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Clicker training doesn’t need much in the way of specialized equipment. It will only cost you a few dollars to get everything you need to train your dog using this technique.
Let’s make a clicker training shopping list:
1. Flat collar and lead. You don’t need a check chain, prong collar or special leash to train your dog. In most cases, your dog’s existing collar and lead will be just fine.
2. A clicker. Dog training clickers are tiny plastic boxes with a flexible metal tongue. When you press the tongue, it bends and makes a clicking noise. They cost only a few dollars. If your budget is tight, you can do without a clicker by training your dog with a specific word. In the beginning, instead of clicking and treating until your dog learns that the click means reward, use your word instead of the clicker. For example, if your word was “yup”, you would say yup, then treat, over and over again. Then, when you are training, say “yup” when your dog does the right thing, and reward him. The one proviso is that you choose a word that isn’t part of your day to day vocabulary. That way your dog won’t expect a treat every time you say that common word, and become confused.
3. A reward. The most common reward for clicker training a dog is a food treat – they can be chopped up small so that you can give him plenty during a session without him becoming full or disinterested, and they are swallowed quickly so you can repeat the exercise straight away. The treat you choose has to be something very delicious and something your dog doesn’t get at other times. Don’t use his regular dried food; it’s not all that interesting and he’s not likely to be keen to work for it. Diced chicken and diced dried liver are favorites, and most dogs love them. These are also no more expensive than specially made commercial dog treats, if you work out the cost per pound.
Food treats may not work for some dogs; they may have food allergies, or they may be on a diet. For these animals, a reward may be a game of tug, or a throw of a ball. If that’s the case, these toys should be kept just for training sessions, which will keep them special for your dog.
In Summary – You don’t need to spend a lot of money to train your dog. Clicker training is very affordable and because it is all positive, it has the added advantage of enhancing your relationship with your dog.
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