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Teaching Dog Tricks with or without a Clicker

Part of the Dog Tricks & Agility For Dummies Cheat Sheet

As you teach your dog each step of a new trick, you can mark the right behavior in at least two ways. Try the following options:

  • Use a clicker. A clicker emits a sharp, clicking sound, distinct from all other sounds in your dog’s day. The click is always followed by a food or toy reward.

  • Say “Yes!” You can also target the right behavior by saying a word like “Yes” enthusiastically. Whenever your dog responds properly to your direction, say “Yes!” and reward her with food, toys, oraffection.

Here are three quick tips on how to target the right behavior:

  • Timing is everything. Think of photographing the perfect image — click or say “Yes” the second your dog gets it right.

  • When using a clicker, pair each click with a reward — food or a toy. Marry the sound with the reward — never the two shall part!

  • When using food, it’s the quality not the quantity that counts. A tiny delectable goody will result in a quick and eager performance every time!

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