ClickerSolutions Training Articles

Overcoming Fear of the Clicker

Here's a method that has worked well with several of my students' clicker-shy dogs.

  1. At your dog's regular meal time, prepare his meal and put your clicker and six STUPENDOUS treats (pieces of raw meat or other "people food") in your pocket.
  2. Put the dog's bowl down. As soon as he begins to eat, leave the room, go to the other end of the house (the room farthest away from where he's eating) and click once. Return and drop a wonderful treat in his bowl (say nothing; just enter, deposit the treat, and leave again). Go to the far end of the house again, click once, and return with a treat. Repeat until you run out of treats or until the dog finishes his meal.
  3. Repeat at each meal, staying *slightly* closer to the dog each time (about half a room per meal) until you're able to stand in the kitchen, clicking and dropping treats into his bowl while he's eating. By the time you get to this point, your dog should be well and truly convinced that the sound of the clicker means Great Things For Dogs. When your dog begins to look up eagerly every time you click, he's ready for you to use the clicker in training.

Ellen Van Landingham
copyright 2002 Ellen Van Landingham


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