Training and behaviour
Simply "being a good dog" in our humans eyes is not something that comes naturally to dogs. Every day, every minute, a dog needs to adapt to us and to our environment.
So to make sure your dog will be the enjoyable companion you had imagined, it is important to teach him good behaviour. Good behaviour to replace normal dog behaviour which he would prefer doing at that moment. Good behaviour to prevent him doing things you don't want him to do. Good behaviour that he would not do if everything were left to your dog.
To teach your dog the behaviour you want, it's important that you know how dogs learn.
Clicker training is a method based on voluntary learning by the dog. The dog wants to earn what you have to offer. And he'll be willing to work hard for that. Because you have control over everything your dog likes, wants and needs in life. So you have everything to offer, all you need is to have control over those things and not give them away for free all the time. And as you are the one who provides your dog with everything in life, for you to ask for something in return is only fair, isn't it?
If you know what your dog wants in life, you are almost ready to train him.
Almost, because first you need something to help explain to your dog exactly which of his behaviours earned him his treat. This is where a short click sound comes in very handy. A short, mechanical sound can pinpoint this information more clearly to your dog than a word.
To explain to your dog what the click sound means, you click your clicker and then you give him a treat - food works best at first, because it's fast. When you have repeated this about 5 to 10 times, your dog will probably look at you expectantly as soon as he hears that funny sound.
When your dog does something you like and you click at that exact moment, your click will be telling him exactly which behaviour was excellent and earned him one of his favourite things. After very few repetitions (an experienced dog will often need only one or two repetitions), your dog will eagerly want to repeat that behaviour.
Because you are constantly telling your dog all the things he does well in life, because you are rewarding him and being very clear what it is you are rewarding him for, he will really like this form of training. And as you start focusing on all the things your dog does right and enjoys doing right, you will appreciate him more, you will be having a lot of fun with him. An because you're having fun, your dog's enjoying this training game even more!
It is very normal for a clicker trained dog to come to you and ask for a training session. That's something my dogs seldom did before!
There are many great dog training and behaviour websites in English around the world. I have collected just a few of them on this website. You can find them (among several Dutch websites) in the weblinks sections Trainings-weblinks and Links over gedrag (links about behaviour).