Karen Pryor Clicker Training Library

Beyond Clicking and Treating: The Power of Choice

If you’re on this website, and reading this article, you are probably interested in clicker training—and for good reason. The clicker is a wonderful tool. It lets us communicate more clearly with other species (as well as with our own, in some cases). It helps us focus on the behavior we want to see. It also enables the training of behaviors that would be extremely difficult, or even impossible, to train in any other way.

How to Put an End to Counter-Surfing

Many dog owners complain that their dogs steal food from kitchen counters or even the dinner table. A new term was even coined to describe this behavior: counter-surfing. If you're tired of losing your dinner to a sneaky pooch every time you turn your back, here's what you can do about it.

My Dog is Aging—Now What? More Training, Of Course!

A click for all ages

As your dog moves into her senior years you’ll probably notice some subtle changes—she groans a bit when changing positions, hesitates briefly when a

How to Keep Your Dog Calm When the Doorbell Rings

Are you Suburban Woman, loving but exasperated owner of Fido and Fifi? Does your home seem like the 5th at Santa Anita every time the doorbell rings? Wouldn't it be wonderful if your dog actually moved away from the door when the doorbell rang rather than crowd you for a position to greet, or "eat", the people on the other side? Wouldn't you love to have a dog that sits, lies down, or even runs to another room when the doorbell rings-instead of all the embarrassing things your dog currently does?

Continuing the Clicker Legacy: A Conversation with Ken Ramirez

“Animals deserve the best care that we can possibly provide.” That is the philosophy of 35-year animal training veteran and creative teacher and consultant, Ken Ramirez. Having worked with a dizzying number of species, including overseeing the care and training of more than 1500 species at Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium, Ken has developed a reputation for his ability to train any animal to do anything.

A Tribute to Listo—and Michele

A busy and talented clicker friend

On My Mind: A Fresh Start

Happy fall—a time for change and new ventures

Five Questions to Ask Before Starting a Dog Training Business

Odds against a dream come true

Every year I meet a lot of people who dream of starting a dog training business.

On My Mind: Too Many Butterflies

From about age nine through thirteen I collected and studied butterflies. My interest was intense; I might well have grown up to be an entomologist.

How to Teach Canine Nail Trims with a Team Approach

On My Mind: How to Write a Scientific Paper

Publish: the process and the peers

Reducing Leash Reactivity: The Engage-Disengage Game

Sound familiar? The 4 Fs of fear

On My Mind: Sparks Flying at SPARCS Conference

From June 20-22, 2014, I went to a new kind of dog conference held here in New England: SPARCS 2014.

To Crate or Not To Crate?

A bonus, not a penalty

Many people refuse to crate or kennel-train their dogs because they feel the confinement is cruel. However, a crate or kennel can give dogs a sense of security. Crate training done properly is also a highly effective management system that can be a lifesaver for dog owners. Like any training method, crating can be abused, but using a crate for appropriate time periods is helpful with a variety of important goals, including house training, preventing destructive behavior, and teaching a dog to settle and relax.

How to Teach Your Pet to Target

Picture the possibilities

Imagine teaching your dog to put his hind feet—just his hind feet—on a mat. Or, imagine teaching your cat to give a high-five.

Confessions of an iPhone Addict: TAGteach and the Power of Choice

Communication addiction

My name is Emelie, and I’m an iPhonaholic.

An Introduction to Emma Parsons’ New Book: Teaching the Reactive Dog Class

Editor’s note: One of the most common, yet also most challenging, behavior problems that dog trainers are asked to address is reactivity.

Loose-Leash Walking: Part Two

Moving on

On My Mind: Adventures in Panama

What’s your escape?

Loose-Leash Walking: Part One

Age-old issue

Walking is a natural behavior for dogs, so what is the big deal about teaching them to walk nicely on a leash? It shouldn’t be that hard, should it?

Yet dog trainers all over the world always have clients with this problem (almost single-handedly guaranteeing the trainers’ job security!). Leash-pulling is a problem that even some of the best trainers are unable to solve for their clients, despite the latest and greatest “no-pull” equipment that offers a helping hand.

How to Use an Agility Table for Fun or Sport

Table tribute

On My Mind: ClickerExpo in Norfolk, Virginia—This Friday!

I can hardly wait! Let me tell you a bit about what to expect:

New themes

Rally-FrEe: A Fun New Sport

Intriguing mix of learning and fun

Have you ever wished that you and your dog had as much fun competing in the ring as in training? Or, have you ever wished that your dog could cut loose and perform favorite tricks right in the middle of a competition, instead of repeating the same old exercises? A new dog sport where foundation training supports many of the other activities you do with your dog could be the answer. Try Rally-FrEe! (It's pronounced "rally free!")

Therapy Dog Training: Becoming a Therapeutic Team

Molly plays to her strength

I teach therapy dog training classes, but that's a bit of a misnomer. The classes are not dog training classes in the traditional sense. They are really all about relationship-building, developing partnerships that will enhance the well-being of others.

Consider the following:

Molly trots down the hallway between me and a student. Intermittently, she glances up at me and toward the student who holds her leash. Molly and I are in the process of teaching a high school student with autism how to use a visual schedule (pictures listing a series of activities). Nearing the end of the hallway, we enter the classroom.