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a poodle puppy receiving a treat during clicker training with its owner in their backyard

Are you struggling to teach your new puppy to respond to basic commands? Clicker training may be just what you’re looking for.

This method is used by trainers around the world to teach proper behaviour without relying on punishment, but instead on positive reinforcement. Statistically, positive reinforcement is much more effective when training animals. Keep reading to learn more about using a clicker to train your pup!


Clicker training uses a small hand-held device that makes a clicking sound. When the trainer sees the dog acting as they want it to, they make the noise and offer a treat. This works because hearing a distinctive sound right before being given a reward conditions the puppy to repeat whatever it was doing when it heard the sound. While you could use a verbal cue instead, the clicker is faster and more precise. Another advantage is that the clicks always sounds the same, while people’s voices aren’t always consistent.


Ready to try to use a clicker to train your puppy? Follow these tips to ensure success.

  • Always follow a click with a treat. A sound by itself isn’t enough of a reward for a dog. Instead, you want your puppy to think of the click as an indication that food is coming. Be sure to always have treats nearby when you use your clicker and to always give a treat, even if you’ve clicked by accident.

  • Keep your dog on its toes. To train your puppy to respond to you and not the treats, be unpredictable. This can include carrying treats and not initiating a training session or starting a training session somewhere your puppy can’t smell a treat. Just be sure to have some food close enough to quickly reward your puppy properly.

  • Be patient. Don’t expect your dog to learn complex commands right away. Instead, break them down into small parts. For example, if you want to teach your puppy to go lie down on its bed on command, start by teaching it to stay, then stay on the bed, then lie down on the bed and then finally to go to the bed to lie down.

  • Never stop rewarding. You may be able to put your clicker away once your dog has successfully learned everything you want it to. This doesn’t mean that you should stop rewarding good behaviour with praise, pats and attention.


Training is just a part of caring for a new puppy. It’ll need to see the veterinarian regularly for checkups and vaccinations throughout its whole life. For routine and emergency pet care, you can trust Bellamy-Lawrence Animal Hospital. Call our clinic in Toronto to make an appointment.

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