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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm new to formal dog training so I've been reading up about different methods. I think I understand the concept behind the clicker method, but I was wondering if I would really need a clicker. Wouldn't just snapping my fingers work? It's not that clickers are so expensive or hard to find. I'm told you can find them in any pet supply store and that they are super cheap ($2-5). My problem is that I'd probably lose it or misplace it in the other room and be searching for it just at the moment that the puppy is doing the right thing. Which would defeat the whole purpose. What do you think? Could I use the same method but snap my fingers instead?
 

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You could or you could use a marker word when the clicker isn't available. The reason the clicker is great is because it helps get the marker timing as close as possible to the right action whereas voice or snapping fingers might take a second or two longer. Also, there is research that the clicker speaks right to the learning center of the brain and really does help things sink in easier. It only needs to be used to jumpstart or refine behavior and not all the time. Once your dog demonstrates that they really know what you are asking, you stop with the clicker and start using random reinforcement.
 

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I use a word marker (yes!) and that has worked wonderfully. Timing can be off with a clicker, word, sound, etc. so the main thing is the timing more than what you use, IMO.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I would think that your fingers would get sore and tired very quickly.
You're probably right. I'm setting up myself for carpal tunnel. ;)

I guess I could buy 20 clickers and have them scattered around the house, too. But that didn't work for the remote control. We have 5 of them and we lose them is about 5 seconds. ;)

Thanks for all the responses. I'll give it a try and see if it works! :)
 

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If I don't have a clicker handy when I want it I use a marker word (I use 'yes' but anything short/quick can work). I just make sure to keep a clicker wherever I keep my other training tools, so if I am actively doing training I will have on handy. If I'm just marking something randomly I use my marker word if the clicker isn't around.
 

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The biggest advantage of a clicker is that it is 100% consistent. The sound remains the same whether you are happy, angry or hysterical, in clear weather or in rain.

This makes it very easy (black and white) for the dog to understand. If you use a verbal marker you have to condition yourself so that the release word always sounds the same despite of environmental or emotional variables (you need to become a machine). It can be done but you need to be aware of the possible variation in sound and control it.

Another huge advantage of the clicker is that your spotter can use it to mark the reward while you focus on the work and not on your dog. We use it in protection work also. The spotter clicks, handler sends the dog for bite, helper expects it and is not surprised.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Another huge advantage of the clicker is that your spotter can use it to mark the reward while you focus on the work and not on your dog. We use it in protection work also. The spotter clicks, handler sends the dog for bite, helper expects it and is not surprised.
Ohhhhhhh... two people working together. Very clever. I might try that with my daughter. I doubt she would be able to click at the right time, but she could definitely work with the dog and do the hand signals...
 

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Learn to use a clicker

I'm new to formal dog training so I've been reading up about different methods. I think I understand the concept behind the clicker method, but I was wondering if I would really need a clicker. Wouldn't just snapping my fingers work? It's not that clickers are so expensive or hard to find. I'm told you can find them in any pet supply store and that they are super cheap ($2-5). My problem is that I'd probably lose it or misplace it in the other room and be searching for it just at the moment that the puppy is doing the right thing. Which would defeat the whole purpose. What do you think? Could I use the same method but snap my fingers instead?
Hi ~ I'm a Karen Pryor Academy Certified Training Partner (certified clicker trainer) and I really recommend you purchase a clicker. If you do not have your clicker at some time when you want to mark and reward a behavior, you can either say "yes" or click with your tongue. I recommend conditioning your dog to these additional marker signals as well as the clicker. If you afraid you will lose or misplace your clicker, buy several. I rarely lose a clicker. I lose my car keys and my phone a lot more often!
 
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