You may have heard that clicker training helps dogs learn new commands and tricks faster.
But what is clicker training exactly?
And how does it work to make training more efficiently?
Most important of all, how do you train your Yorkie using a clicker effectively?
We will cover all of that and more below.
But first, if you need a training clicker, this is one we strongly recommend.
However, don’t buy it just yet. First, read the rest of this article, so you understand exactly how to train your Yorkshire terrier with a clicker. That will help you decide if this method is right for you.
If you feel that it could work well for you and your pup, then go ahead and buy your clicker (and tons of tasty treats, too!).
How To Train A Yorkie With A Clicker
In order to successfully train your Yorkie with a clicker, you only need two things (apart from your Yorkie): a clicker and a good amount of treats. And patience. That is always a requirement when training a Yorkie.
Step 1: Loading The Clicker
If you have never used a training clicker before, you need to “load” the clicker, before you start carrying out commands. This just means training your pup to understand the meaning of the clicker.
Clickers work by pushing down on them to create a two-toned click. It’s important to get the timing just right with your clicker.
You need to click it at the exact moment your dog performs the action you want. For example, if you want your dog to give you paw, you need to click the second its paw touches your hand.
But before you get to that point, you need to make sure your dog understands that the clicker is a reward for doing something good. This is called loading the clicker. To achieve that, you’ll want to start by clicking once and giving your Yorkie a treat.
Repeat this process a bunch of times, so that your dog associates the sound of the clicker with getting a reward. In other words, it knows the clicker is a good thing.
You want to make sure you have plenty of treats on hand. This is a repetitive process and you’re going to need to give your Yorkie a treat after each click. You may want to think about picking up some low calorie Yorkie treats so that your dog isn’t overeating!
Step 2: Training With The Clicker
As a newbie to clicker training, I would suggest starting with simple commands such as ‘sit’. Your Yorkie will find it easier to pick up on simple commands. It will be able to pick up more easily on what it needs to do, making it easier for you to learn how to properly use the clicker to train your pup.
Once you have successfully trained your Yorkie with the clicker to follow basic commands, you can move on to more complex tricks, such as ‘roll over’.
To use the clicker correctly, say the command. When your Yorkie obliges, press down on the clicker. Then give it a treat.
Keep repeating this process. Repetition is the only way your Yorkie will pick up on the training.
Yorkies are a smart breed of dog and can usually pick up on commands pretty quickly. Keep giving your Yorkie treats and clicks, as a way to let it know it is being a good dog.
This form of training will let it know what action equals a treat. Earning rewards will make it more inclined to want to learn.
Clickers are a great way to communicate with your Yorkie when it comes to commands and training. However, to make sure the training goes smoothly, you need to make sure you are only clicking the clicker once with each command.
Otherwise, your Yorkie may become confused, or even think that it is entitled to more than one treat. It may also become resistant to carrying out future commands, if it thinks it is not getting all of the treats it is owed!
Is Using A Clicker Good For Dog Training?
A clicker may not be essential when it comes to training your dog, but there’s no denying it’s a great tool to use for some extra encouragement. It can help make training more efficient, since you dog associates the noise of the clicker with having done something good.
It’s a great form of communication that really helps your dog grasp what it is that you want it to do. It is most effective when you use the clicker the moment your dog does the thing you want it to do.
But it does not mean training is suddenly no longer hard work. It still requires plenty of practice and patience. And lots of treats!
But once your dog gets the hang of it, you can teach it new commands and tricks much more quickly, even more complex commands.
How Long Do You Use A Clicker For Dog Training?
Clicker training isn’t something you can do quickly. It may take a while for your dog to come to terms with this form of training, so you need to be in it for the long haul.
It will take some time for your dog to understand what the clicker means. And during that time, you can not use the clicker to teach your dog any commands. It is important that your Yorkie associates the clicker with a treat, before it will understand that the clicker indicates good behavior.
Yorkies have a short attention span, so you need to teach your dog in short bursts. That way it won’t lose attention and will stay focused on learning.
In general, you’ll want to keep training sessions to a maximum of 10 to 15 minutes. How many of these sessions you will need until your dog learns a new command (or learns what the clicker means in the first place) will depend on your dog.
Some dogs pick new commands up much quicker than others. On average, you may be looking at a few weeks of training each day, for your dog to learn a trick or command.
Does A Clicker Replace Treats?
Clicker training is not meant to replace treats. The purpose of the clicker is to tell your dog it has done something right and that it is going to receive a reward for this.
If you don’t follow the clicker with a treat then your dog may lose interest and the training process will not be as effective. The clicker lets you mark the exact instance your dog did something right. If you only give a treat, it may not realize exactly what it did yo earn the treat.
Dogs learn through being rewarded, so if you stop giving your dog a treat after using the clicker, it may begin to associate the clicker with doing something wrong and could stop carrying out the command altogether.
If you want to stop rewarding your dog with treats, because you’re worried it could be starting to affect its health, you may want to think about switching to healthier treats, like low calorie options or organic treats. You could even switch to using veggies as a reward, like a carrot cut into small pieces.
How To Train Yorkie With Clicker: Conclusion
Clicker training is not right for everyone. Or for every dog. But for many, it can make the training process a bit easier and more efficient.
As mentioned several times, the key is timing. You need to make sure you press the clicker at the same time as your Yorkie performs the desired action. And before you can even do that, you need to train your Yorkie to associate the clicker with a reward.