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Teach Your Dog to Click

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Why should you do all the clicking? Teach your dog, cat, or bird to click your behavior!

Why do I have to do all the clicking? Why not teach Tucker, my lab puppy, to click me and my good behavior?

With the i-click, this trick is easy, because the shape of the i-click makes it physically possible for your dog to click you! All you have to do is shape the behavior!

  • Put the i-click in front of your dog or cat. I found the down position easiest but do whatever is most comfortable for your pet. Standing is certainly fine. Substitute "beak" for "paw" if you're using a bird.
  • For an easier time, start with the clicker upside down (with the button facing the floor); it's a bit more challenging (go for it!) with the clicker right side up because the paw movement must be more exact.
  • Keep another i-click in your hand.
  • Click and reward him for paw movements towards the clicker and increasingly for touching it. (Do not let him eat it!) Remember to take the clicker away after each try and then place it back in front of him for a new round.
  • Now put your clicker to one side so that you won't click. Soon he'll bang the i-click and CLICK! Reward him! Repeat.
  • Next, add a cue. Something you do that will earn you a click from your pet.
    • Put the clicker in front of him. Say, "You are so handsome!"
    • When he gives you a click, reward him! And say "thank you"!
    • Repeat in new places.
    • Extra credit: put the i-click in front, use your "wait" cue, then give your "go ahead" cue.

Now, when your friends come over, you can show them how your dog has trained you to give him compliments!

Tucker just went right for it—he got clicked for hitting the i-click about three times in a row. Then, I raised the criteria by not clicking him for just hitting it but for making it click. Then, just as the theory predicts, he increased his intensity and made it click! Bingo. Treat. The expression on his face was quite funny, as if to say "Wow! That was really easy!" He loves doing it. He is always in control of getting clicked (it's his behavior after all).

But I can almost hear Tucker thinking, "What's next? I have the clicker… how about giving me direct control of the rewards, too?"

Let us know if you've also taught this to a dog or cat and tucker [at] clickertraining [dot] com (send) pictures and video!

About the author
User picture

Aaron Clayton is President of Karen Pryor Clicker Training and TAGteach International, and a member of the ClickerExpo Faculty.

trainer@caninesinaction.com's picture

my dog clicks contingently :-)

Shakespeare discovered this himself, when I dropped a clicker and sent him to retrieve it. He now will happily run to a clicker and bring it back, clicking himself only upon arrival. It's hilariously funny. I'll have to catch it on video....

Laura &

  • Ascomannis Laevatein YTT RL1 (blog: www.CaninesInAction.blogspot.com)
  • Inky (couch potato!)


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