Should You Train Your Dog With A Clicker?

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Key Takeaways

  • Clicker training is a positive reinforcement method based on marking and rewarding desired behaviors.
  • Using a clicker can be a compelling, engaging, and versatile way to train your dog.
  • A properly executed clicker training program can significantly enhance communication between you and your dog, leading to an enjoyable and fulfilling training experience.

As a dog parent, you're likely always looking to improve communication with your beloved companion. One option is to train with a click, but should you?

You should use a clicker to train your dog for faster results. Using a clicker and a marker work is an excellent way to teach your dog basic obedience commands like sit, stay, down, heel, and come. Pair clicker training with positive reinforcement to see the fastest results for your puppy.

This guide explores what clicker training involves, its benefits, potential challenges, and critical factors to consider when deciding whether to introduce this method into your dog's training regimen. I’ll share tips and insights into what worked for me when using clicker training with my dog.

In this article

Should You Train Your Dog With A Clicker?

Yes, you can use a clicker to see faster dog training results. Clicker training is highly effective because it provides clear and immediate feedback to the dog. The click acts as a precise signal to indicate that the dog has performed the desired behavior correctly.

This helps to eliminate confusion and allows for more accurate communication between the trainer and the dog. The timing of the click is crucial, as it must be delivered at the exact moment when the desired behavior occurs for the dog to make the proper association.

In addition to improving communication between trainer and dog, introducing clicker training also helps build a bond by making training sessions enjoyable for both parties involved.

Since dogs associate the clicker's sound with positive reinforcement, they become more eager and motivated to learn new behaviors. This creates a positive learning environment and strengthens the trust and relationship between trainer and dog.

When starting with clicker training, begin by teaching simple behaviors before moving on to more complex tasks. This will help your dog understand how the clicker works and build confidence in learning new behaviors. Successful clicker training requires consistency.

How Does Clicker Training Help?

Clicker training is a marker training method that utilizes a click sound as a marker to communicate with dogs during training. This form of training helps by providing precise and immediate feedback to the dog, allowing them to understand when they have performed a desired behavior.

By pairing the click with a reward, such as treats or praise, dogs learn to associate the click with positive reinforcement. This helps facilitate learning and can improve the speed and effectiveness of the training session.

With clicker training, dog owners can effectively teach their pets new behaviors and commands. The click is a precise signal that tells the dog exactly what it did right, which helps shape its behavior.

This form of communication eliminates any confusion or ambiguity for the dog, ensuring that they understand precisely what is expected of them. Additionally, clicker training also helps build trust and strengthen the bond between dogs and their owners.

What Commands To Teach Your Dog During Clicker Training

Here's a basic overview of how to teach each of the primary dog commands using clicker training. Use a marker word and pair these commands with positive reinforcement training for the best results.


Hold a treat close to your dog's nose. Move your hand up, allowing their head to follow the treat and causing their bottom to lower. Once they're in a sitting position, immediately click your clicker and give them the treat.

Repeat this sequence a few times every day until your dog sits and masters it. Then, start saying "sit" before guiding them into position. Clicker training began to make more sense to me when I saw how quickly my dog learned.


Ask your dog to sit. Open the palm of your hand in front of you, and say, "Stay." Take a few steps back. If your dog stays, click your clicker and offer a treat. As your dog gets better at this, you can gradually increase the number of steps you take before clicking and treating.


This can be a bit trickier as it's a negative command. Try teaching an alternative behavior instead, like "leave it." Place a less desirable treat in your closed fist, and present your fist to your dog.

Let them try to get to it — sniff, lick, etc. Once they withdraw, click and offer a higher-value treat from the other hand. Always keep the dog clicker handy during these sessions and use a verbal marker for this command.


Hold a good-smelling treat in your closed fist, and hold your hand up to your dog's snout. When they sniff it, move your hand to the floor so they follow. Then slide your hand along the ground in front of them to encourage their body to follow their head. Once they're in the down position, click and treat.


This command is handy for keeping your dog close during walks. Start with your dog to your left side. Say “Heel” and start walking.

When your dog comes up beside you or looks at you, click and treat. Keep practicing and gradually increase the time between treats.


This command can help keep a dog out of trouble or bring them back to you if they slip out of its leash. To train it, say "come" when they’re a little distance from you. If they come to you, click and treat. You can also use a long lead to gently guide them to come to you.

Is It Easier To Train a Dog With a Clicker?

Yes, in many cases, it is easier to train a dog using a clicker. The clicker makes a distinct sound that tells your dog exactly when they're doing the right thing.

This precise communication makes it easier for your dog to understand what behavior is being rewarded, which can accelerate learning. The sound of a click is always the same, so it's not affected by variations in human tone of voice or emotion.

Clicker training is based on positive reinforcement, a powerful tool for shaping behavior. Clicker-trained dogs tend to repeat rewarded behaviors, so pairing a click with a reward (like a treat) makes it more likely your dog will repeat the behavior.

Using a click also makes owners more respected dog trainers. This can make your training sessions more effective and can strengthen the bond between you and your dog.

How Long Does Clicker Training Take?

The time it takes to clicker train a dog depends on several factors, including the individual dog's temperament, the complexity of the behavior being taught, the consistency of the training, and the skill of the trainer.

A dog can understand the connection between the clicker sound and the reward in as little as one or two training sessions, which might be 5-15 minutes each.

For basic commands like sit, stay, come, or lie down, a dog might learn these in a few days to a few weeks with regular, short (5-15 minute) training sessions. More complex behaviors like rolling over, shaking hands, or fetching might take a few weeks to a couple of months to fully train.

Training a dog to perform a series of behaviors in a sequence can take several months or more. If you're using a clicker to help modify a dog's behavior, this can take a few months to a year or more, depending on the severity and innate nature of the behavior.