Clicker training is a way of teaching a dog to respond as desired, with the “click” being a very precise and “clean” sound which can be created very quickly to mark success to a vocal and/or body language instruction. The dog soon recognizes that a “click” means a reward is imminent, just as it recognizes that no “click” means something went wrong.
When Ray moved in with us, he clearly had no training in his background so all instructions were learned with this method. He responded very well to clicker training and was later weaned off it so he only needed the vocal and/or body language instructions. That was almost two years ago now and, with the exception of some isolated additional training, the clicker has been hanging from a cupboard door handle near his den. We had almost forgotten about clicker training.
We were recently in our local Cdn. Pet Connection store and were having a general conversation with our (all three of us!) friend Joan who was working there. Ray, in true Ray character, was laying on the floor with his front paws crossed ; head down, and generally just chilling out while waiting for us to show some sign of either giving him a treat, or of leaving and heading for the Oakville & Milton Humane Society which is nearby. All was quiet and relaxed until a lady came into the store.
She wandered around seemingly looking for something specific, and clearly having difficulty, so Joan offered to help her. They were soon chatting away and the lady was clearly trying to make up her mind over some options and, what must have been a habit of hers, took out a pen from her purse and started pressing the on/off button on and off ……… and on and off …………….. and on and off.
Carol silently drew my attention to Ray. While still laying on the floor, his head was up; he was alert, and totally focused on Carol. His whole manner said “Treat!”.
The clicker! He remembered the clicker and all its possibilities! He was not going to question what he was supposed to have done, but was just going to graciously accept his treat!
The situation was explained; the lady stopped clicking her pen, and Ray got a little treat anyway. Who would have thought that the clicker training of so long ago would still be prominent in his mind?