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Going past the clicker

I deeply appreciate how clickers can teach a client to focus on watching for the good instead of waiting to correct or punish the bad.

I deeply appreciate the value of a clicker in improving observation skills as well as timing. And I'm well aware that the physical movement to click can be organized more quickly than a verbal marker, and that's great when trying to improve training skills.

The paradigm shift that clicker training can make possible can be profound. It's an important step towards a new understanding and a new approach to dogs.

No question that at times, a clicker can be darn useful as a training tool. Yet... for many, it becomes a way of life, and a stopping point where communication skills may grow much further.

I suggest that if someone has mastered using a clicker to mark behavior, they then take the next step to using verbal and non-verbal markers. In other words, move closer and closer to the level of fluid, complex and often very subtle conversations that dogs have all the time, with us, with each other, even with other species.

Dogs don't speak in crisp clicks but with their whole beings; seems only reasonable that we learn to respond in kind. Put down the clicker, if only for a bit, and speak with your whole being.

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"Going Past the Clicker" by Suzanne Clothier

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