Clicker training for dogs can be done in many different ways and for many different purposes. If you are learning clicker training on your own, I think DVDs or videos may be better for giving you the all-important sense of timing but books are easier to pick up and refer to. I use both.
On this page, I review two dog clicker training books:
Melissa Alexander has compiled a very convenient reference guide, complete with an index. It’s a large, attractively laid out paperback with over 100 questions answered.
Each question has two or more pages, with the question, its answer, often a short success story, and a little “See also” sidebar, listing related questions, much like hyperlinks.
Each chapter covers about six or eight questions. The chapters are:
- About Clicker Training, Equipment
- That Magical Click
- Getting Started
- Mistakes, and Errors
- About Training Sessions
- Getting the Behavior
- Making the Behavior Perfect
- Reliability and Fluency
- Specific Behaviors
- Solving Problem Behavior
- Beyond Training
- Beyond Method: The Underlying Science
This book was at my bedside for weeks after I bought it. I enjoyed reading a bit before I fell asleep… and the plot didn’t keep me turning the pages for hours! If you were to buy one book on clicker training for dogs, this would be an excellent choice.
Clicker Training for dogs can be quickly and easily learned — this book proves it. While it won’t give you a strong theoretical background, it gets the job done quickly and easily. Limited for time? Just want results? Go for this one. You and your dog can start at page one, go right though, and come out happier at the end.
If you have children, they may ask you why the people in the illustrations don’t have clothes on, or hair on their heads, but are just outlines.
Author Peggy Tillman told me why. She said, “There really is a reason. My husband and I have an ergonomic/human factors business. We help make designs and equipment user-friendly… I developed computer mannequins to put in the designs to help people visualize how humans would fit. These characters in the book are those mannequins… I am not an artist. I couldn’t draw a person freehand if my life depended on it. However, the manikins are anthropometrically (correct size proportions) correct.”
The pictures clearly illustrate the training steps, and the book would be a good one to use with your kids.
Peggy Tillman commented on that too: “The book was based on my classroom handouts and I made sure it was simple so the adults would read it and the kids could read it. It is written at the 5th grade level for this reason.”
Corresponding with Peggy led me to pull the book out again and try some of the exercises. I’m intrigued by the “Put it away” exercise, where the dog learns to put toys in a toybox, laundry in a basket, and more.