Clicker Traning, or operant conditioning, is based on the concept that the consequences of a behaviour (the event that immediately follows it) determine whether or not that behaviour is repeated.
For example if I ask you to come here and then I slap you in the face, are you likely to repeat the behaviour? What if I ask you to come up here and give you $5? The same concept applies to dogs. Ask the dog to do something, and then yell at it, it is less likely to come next time you call. However, if you reward the dog using praise or by feeding it, it is more likely to come next time.
Clicker training is the use of positive reinforcement to teach your dog desirable behaviours. We use a “clicker” primarily because it is unemotional – it rewards the dog in the same way everytime, without letting frustration colour its tone.
Clicker Training or, more correctly, operant conditioning, is found in many areas of animal training. The most common of these is Dolphin Training. Can you imagine trying to “compel” a Dolphin to jump out of the water and touch a ball? I can’t!
If you doubt the effectiveness of Clicker Training – there is an open invitation to visit TDTC on any training day, look at the classes and talk to instructors and members about their experiences.