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"Clicker Trainers Use No Punishment" and Other Training Myths

Before starting this article, I polled the ClickerSolutions mailing list about the training myths—about both clicker and more traditional training—the members had heard. The responses poured in. It became obvious that misunderstandings, miscommunications, and half-truths abound, creating unnecessary walls between trainers. Let's debunk some of these myths.

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.

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.

Creating a Positive Partnership with Your Dog Trainer

Act on your positive decision

If you have welcomed a new dog into your home, or realized that an existing canine family member could use some behavior polish, deciding to work with a professional dog trainer may be one of this year's resolutions. Selecting someone to work with you and your beloved pet is a serious process, requiring research, testimonials and recommendations, and perhaps some observation of the leading candidates. Even when you have chosen the positive trainer that best fits your needs, outlook, and schedule, there is still work to be done. A little advance preparation will go a long way toward creating the smooth and easy partnership you are looking to form with your dog trainer.

The Eight Ways of Changing Behavior

Anything you do to get rid of behavior you don't want will fall into one of the following eight methods. The first four are the 'bad fairies,' the methods that have neither kindness nor special efficacy to recommend them. The second four are the 'good fairies,' the approaches that involve positive reinforcement and some understanding of behavior, and that are highly likely to work.