging up the clicker”.


  1. A clicker is a handheld thumb-sized box with a metal tongue that makes a click-click sound when pressed. Clickers are widely available at pet stores. Use a flexible strap or rubber band to attach it to your wrist for easy access
  2. Put about twenty small treats in your pocket or your treat bag. Walk around casually near your puppy, but do not give any instruction to her. Occasionally, and at random intervals, click your clicker.
  3. After clicking, immediately give a treat to your puppy. Try to give the treat within two seconds of clicking, to help your puppy develop the association between the two events.

WHAT TO EXPECT: it doesn’t take long before that click cound makes your puppy’s head spin toward you-which indicates she has formed the association. Within a few minutes (and maybe twenty clicks), your puppy should be responding to the clicker, and will be ready to start tricks with this tool.

I’m not sure when to click
At this stage, the goal is merely to build the association between the click-click sound and the food treat. There is no wrong time to click. The important thing is give the treat immediately after each click.

TIP! Once puppy has learned to respond to a clicker, you can use this tool in training. There are three rules to using a clicker:

  1. Click to mark any behavior you wish encourage.
  2. Click the instant the correct behavior happens
  3. Each click is followed by a treat (no multiple clicks)

Source : Kyra Sundance

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