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Welcome to a New Year

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Something tells me it's going to be a big year for clicker training.

Nevertheless, there are plenty of doubters out there, especially in the dog performance world. You've probably heard them. "Well, clicker's fine for pets or tricks, but if you really need reliability, you've gotta get tough."

Toni Sargent's Australian Shepherd, Lacey

We operant trainers know that 100% clicker trained dogs are performing and earning high scores in obedience, agility, the conformation ring, police work, and even field trials, that bastion of the punishment crowd. There are some clicker OTCh dogs out there, too. We'd like to feature those dogs on this site. We want to be able to prove that clicker dogs can do everything—and do it better—so you can say, when a doubter speaks out, "Go look at Karen's clicker website and see for yourself."

Will you help us find out who the clicker performers are? Emma and Greg Parsons have created a new Honor Roll page so you can enter the achievements of your own clicker trained dog, or of other dogs and trainers that you know. We'll also spotlight one dog a month, chosen not necessarily for the magnitude of the win but for an unusual history or obstacles overcome. As we all know, many a dog that was never expected to shine, or was headed for the discard pile, has been transformed by clicker training.

You can even send pictures. For example, here's Toni Sargent's Australian Shepherd, Lacey, showing off a particular clicker skill that has made her #5 in the nation in her sport. On a verbal cue Lacey can take any obstacle correctly, at any angle, in any sequence, no matter where her handler is in relation to her or to the obstacle. Lacey's never confused, and she has no false cues to trip her up. A fully-trained clicker dog understands the job and takes responsibility for doing it right; that makes winning a whole lot more likely.

About the author
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Karen Pryor is the founder and CEO of Karen Pryor Clicker Training and Karen Pryor Academy. She is the author of many books, including Don't Shoot the Dog and Reaching the Animal Mind. Learn more about Karen Pryor or read Karen's Letters online.

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