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Congrats on starting on such excellent training with your pup!!! It sounds like you are on the road to a great relationship and great behavior with your pup. Keep it up, and never stop your training!
It is never too late or too soon to start clicker training. I started my girl (who was 2 when we go ther) on clicker training initially, but threw in the towel as I just wasn’t coordinated enough, especially if I had a leash in my hand! If I didn’t have my head attached, it would have rolled off too! Too much in my hands to make sure that I click and treat at the right time! Plus, I didn’t want to take the clicker everywhere I went with my dog to train. I prefer a verbal cue rather than the click, but that is just me. It is easier for me to spit the verbal cue out right away, rather than hunt for the clicker that is somewhere in my coat pocket. But, you need to find what works for you. Every human has their own teaching method, and each dog has his/her own learning method. You may have to experiment to see what works for the both of you.
One thing to keep in mind is that if there are other people in you and your pup’s life that will help with training, you need to make sure that you are all on the same page with what training tool you are using!
Instead of the clicker, I now use a word as my “click”. I use the word “YES!” and treat right after that. My dog got it a lot quicker than the click. I give her an exuberent “YES!” when she did what I wanted, and then I treat. If she didn’t do what I wanted, I say “Oops” and put my hands behind my back.
If you are going to use the clicker training, the first thing that you want to do is prime your dog for the click and know what the click means. Take a couple days, maybe a week or two to just click and treat, click and treat. You have to get your dog used to what the clicking noise means. Do it for 5 minutes, and then do something else. Come back to the clicker, and do it again. Click and treat in different places so your pup doesn’t get used to the clicker at only one location. Your dog needs to expect it everywhere. Once you have the clicker primed with your dog, then start on a simple command. Work with it for a few days and keep going from there.
Once the dog can do a trick or obedience request about 98% of the time, you can start to phase out the clicker. Use it every now and then, just to keep the dog on her toes! If you want to phase it out all together, then switch to a word cue like “YES”. I run through obedience requests and tricks every day with my dog, just to keep her going and knowledgeable. She has to sit, down, spin, and do other things (different things on different days) before she is released to go eat her meals. That is the key to a well-behaved dog. You don’t just teach them once and forget about it. You train them constantly through their life!
I hope this helped a little bit. Good luck with your new pup! 🙂
Oh, here is a link to Karen Pryor’s clicker training website. She is the clicker training guru for the dog world! If you have already looked at it…SORRY!