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Clicker Training Can Help Your Pet

Jul 31, 2017 08:34PM ● Published by North Hills Monthly magazine

Clicker training is a way to train an animal using friendly, conditioned reinforcement. The clicking sound indicates which precise behavior is correct, and it’s not just for dogs! You can clicker train your cats and rabbits as well.

The method is really quite simple. As soon as your pet does something that you like, click and follow the sound with a treat. Start with something easy that your pet is likely to do on his own. Then as he or she catches on, slowly decrease the number of treats so that you can eventually build up to just using the click as the reward.

The clicker catches or marks the exact behavior that you like. By conditioning your pet to the click with treats, your pet interprets the click as, “That’s it! You did the right thing!” So your pet will start to form a mental picture of what he was doing at the exact time when he heard the click for future reference.

More than likely, if your pet has that picture stored in his mind, he will attempt the behavior again and again. Therefore, with the clicker, it becomes simple to catch a certain behavior that your pet does naturally, and praise him for it.

Clicker training can be useful in a variety of situations–housetraining a puppy, desensitizing a rabbit to get its nails trimmed or even to help to socialize your shy kitty. It also provides much-needed enrichment for your pet and another experience for further bonding.

It just takes a little time and patience to see progress. As you’re training your pet, you may want to consider using a clicker–it truly is a valuable tool that helps bridge the communication gap between people and their beloved animal friends. To learn more, visit www.ThinkingOutsideTheCage.org.


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