Clicking With Your Maltese

I think the best training method of all that I've tried is Clicker Training, also known as Click and Treat.

A clicker is a very simple gadget and the idea of a clicker is to say, "Good Dog" in the quickest way and mark the exact behaviour that caused a reinforcement (a treat is always delivered after the click). The technique is very positive (no abusive methods and no negative reinforcement) and the dog learns quickly, compared to the more traditional methods.

The essence of Clicker Training is OWNER TRAINING! The owner has to understand what to do with a clicker and practice the accuracy of clicking for the right behaviour (believe me it's very hard to "catch" the exact moment) and often need practice before the actual training with a dog. Get a clicker (you can get it from any clicker training class or training gadgets web sites or at Petsmart) and practice with your favourite characters on TV. :-) Yes, give yourself a "target behaviour" on one of the characters, say... "sit down" - now, you click whenever that character on the show sits down. Practice 'til you think you master the clicker and then try it with your dog (give a treat to your dog followed by a click). You can train any tricks or good behaviour with a clicker, like "hi", "sit" and even potty training.

By the way, it is the best to train only one dog at a time with a clicker. If you have more than one dog at home, you have to keep the other dogs in another room, because they all learn that when they hear the click there's treat and come running to you! They'll all offer you "cute actions" but you can't "mark" them all and treat them all at the same time! So, it won't work as well with multiple dogs. However, some experienced clicker trainers can train multiple dogs at once.

  • For more information, check out these books and sites:
  • Clicking with Your Dog: Step-by-Step in Pictures, By Peggy Tillman
  • Don't Shoot the Dog, 1999 Revised Edition By Karen Pryor (ISBN# 0-533-38039-7)

Copyright by Maltese'R'Us All Right Reserved.
Published on: 2003-12-31