Exercises to try

Now your clicker is primed start adding in smple commands your dog already knows. Sit is a command the majority of dogs know and will respond to easily. Ask your dog to sit and as soon as their bottom hits the floor, click and reward. It's worth pointing out at this point where people sometimes go wrong with clicker training is by clicking at the wrong time. Remember the analogy with the camera shutter. Imagine taking a photo of your dog at the exact moment they have performed your command.

Great so far you have primed your clicker and your dog is getting treats for doing sit. It's important to keep the sessions short, but you can repeat them often. Add in some more of your dogs existing command until their (and yoour own) confidence grows.

Now what?

This is where the real fun begins, what you do next is really only limited by your imagination, enjoy watching your dog trying to work out what a new command means. I will list a few of the more common exercises for you to try. These are basic but often extremely important commands and they are worth teaching every dog.

Leave ...

Teaching leave is useful for many things, not pinching food from the counter, not engaging with other dogs, not chasing rabbits, cats or squirrels. I must admit the squirrel one is beyond my own dog's realm of tolerance. I always try but the failure rate is high when squirrels are around.

What you need

So to teach leave you need some of your dog's normal kibble, plus an extra tasty treat I use small bits of chicken breast, maybe a glove if you have a extremely enthusiastic dog or sensitive skin. Hold a piece or two of kibble in your hand and let your dog see it. Close your fist around the kibble and offer your hand to your dog, they will likely sniff, lick or gnaw your hand. Give the command 'Leave' as soon as your dog looks away from your kibble hand and to you, click and reward with the chicken. It's a good idea to practice this and include high value items such as the dog's bowl or favourite toy. This is why you need a high value treat, it has to be worth it for the dog to leave the lure and be rewarded.

Read the full 'Leave' Lesson