My Dog Is Afraid of the Clicker. What Should I Do?

I wrote this article especially for people who are either new to using a clicker or have not dealt extensively with a fearful dog. If your dog is scared by the noise of the clicker, slow down. Switch to a verbal marker for now. Don’t immediately focus on trying to achieve softer clicks. Here’s why. Rat terrier Kaci says, “Train me!” […]

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Clicker Training for Cats (6/6)

By Paula Garber and Francine Miller Inter-Cat Aggression Living with cats who do not get along is stressful for everyone. Sometimes the cats need to be completely separated and then formally re-introduced. In many cases, the best outcome we can hope for is for the cats to coexist peacefully to a point where they tolerate each other, even if they […]

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Clicker Training for Cats (5/6)

By Paula Garber and Francine Miller Introducing Cats to Each Other In a nutshell, cats should be gradually introduced to each other one sense at a time: first by scent, then by sight, and then physically. Throughout the process, positive associations are built up with the scent, sight, and physical presence of the other cat using food, play, brushing, low-key […]

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Clicker Training for Cats (4/6)

By Paula Garber and Francine Miller Clicker Training for Behavioral Problems: Clawing Furniture/Destructive Furniture Scratching Destructive furniture scratching is a commonly reported problem in cats, and one of the many unwanted behaviors that clicker training can help. Without going into all the reasons cats scratch (for more details on scratching, see Scratch Here, Not There, BARKS from the Guild, July […]

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Clicker Training for Cats (3/6)

By Paula Garber and Francine Miller Cats learn best when they are comfortable and free from distractions. They are sensitive and will flee from any threat or uncertainty (and we don’t work with them on a leash!) The best place to teach a cat is somewhere he finds quiet and familiar. This may be challenging because with their acute senses […]

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Clicker Training for Cats (2/6)

By Paula Garber and Francine Miller In clicker training, primary reinforcers are things that are instinctively or inherently rewarding to a cat. Reinforcers for cats should be given in small amounts and frequently to maintain learning momentum. For cats who are food motivated, use high-value food or treats for clicker training. Many cats like foods with a high animal protein […]

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Clicker Training for Cats (1/6)

By Paula Garber and Francine Miller Why train a cat? Why indeed. Myths about the trainability of cats abound: “Cats can’t be trained because they’re too independent.” “Cats are difficult to train because they are not food motivated.” “Cats don’t need training like dogs do.” These are all common misconceptions, but get ready to kick all the myths to the […]

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Are ‘Free-Shaped’ Dogs Better Problem Solvers?

A look at the criticisms of lure-reward training by Carmen LeBlanc MS ACAAB CPDT. First published in BARKS from the Guild, April 2014, pp. 12-18 Most professional dog trainers have heard about criticisms of lure-reward training in recent years. These criticisms have been made along with enthusiastic claims about the superiority of free-shaped (unprompted, trial-and-error) clicker training. Those of us […]

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When Choosing a Dog Trainer, Buyer Beware!

Written by Leah Roberts Originally posted in 8/27 2010 Before 1981 when Dr. Ian Dunbar developed the first Sirius Puppy Class, training wasn’t recommended for puppies under 6 months old.  The only training methods available at the time involved physical force using training tools such as choke collars, and were considered to be too harsh for young puppies.  Dr. Dunbar created the lure/reward […]

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