Clicker training: Some dog owners prefer training their dogs with a clicker, some would never think about using one. What are the advantages and disadvantages of using a clicker during training?
Why do people use a clicker?
A clicker is often used by dog owners to pinpoint the moment their dog does something they like. Their opinion on this matter is that by clicking, they will not miss out or be too late to reward. Clicker training is always started by letting your dog know a click is followed by a reward. So often this means only clicking and rewarding for the first session.
The clicker actually replaces the marker word like 'good boy' or 'yes'.
What are the pros to clicker training?
Well, it's as fast as you can click. So this means that some people will be faster to let their dog know they did right when compared to if they would want to grab a treat first. This has the advantage that it's easier to pinpoint the exact moment when your dog shows the behaviour you're asking for.
Since clicker training is reward-based, it will keep you and your dog in a positive mindset throughout the training session.
What are the cons to clicker training?
For one, you are bound to your clicker. When forgetting yours, it might be harder to reward your dog.
The bigger con is however you are unable to use intonation with a clicker. When rewarding with your voice, you can tell your dog how well he has done. By a simple 'good boy' he will know he did fine, but when you change that to a 'AWESOME! YOU'RE THE BEST', it will give more fulfillment to your dog. So your voice is able to give much more feedback than just a 'click' from the clicker.
Whether or not you use a clicker is entirely up to you. You are able to get awesome results with or without a clicker. The biggest recommendation is to stay positive and patient and use a reward-based training method.