CLICKER TRAINING FOR DOGS, HORSES AND OTHER PETS, ZOO ANIMALS OR LIFE STOCK

Clicker training is a technique that uses the scientific method of positive reinforcement to teach animals new behaviours. Clicker training is highly effective without any negative fall-outs and fun for teacher and learner. It promotes cooperation and enthusiasms to work with people, rather than fear and behaviour suppression obtained with many “traditional” ways of training animals. Operant conditioning is the learning process in which our future behaviour is determined by the consequences of previous behaviour. In other words if I do something and my actions are immediately followed by something I like, I am more likely to repeat that behaviour. In scientific terminology, I have been positively reinforced for doing that behaviour.

In clicker training we use a marker signal to identify a specific behavior, which we then reinforce. The name "clicker training" refers to the most commonly used marker signal, which is a hand held clicker. We pair the click with a primary reinforcer, in other words something the animals wants, usually food. Clicker training is a powerful training method that works for all species and that can be applied in many different ways. With clicker training you can teach an animal virtually any behaviour, as long as he is physically and mentally capable of performing it.

Employing positive reinforcement does not mean that there are no household rules, that your animals can do whatever they like, that you constantly have to feed them or that you have to run around with treats in your pocket for the rest of your life, it simply helps us to establish a positive framework that allows for fun, lots of action, curiosity and a fast, efficient and permanent learning process.

CLICKER TRAINING FOR DOGS

Clicker training for dogs is widely popular and highly efficient. We can use the clicker to teach our companions the very basics like sit, down, stay and walk on a loose leash, but the method truly shines when teaching more complicated behaviours. The method is extremely useful for agility training, scent work, search & rescue, trick training, police dogs, reactive or fearful dogs…

Clicker training will be an excellent choice for you and your dog if:

•   you want to teach the basics like Sit, Down, Stay, Come, Walk on a Loose Leash
•   you want to change behaviours that are not acceptable to you like jumping up, mouthing,
•   you want to improve your dogs performance during competitions be that agility, obedience or showing
•   you are working on changing your dogs behaviour towards certain stimuli as part of a behaviour modification program
•   you want to have fun with your dog and teach him a few cute party tricks
•   you want to prepare your dog for a career as a therapy dog or film star
•   your dog is a working dog and you want to improve his performance e.g. during search & rescue work,
•   your dog had an injury or operation and needs to be on cage rest for an extended period of time to keep him entertained and avoid a      build-up of frustation

CLICKER TRAINING FOR HORSES


Clicker training has been adapted for horses only fairly recently, but is growing fast and has been successfully used by riders of all levels and disciplines.

Clicker training will be an excellent choice for you and your horse if:

•   you want to teach your horse some useful behaviours like standing still while mounting, presenting a certain body part while you     administer medication, or picking up your riding crop if you drop it
•   you want to speed up your horses learning by combining traditional methods (moving away from pressure) with the clicker
•   your horse has difficulties loading into a trailer
•   your horse is very spooky and fearful of new objects and situations
•   your horse cannot be ridden due to an injury, pregnancy, foal at foot or old age and you want to give him something to do to avoid      frustration & depression
•   you want to build enthusiasm for working with humans
•   you want to teach your horse some fun party tricks like playing soccer, counting, bowing, lying down or smiling
•   you want to teach your horse better self-control

CLICKER TRAINING FOR OTHER PETS, ZOO ANIMALS OR LIFE STOCK

One of the great things about clicker training is that it is very flexible and that it works for all species. It is nowadays a standard practice in most big zoos to make handling and medical procedures pleasurable instead of stressful and is also a highly important tool to mentally stimulate wild animals in captivity.

Clicker training will be an excellent choice for you and your bird, cat, iguana, rabbit, llama, pig, rat, guinea pig, tiger… if:

•   you want to make basic handling safe and rewarding
•   you want to provide mental stimulation
•   you want to teach your pet some fun party tricks
•   you want to teach the animal to move from one (part of the) enclosure to another
•   you want to teach the animal to present a certain body part for a medical examination