Our Blog

January 2020
31: Early Closure January 31st 2020 and Closure February 1st 2020
November 2019
13: Cases of Leptospirosis in the GTA
October 2019
02: OVC Pet Trust Fundraiser 2019
March 2019
07: The Threat of Tick-borne Diseases
February 2019
04: Important information from Hill’s Pet Nutrition about voluntarily recalled canned dog food:
January 2019
31: There is a difference
October 2018
19: Concerns regarding flea/tick medication side-effects, harmful grain-free diets and cannabis use in pets
15: Farley Foundation Fundraiser 2018
September 2018
17: Monthly Focus: Cancer Awareness - Lonestar's Story
August 2018
23: Bug bites and stings
July 2018
09: House-training your puppy
June 2018
21: Keeping Your Dog Safe This Summer
14: Happy 10th Anniversary, Westbridge Veterinary Hospital
April 2018
18: Congratulations friends of dogs and cats everywhere!
February 2018
28: Parasite Prevention
January 2018
11: Dental disease is a real and serious issue
November 2017
01: Thank you for your support in the 2017 October Farley Foundation Fundraiser!
October 2017
03: Prizes and pie for our annual Farley Foundation Fundraiser!
September 2017
13: Keetah's Story
11: September is Cancer Awareness Month
August 2017
10: What's that smell?!
July 2017
27: Clicker Training
24: Our Commitment to a Low Stress Environment
13: The threat of rabies in southwestern Ontario
07: Wildlife in the city
June 2017
21: Lyme Disease
March 2017
06: The Value Of Education
January 2017
17: 33 years of practice, the changes I have witnessed
November 2016
28: 2016's October Farley Foundation Fundraiser was a huge success!
September 2016
20: Cajun's story
01: September is Cancer Awareness Month
July 2016
21: Cat Carriers
June 2016
29: Dog Park Etiquette
May 2016
31: Heartworm Q & A
12: Tick Troubles
March 2016
10: Anticipated tick bloom
February 2016
22: Introduction to TCVM – Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine
January 2016
14: The difference dental care can make
December 2015
30: Raccoon Rabies reported in Hamilton, Ontario
08: Understanding Aging
November 2015
25: Our new, state of the art, Ultrasound machine
October 2015
09: Fun and Delicious Fundraising for the Farley Foundation
September 2015
23: Cancer Awareness Month: Texas' Story
14: September is Cancer Awareness Month
July 2015
28: Exciting news for our hospital!
June 2015
11: Mosquito Prevention
May 2015
08: Heartworm cases
April 2015
24: Changing your pet's food
March 2015
01: Veterinary Technician Specialties in Dentistry!
January 2015
13: January and February are Dental Education Months!
December 2014
18: The Internet at its Best
November 2014
28: Westbridge's Change of Hours
October 2014
07: October is Farley Month - Spa Day's, Paw Prints and Pies!
September 2014
22: Cancer Awareness Month - Ruby's Story
20: September is Cancer Awareness Month!
02: Ways to a Happy, Healthier Pet
July 2014
03: A New Way to Save Your Pet's Teeth!
June 2014
26: Veterinary Dentistry in San Diego!
March 2014
20: Happy Smiles
January 2014
22: The 15 Steps to Your Pet's Dental Cleaning!
15: January and February are Dental Months, and We Have a Contest to Celebrate!
09: Baby Teeth in Puppies and Kittens
06: An Update on Dr. Hylands
December 2013
27: Dentistry in New Orleans!
17: Wishing Dr. Hylands a Safe and Uneventful Recovery
13: The Holidays are Here!
04: A Potential Mandible Fracture - A Tale on Missing Teeth
October 2013
10: Fundraising for Farley
July 2013
11: Tried and True, For Humans Too!
June 2013
20: Therapeutic Laser's Beneficial Effects on Arthritis
12: Pet Education Day and Open House a Huge Success!
May 2013
25: 5th Annual Pet Education Day and Open House!
April 2013
29: We've Brought 'Light' into our Clinic!
March 2013
10: We're Constantly Learning!
February 2013
21: Small Dogs Require Big Dental Care!
08: Missing Teeth in Your Pets - Should You Be Worried?
January 2013
13: Periodontal (Dental) Disease in our Pets
December 2012
19: Senior Month - It's Not Just Old Age!
04: Senior Month - A Focus on Kidney Disease
November 2012
15: Farley Month a Huge Success!
October 2012
27: Possessive Aggression in our Dogs
22: Thinking of Breeding Your Dog? Here Are Some Things To Consider First
03: October is Farley Month!
September 2012
20: Litter Boxes - Everyone's Favourite Task!
August 2012
14: Exercising Your Pets in the Summer - Heat Stroke
June 2012
28: Non-Invasive Diagnostic Imaging - Ultrasound Case Study
21: A Heartfelt "Thank You" for Attending our Pet Education Carnival!
19: Non-Invasive Diagnostic Imaging - Ultrasonography
May 2012
23: A Logical Approach to Unwanted Barking
07: Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug Use in Companion Animals
April 2012
21: Wellness Examinations Help to Maintain Your Pets Health
10: OVC Pet Trust Animal Cancer Centre Needs Your Help!
01: Heartworm Disease in Ontario
March 2012
19: A Dedication to a Great Man and an Dedicated Veterinarian
February 2012
06: Why Anesthesia-Free Dental Care is Wrong, Cruel, and Medically Inappropriate
January 2012
16: The Why's and What's of Dental X-ray
09: Cats Are a Unique Species, with Unique Dental Disease
05: Six Easy Steps to Brushing your Pets Teeth!
02: Dental Awareness Months!
December 2011
21: Chocolate... Good for you?
November 2011
11: Farley Month was a Huge Success!

