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Raising the Great Family Dog

Congratulations on your new dog! Naturally, you want to raise a great family dog—one that can hang with the family at home, greet guests calmly, play nicely with all the other dogs and avoid the bullies, go to the lacrosse games without pulling you onto the field of play, and maybe even charm the mother-in-law into pet-sitting when you head out on vacation. Training your family dog using the clicker training approach is particularly family friendly. Here's why.

Is Clicker Training Right for Me?

Clicker training is for just about everyone. There's no better way to raise your dog—or any other animal—because clicker training delivers the potential for a relationship between you and your dog that is so much more than one of mere obedience. If you are after this "something more," then the small amount of time you'll invest in understanding this training approach will yield a payoff that's greater than anything you might have imagined. Most people have their own "something more." Do you?

Why Train Your Dog?

Regardless of a dog's breed, size, or age, he can benefit from good leadership, household rules, exercise, and training. Whether your training goal is to have a high-scoring obedience competitor or a dog that is a well-mannered family member, the fundamental ingredient for success is the same. The bond between you and the dog will pave the way to training success.

Operant Conditioning vs. Clicker Training

While some use the terms interchangeably, others distinguish between "operant conditioning" (OC) and "clicker training." What is the difference, and how does understanding that difference make us better clicker trainers?

Well-Trained Pets Are Just a Click Away

by Laura Mahoney

Originally published in the Times Picayune, December 16, 2004

Does your dog look at you cockeyed when you ask him to sit? Does your cat use your couch as a scratching post? If you answered yes, treat yourself to a clicker kit for Christmas.

Clicker training is all the rage, and it really works. For many years, clickers or whistles were used to train marine mammals. Punishment, our typical method for training others, is futile when working with giant animals that cannot be physically controlled.