Clicker Training Pros Cons: Why Clicker Training Is Bad For Dogs
1) Clicker training is bad because it causes aggression.
The most common argument against clicker training dogs is that it leads to aggressive behavior. The problem with this argument is that there are many cases where the opposite happens.
In one case, a man was trying to train his dog to sit down. When the owner didn’t return home immediately after leaving work, the man went out looking for him.
Eventually he found him dead from a heart attack. The dog had been sitting patiently waiting for its master to come back home so that it could get some food or praise.
Another example is a woman who wanted her two children not only to do something but also to feel good about doing it. She started teaching them to play fetch.
After several attempts she finally succeeded in getting her kids to catch a ball. However, the mother soon realized that they were becoming very bored with the game and began to give up on it altogether. They stopped playing and became extremely irritable. One day they threw a small rock at their grandmother who was standing nearby watching them.
A third example is a man who wanted his dog to learn how to behave properly around other people and animals. So, he decided to teach it to perform the command “shake hands.” He taught his dog how to obey the command and that was that.
The problem with this story is that the owner’s son once got bitten by his dog when he tried to pet it. The dog had learned how to shake hands but didn’t know how to behave appropriately around people or other animals.
2) Clicker training doesn’t take into account the animal’s needs.
It is true that proper clicker training takes all things into consideration. The owner must learn how to get the animal’s attention, how to show it what it is that you want it to do and how to reward it when it gets the concept right.
This being said, clicker training is far from taking into account the needs of the animals involved in the training process. In fact, many animals thrive on the interaction with their owners. Dogs are no different in this regard.
Many pet owners are taught that they must establish themselves as the “alpha” in the relationship. This is supposed to ensure better behavior from your pets.
The problem is that this doesn’t take into account the needs of the animal at all, only the owner’s perception of what he or she perceives as best for it. In reality, this sort of training just makes the entire experience less enjoyable for both parties involved and usually ends up in the dog behaving poorly due to a loss of interest in its owner.
Clicker Training Dogs – What Is Needed For Success
When you think about it, animals don’t really need training at all. Sure, teaching them simple commands can help you out in various ways but you don’t really need to do this in most cases.
You can easily teach your dog to sit when you want it to sit, stay when you want it to stay and come when you want it to come. You just have to remember to use the same word each time and eventually the dog will associate that word with the action. However, this is a one-way street. You can make the dog understand what you want it to do but it can’t really tell you when it needs to go out or where it has hidden your slippers!
The problem is that many owners seem to forget that their dogs are not really sentient beings. They see them as almost being like children, albeit more attached to just one person and far less able to communicate with!
This leads people into having expectations of their dogs which can often be unfair. When a dog behaves in a way that the owner doesn’t like he is often seen as having “behaved badly.” This is a human concept which doesn’t take into account that the dog has neither the desire nor the means to behave in this way from the canine point of view.
Humans also seem to have an order of priority when it comes to their relationships with other things. Country, family, friends, partner and then dogs.
Obviously this is very much dependent on the individual but it is not uncommon to see dogs ranking low in the order of priority. People keep dogs because they like them, not because the dog likes them. Dogs are also kept as a status symbol or even a weapon to fend off intruders. These are things that the dog cannot be blamed for but the fact that owners do not consider their dog’s feelings, just as they do not consider their own, often means that dogs suffer in many ways.
Clicker Dog Training
You wouldn’t believe the transformation that you can achieve in your dog when you start using positive reinforcement for good behavior and clicker dog training. Your dog will soon learn that by doing what you want, it will be rewarded.
This is a really simple but effective way to improve all kinds of behaviors. A dog that is well trained and well behaved is a joy for everyone to be around.
There are many ways to do clicker dog training. You may have seen television shows where a trainer waves a metal rod and clicks it just before giving a treat to a dog.
This is actually the sound of a specially designed clicker but you can use anything that makes a sharp, precise sound such as an app on your phone or an automatic pen. It isn’t the sound that does the job though, it’s the timing. The instant the dog does what you want, you click and then give him a reward. After a few repetitions, the sound of the clicker alone will let the dog know that he has done what you want. You will soon find that the clicker is no longer necessary because its main purpose was to let the dog know exactly when it has performed the action that you like.
Training a Dog with a Clicker
Ideally, you need to start training a dog while it is still a puppy. If you have brought home a mature dog though, do not despair.
You can still train the dog using positive reinforcement but it is likely to take a little longer. Clicker dog training uses rewards rather than punishment to get the behaviors that you like. With punishment, you are forcing the dog to act in a certain way because if it doesn’t, it gets a smack for example. Using rewards, you offer the dog something that it wants when it does what you want.
For instance, most dogs like to eat. A reward that you can use then is food.
You can get a clicker and some small pieces of hot dog or some other kind of treat that the dog likes. All you need to do is to have the dog do something that you want it to do and then give it a treat. The clicking sound is what tells the dog that the action it just did is the one that earned it a treat.
Sources & references used in this article:
- Reaching the animal mind: clicker training and what it teaches us about all animals (K Pryor – 2009 – books.google.com)
- Can clicker training facilitate conditioning in dogs? (C Chiandetti, S Avella, E Fongaro, F Cerri – Applied Animal Behaviour …, 2016 – Elsevier)
- Robotic clicker training (F Kaplan, PY Oudeyer, E Kubinyi, A Miklósi – Robotics and Autonomous …, 2002 – Elsevier)
- Clicker training does not enhance learning in mixed-breed shelter puppies (Canis familiaris) (NR Dorey, A Blandina, MAR Udell – Journal of Veterinary Behavior, 2020 – Elsevier)
- Social learning in dog training: The effectiveness of the Do as I do method compared to shaping/clicker training (C Fugazza, Á Miklósi – Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 2015 – Elsevier)
- Assessment of clicker training for shelter cats (L Kogan, C Kolus, R Schoenfeld-Tacher – Animals, 2017 – mdpi.com)
- The thinking dog: Crossover to clicker training (GT Fisher – 2009 – books.google.com)
- Clicker increases resistance to extinction but does not decrease training time of a simple operant task in domestic dogs (Canis familiaris) (SM Smith, ES Davis – Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 2008 – Elsevier)
- Should old dog trainers learn new tricks? The efficiency of the Do as I do method and shaping/clicker training method to train dogs (C Fugazza, Á Miklósi – Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 2014 – Elsevier)