Four Paws Training School - North Texas: "Making Good Dogs Better"
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Q: Do you use food with clicker training?
A: Yes - we use food, praise, and play as rewards for your dog.


Q: I really don’t like the idea of using food. Do I HAVE to?
A: No – you can use play or praise; but studies have shown that for dogs that are food motivated, it works faster than anything else during reward based training.


Q: Will I have to carry food around with me for the rest of my life?
A: No. We use a lot of food initially in training, but the food gets faded as we start to rely more on play and praise. Food will always be used occasionally, but your dog will never know when.


Q: Will I have to carry a clicker around with me for the rest of my life?
A: No – a clicker is only used to teach NEW behaviors. Once a dog knows the behavior, has it on cue (named) and is generalized (can do it anywhere), you no longer need the clicker for that behavior.


Q: If you’re using food, aren’t you just bribing the dog?
A: No – we are not bribing him. We are rewarding him AFTER he has done what we asked him to do.


Q: Do I HAVE to use a “clicker” when doing this type of training?
A: No. Some folks find handling a clicker and food a bit too cumbersome. If you really can’t do it, you can replace the “click” with a sound of your own, or a simple word such as “yes”. The reason I love the clicker so much is that is always sounds exactly the same, and the sound is very short. It communicates very well to the dog.


Q: I’ve always heard that you need to “dominate” your dog, to show him who’s boss. Is that right?
A: Personally - I don't think so. Dogs that work out of fear do not do so willingly or happily. Dogs that are clicker trained work in cooperation with their owner. It's a win-win relationship.


Q: I heard I need a release word for my dog. What is this used for?
A: A release word is used mainly with duration exercises (sit/stay, down/stay) to let him know when the exercise is finished.


Q: How is this training different from compulsion training used many years ago?
A: With compulsion training, if the dog was doing something good, like laying down and chewing on a bone, you would probably ignore him. If he made a “mistake” you would deliver a “correction”, usually in the form of a leash pop (jerk and release).

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