What do Pavlov’s findings have to do with the ‘clicker training’method?
Let me first explain how clicker training works and then highlight where Pavlov’s findings come in…
How Clicker Training Works
Let’s say you want to reinforce or teach your dog a specific behavior such as sitting, standing, barking, eating, or even just looking at you (for those of you who have distracted dogs).
Your purpose is to apply the clicker training method to achieve this.
In this method, the trainer uses a clicker which is a small plastic box with a metal button which makes a distinctive click sound when you press the button.
So, here are the typical steps:
Step #1 – Trigger the behavior you want or simply let occur naturally.
Step #2 – Immediately click the clicker to ‘mark’ the behavior. Repeat this a few times and you may see your dog visibly startle, look towards the treat, or look to you. This indicates that the association is being formed.
Step #3 – Give a small piece of his favorite treat. Don’t give a big piece because your dog will soon grow fatand ugly…yucks! (You might give a hug instead of a treat if that’s what your animal likes.)
Step #4 – Cue the behavior – such as “sit” or “down” etc.
Step #5 – Slowly reduce and fade the clicker and treats.
Alright, now let’s look at:
Where do Pavlov’s findings come in?
Like Pavlov’s experiments where he associate the ringing of the bell with presenting food to his dog…
… in the ‘clicker training’ method, you associate the click with presenting of food.
Technically, this is known as a conditioned response.