Clicker Training

Posted: 2017-07-27

Clicker training is based on Positive Reinforcement. This means you reward the good behavior instead of punishing the bad behavior. Animals learn what they should do much quicker with reward-based training instead of punishment- based training. You can train your dog, cat, bird, or any animal of any age! Did you know that zoos use clicker training to teach the animals how to be handled and accept treatments, examinations and medications?

What is a clicker?
A clicker is a “noisemaker” that makes a two-toned click sound. This is to signal that your pet is getting rewarded for a behavior that you want it to perform.
How to start clicker training

As with any training regimen it is ideal to do short training sessions instead of one long one. Much more is learned from three 5-15 minute sessions versus a 1 hour session. You can get dramatic results and teach your pet many new things by fitting a few clicks into your daily routine (for example; before meals or while on a walk)!

1. Get your pet used to the sound of the clicker.

a. The first time you use the clicker make sure it is used during a calm moment like when watching TV or reading a book.

i. Grab a handful of treats so they are easily accessible to you. Make the click sound & when your pet responds (looks at you) give the treat. Repeat this action 5- 10 times in a row and stop. Wait anywhere from 1-5 minutes and repeat for a total of 15 minutes.

ii. PLEASE NOTE: Use an extra tasty treat when you are first using the clicker (not your pets normal kibbles unless they have dietary issues like allergies). Instead try a small piece of beef liver or dehydrated/ boiled chicken. PLEASE remember that it is NOT the size of the treat that your pet gets, it is just the taste of something extra delicious and not given on a regular basis. We don’t want to make our pets obese in the process of training!

2.Once your pet is consistently excited and waiting for the treat after making the “click” sound you can start using the clicker to train commands like sit, come, stay, or down.

a.You do not need to use extra tasty treats for the rest of the training. The tasty treats are to make your pet more excited for the clicker

3.When using the clicker, the timing of the clicker is CRUCIAL. The “click” should be made DURING the behaviour that is being performed.

a.You can practice your “clicker timing” by having someone bounce a ball and trying to make the “click” at the same time the ball hits the ground.

i.Ex: When teaching a sit command, you “click” when the bum is just about to touch the ground; “Fluffy” is in the process of sitting, you click just as the bum is about to touch the floor, then; “Good Sit! And give the treat while giving praise when the bum is on the floor.

b.You should not need to repeat the command over and over again. If your pet is excited and jumping for the treat and you have already given the “sit” command just ignore your pet and look/turn away from the jumping/excitement until he/she sits on their own. Then click & reward!

4.If training your pet out of a bad habit; for example training to not bark in the crate/ room;

a. Whenever “Fluffy” stops barking then click and reward the quiet behavior. When you tell Fluffy to “Be Quiet” and “stop barking!” Even though you are saying it as a punishment, you are still rewarding your pet with attention; therefore Fluffy learns that when I bark, my people will come talk to me!

5.You can use the clicker to add commands to your pet’s normal behavior like “lie down” or “bed”. This is known as “Capturing”

a. Whenever your pet goes to lie down on their own you can click and say the command that you want to use. Think of when you are taking a photograph. You “click” or take the picture of the behavior you want your pet to perform.

Here is an example of using Clicker Training to assist with a nasty habit. Hoover is a four year old Schnauzer who felt he was the “King of the Street”. Whenever another dog walked towards Hoover he would bark ferociously and continue to bark inappropriately as long as the dog was in sight. Needless to say, this made walking him difficult and uncomfortable.

During Clicker Training, the owner first got Hoover used to the clicker in the home, as above. Next, on the street, without another dog in sight, the owner would continue to reinforce the clicker. Then, when walking, the owner watched carefully for another dog, and watched Hoover’s reactions. As soon as Hoover noticed another dog in the distance (but before he started barking), the owner would distract Hoover with the clicker and the treat (by making him performed desired action like sit or down). Then they would change direction and walk away so that Hoover would be praised for mastering being quiet. Day after day the owner would work with Hoover getting closer and closer to another dog and praising the good behavior until Hoover could finally walk by without barking excessively.

Good luck with Clicker Training and enjoying good behavior from your pet!

This blog entry was written by Westbridge Veterinary Hospital, an animal clinic (vet hospital) in Mississauga dedicated to providing high quality, modern veterinary care to our beloved pets and their families.

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