WHAT IS CLICKER TRAINING?
Clicker training is a type of positive reinforcement, or reward-based training which includes the use of a marker signal. A marker signal is a signal given to an animal at a precise moment in time to pinpoint exactly which behavior, or part of a behavior will be rewarded. The signal bridges the gap between completion of the desired behavior and delivery of the reward so that the animal knows which specific behavior is being rewarded.
Differences Between Clicker Training and Other Types of Training - It is unique in that it is the most science based form of animal training. The differences include -
1) the use of cues rather than commands,
2) the absence of correction,
3) minimization of body movement and vocalization during,
4) the use of verbal cues rather than hand signals in initial training,
5) the use of rewards with minimization of food luring,
6) the use of capturing and shaping,
7) teaching the name of the behavior after the behavior is learned,
8) using a high reinforcement rate in the initial stages of training.
Uses of Clicker Training - It is a precise and sophisticated, yet simple and versatile way to train animals of virtually any species, not just dogs. It has been used successfully to train
marine mammals, cats, horses, sheep, rats, rabbits, birds and even fish! Guide Dogs for the Blind in California uses clicker training to train service dogs, and clicker training is being used to facilitate animal care and feeding in zoos
Advantages of Clicker Training - Clicker training is fast and effective with long-lasting
results. Animals that have been taught with clicker training have an obvious zest for learning and since they have "learned to learn," acquire new skills very quickly.
There is no potential for harm as in other forms of training that incorporate the use of aversive stimuli or dominance manoeuvres, and even with user-error and improficiency, animals learn! Clicker training is a highly effective system of animal training that fosters two way
communication between animal and trainer and deepens the human-animal bond. Its
usefulness is only limited by the physical ability of the animal being trained and the skill and imagination of the trainer!
Author - Cindy Ludwig, Canine Connection LLC (excerpt taken from the original)