Life is frequently all about the timing.
Clicker training is also all about the timing. You get what you click. However, anyone who has started using a clicker knows it’s can be a challenge to get all the mechanics right.
It seems pretty simple, a little plastic machine that clicks when you push a button. It’s not rocket science right? True, but put a leash attached to a dog, treats and a clicker in your hands and then try to click the exact second a dog’s but hits the ground in a sit, deliver the treat and things can get messy!
The good news is it gets easier with practice and the right equipment helps a lot.
I see a lot of first time clicker trainers come to class carrying a plastic baggy of treats. One problem with that is you move around a lot in dog training and your treats need to move with you. What do you do when you click your dog, but your treats are way over there in a baggy? Remember clicker training is about timing, so you lose precious seconds getting to your treats.
So vital piece of equipment #1: Some sort of treat pouch. The object is to to get those treats onto your body with quick and quiet access to them. You’ve heard a good trainer has quiet face, quiet body and quiet hands? Add a quiet treat pouch to that too.
Pockets are a natural choice, although you know you’re a true dog person when you get out last years coat and instead of a dollar in the pocket you find a clicker and treat crumbs. Some people use waist packs, I even saw one woman wearing her kitchen apron!
Vital equipment #2: Some sort of wrist coil for your clicker. If you’re fishing around in your pocket for your clicker your timing is gone. But it’s a challenge to manage all the equipment in two hands. The solution? Put your clicker on your wrist. I actually prefer to use the kind of elastic band you use for pony tails. It’s thin and fits in my palm better. There are many kinds of wrist coils out there and anything that allows you to drop your clicker to free up your hand but still have quick access to it works great.
(A side note, I once saw someone who had their clicker around their neck on a lanyard. Seemed like a good idea, except when they bent over they clicker swung out and was close to the dogs ear every time they clicked. Please don’t deafen your dog by clicking close to its head.)
The next step to successfully getting what you click is your timing. Check back later this week to see some clever clicker games and some examples of why timing is so critical.
Until then why not leave us a tip on your favorite piece of training equipment?