I was pleased to discover this ebook on clicker training….you can download it instantly after purchase and be reading it within a few minutes, no matter where you live, it can have links embedded in the text, and it’s way more ecological. Clickertraining: the 4 Secrets of Becoming a Supertrainer is by Morten Egtvedt & Cecilie Koeste, a couple with a lot of experience in clicker training dogs. (Clicking on the title above or on the image below takes you to their website, where they explain their approach in detail.)
At 213 pages, it will take you more than a few minutes to read it, but that’s with wide margins and big print. (You can read it on your computer or print it out. I soon realized it was such a useful book to refer to that I would want it on my bookshelf, so I printed it out and put it in a 3-ring binder, where I could take a few pages out at a time.) In the beginning, Morten and Cecilie do tell you, ” We can’t deliver miracles –just pass on the principles of effective dog training. You have to be prepared to devote time and energy…” That’s true of anything worthwhile, but I’ll add that once you master the basic principles of clicker training dogs, you have a very useful tool for the rest of your life.
I enjoyed their analogy that reading the book without trying out clicker training is like buying sheet music and not playing it. They further extend this analogy to say that you can use the exercises they provide as things to improvise on, as a jazz musician would. They also predict that you will enjoy the process, and that any mistakes you make in the beginning won’t matter.. they are an inevitable part of your learning something new.
I laughed out loud at the “For the Dog” section of the introduction. Here’s just one little bit: “Clicker training an owner really is rather simple. It’s all about making the owners click, because every time they do that we get something that we want.” It stretched my mind – in a very enjoyable way – to look at clicker training from the dog’s point of view.
So What Is In Clickertraining: the 4 Secrets of Becoming a Supertrainer?
The book starts by telling you what clickertraining is and isn’t. I didn’t expect to learn much from this section and was pleasantly surprised when I did. One point was that since clicker training has become so widely used, you don’t necessarily know how people train if they say they use clickers. They could be using the methods originally developed by Karen Pryor, their own (jazz) variations on them, or something not that different from the more heavy-handed “ya gotta dominate” approaches with some clicks thrown in.
The book naturally divides into three parts:
The first chapters explain clicker training in general. You may not be familiar with everything on this list, but they explain things clearly:
- What is clicker training?
- Positive and negative reinforcement
- The 4 secrets of becoming a supertrainer
- Find an effective reinforcer
- Conditioned reinforcers
- Training techniques
- Target training
- Stimulus control
- The retrieve
- Crossover dogs and horses
- Five common syndromes
The second section is a very useful guide to 30 specific training situations and tricks:
- Charging the conditioned reinforcer
- Eye contact: look at me
- Following you
- Loose-leash walking
- The recall
- The sit
- The down
- The stand
- Offering you to put the collar on
- Polite greetings – for the eager dog
- Polite greetings – for the warier dog
- Waiting alone
- Crate training
- Puppy biting
- Getting used to different environments
- Holding an object (retrieving)
- The retrieve
- Switching the lights off and on
- Shutting drawers
- Riding in a wheelbarrow
- Go to a family member – the postman game
- Go to mat when there’s someone at the door
- Getting the newspaper out of the mailbox
- Doing the laundry
- The spin
- Choosing the right tool
- Getting a soda from the fridge
The ebook ends with some last words, references, and more. I could say more but this is long enough. You can go to the website of Clickertraining: the 4 Secrets of Becoming a Supertrainer by clicking (think I’ll skip the obvious pun) on the picture of Morten Egtvedt, Cecilie Koeste, and their dogs: