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It is always important to know how something works before you delve into the benefits and negatives.
Marion and Keller Breland tried to introduce clicker training in the 1940s and 1950s. As with any new concept, it was not until the early 1990s, when Karen Pryor began giving clicker training seminars to dog owners that the new training caught on.
Pryor, a leading advocate for effective force-free training (clicker training), states on her website:
Clicker training uses a distinct and consistent signal to mark a desired behavior in real time and then follows that signal with a motivating reward. Because animals understand precisely which action earned the click and their reward, they learn new behaviors quickly, easily, and enthusiastically.
Clicker training is touted to be great for the following reasons:
These reward-based training sounds a “click” immediately after the dog has shown the correct behavior, and the dog learns they will be rewarded with a treat. The treat is usually in the form of food, but it can also be anything your dog really loves (i.e. a tug of war, a game of fetch, etc.).
Let’s address the most common question that dog owners have concerning clicker training- Is my dog too old for clicker training?
The good news is that clicker training works well with dogs of all ages and breeds. Puppies love it, and even older dogs who have had traditional training take well to it. Since dogs are very much like people, with differing temperaments and personalities, it is good to know that a combination of both the traditional and clicker training can be used.
While a dog is learning a new behavior, you must be sure that you have your clicker handy and enough treats on hand. Once the behavior is learned, you will no longer need the clicker. But beware; your dog may still expect the treat. He may not be satisfied with just receiving your praise.
So, the bottom line is really that you need to use what works best for you, and your dog.