The following are guidelines for first time clicker users.
1. The click signals to your dog that "YES!" that was the behavior you wanted. Click your dog when he does what you ask. For example, ask the dog to sit, the dog sits, owner clicks!
2. Click your dog for doing what you want. Ignore unwanted behavior. Behavior that is ignored will eventually go away. If the dog gets absolutely no attention for a behavior he will stop the behavior. Even bad attention, such as yelling, is still attention and can be rewarding to your dog.
3. Always click then treat. If you click the clicker, even by accident, always give your dog a treat. If you don't the clicker will lose its power. If you click at the wrong time you also need to treat your dog. Simply do a couple more repetitions and click at the right time, so the dog is not confused.
4. The click can also be followed by lots of praise, or a game with a toy the dog likes. The click tells your dog something good is coming. The "good" can be whatever your dog likes. If your dog does not like toys then clicking and giving him a toy will not be rewarding. Only use rewards that your dog is really excited about.
5. Do NOT click next to your dog's ear. It is very loud and may cause your dog to dislike the clicker. If your dog is noise sensitive and reacts to the clicker, simply tape several layers of first aid tape across the dimple on the metal part of the clicker. This will dampen the click. Then as your dog becomes less reactive you can pull off one layer of tape at a time.
6. When working on "sit" or "down" do not always click after a few seconds, otherwise you are teaching your dog to only sit for a few seconds. Vary the time of the click. Sometimes click after a few seconds of sit sometimes after 15 seconds of sit. Gradually build up to longer times.
7. Make sure the food treat you use is something the dog really likes. Do not use boring treats. Use treats that make your dog's eyes pop out of his head!
8. Keep training session short and fun. Quit the session while the dog still wants more. Leave him hanging and he will work harder in the next session.
9. If your dog does something really great, click and jackpot. A jackpot is when you give the dog a bunch of treats (6-10) at one time. Give the dog the jackpot all at once. Do not hand him one tiny treat at the time. The idea here is for your dog to feel like he won the lottery!
10. Do not use the clicker to call your dog to you. You will find that the sound of the click gives you a strong reaction from your dog, but if you use this sound to bring the dog to you the power of the click will diminish.