We see a lot of clients who are very resistant to using a clicker in dog training. We get it. It’s something new, now you have another thing to learn, your hands are full, there is already a ton of other new info to figure out… We understand the apprehension, we’ve all been there. We’d like to say “try it, you might like it!” Oh, and it will make your training go MUCH FASTER.
It may seem complicated at first but trust us, it’s not. The click is just a marker. The sound of the click tells your dog “yes, that right there, what you are doing right this instant, is what I want you to do. You got it!” Now isn’t one little click easier than saying all that? Think of the click like taking a photo; you snap the picture right when your dog is doing what you want him to do.
Much of the resistance we hear from folks is: “But will I have to carry this thing around forever?” No, you do not need to use the clicker forever, we promise! We use it when we are teaching new behaviors so, when we are working with a young/new dog and then when teaching more complicated tricks later on. We also use it a lot to capture a behavior a dog is offering without us asking. For example: when a dog looks up at us instead of pulling forward on his/her leash = click + treat!
The other reason we hear for people not wanting to use the clicker is: “I forgot it” or “my hands are full with treats/leash/poop bags.” No problem… You can also use a verbal marker. We use the word “yes.” A verbal marker is OK and you can use a clicker sometimes and sometimes say “yes” (mix and match!) but the clicker is probably still better/faster (the jury is actually still out on this) because it is a unique sound. We all say “yes” when talking to my family, on the phone etc. and your dog is not getting a treat. BUT, if he hears the click he always gets a treat (consistent reinforcement).
Either way, you are really OK.