Clicker Training: What is it and why does it work?

A clicker is a small device that makes a clear click-click sound when its button is depressed.  It is a tool we use to teach your dog how to do ‘new stuff’ (learn a new skill) and once the ‘new stuff’ is learned, the clicker is put away. It is not something you must use for the life of your dog in order to get him/her to do things.

Your dog learns that the clicker is valuable to him/her because of its association with the arrival of a reward. We teach the dog about the association just by clicking and rewarding several/many times.

A cool thing about clicker training is that the dog quickly becomes a willing participant in the training process.  It’s a two-way conversation and it’s awesome to watch.

We organize things (lure to get the behaviour/catch the behaviour when it occurs) so that we can click and reward.  Meanwhile, the dog is actively trying to figure out how to make us click so they may get rewarded.  They usually try to make that happen by repeating the last skill (eg..sit) that got them rewarded. 

For more in-depth information about clicker training, I encourage you to check out  There is a wealth of information there and some excellent video’s to see.

Happy training!

Lynn Hyndman

You Should Know This by Now! The “Mystery” of Generalization

How many times have we looked at our dogs in frustration when we’ve asked for, what we consider, a task the dog knows quite well and yet there is a total failure? What the heck is going on?

It could be that the training has not actually hit the ‘critical mass’ mark because the issue of generalization has raised its ugly head. The fact of the matter is that dogs don’t generalize very well. They can’t easily take a new piece of information or skill and apply it to a new set of circumstances.

I can easily teach a young puppy to sit in the kitchen in a few minutes. But, even though I say and do exactly the same thing for the pup, a move to the dining room presents confusion on behalf of the pup. This confusion results in either frustration or disengagement by the puppy if I don’t quickly step in to help by starting over.

Here’s a great little list of the factors involved in generalization to emphasize all the different elements one must train before the behaviour/skill is learned. Each element is introduced at the lowest level of difficulty and gradually increased to the highest level.





Happy Training!

-Lynn Hyndman