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Using a Clicker to Potty Train a Puppy


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One of the main things I talk about us using positive reinforcement quickly when potty training a puppy, well using a clicker to potty train a puppy can make this a lot easier. The clicker itself is basic and only costs a few bucks, technically you can use anything which emits a noise but a clicker has a distinct sound not too often heard around the house plus it’s loud enough for your puppy to hear it easily without annoying the neighbours.

As I’ve said before, when using positive reinforcement to train a puppy you need to do it quickly, before their attention wanders (and trust me – this happens quickly) to something else and they believe you are happy with them for watching the nearby bird. Using a clicker doesn’t really change your puppy potty training routine all that much, when your puppy does it’s business in the right area you immediately click the clicker and follow that with the praise or treat. People mistakenly believe this means they’re associating hearing a click with being rewarded, but that is a very short term issue, the puppy quickly learns that it’s receiving praise for using his or her potty area, the click itself just helps to bridge the gap between the action and the reward.

You might have seen other dog trainers clicking their fingers or perhaps whistling, this can work if done properly but you need to remain consistent and only use these noises to link an action and a reward. Clicks are only a few bucks and when it comes to potty training a puppy they’re well worth it. It’s not completely required and I’ve known people to potty train a puppy easily enough without one but it’s just a small thing which makes your job easier.

Similar training principles to the training clicker have been used on other animals such as horses, bears, whales and even humans. It might seem strange but studies have shown that the use of a clicker can reduce dog training times by up to one third.

A common misconception about using a clicker to potty train a puppy is that the puppy will no longer listen to a trainer without a clicker at hand. This isn’t the case at all, I don’t use a clicker with a puppy beyond the first few weeks. The key to preparing a puppy to obey without the use of a clicker is to use commands at the same time as the click. Remembering to keep the words and tones consistent you repeat this command with the click and soon your puppy learns the meaning without the click.


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  • About us

    Hello, Chris here and thanks for stopping by. I hope I'll be able to help you learn how to potty train a puppy without too much of a headache!

    There's nothing quite like living with a dog and I've potty trained a fair few in my time. I put this site together to help people who were having problems potty training a puppy.

    It doesn't have to be as hard as people make out and the guides you'll find here should make things nice and easy for you.