If you’ve ever seen a Sea World animal show, visited a zoo, or been lucky enough to see a show at Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium, you’ve seen clicker training in action. While in the marine mammal show, they use a whistle instead of a click, the premise is still the same. It’s good old positive reinforcement training at work.
Wanna see it in action? Here’s Ken Ramirez from the Shedd Aquarium showing Kevin Tibbles of NBC News just how (and why!) the Shedd now has dogs in the aquarium!
What’s positive reinforcement (clicker) training? It’s ridiculously simple. It’s based on this basic law of behavior: we all do what works for us. The click (or the whistle in the case of the whales) tells us what to do again, and it also tells us a reward is coming because we did that something.
The click speeds up learning. The faster your dog know what exact thing to do again — and earn a reward — the faster your dog will do it again. It’s a fantastic circle that gets lots of good behaviors happening in a relatively short period of time.
Here’s the coolest part: the more often your dog does something you like, the less often he’ll do something you don’t like! You can get rid of bad behavior simply by teaching your dog to do good behavior.