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Published on Nov 6, 2006
Watch this amazing clip and see how clicker training works for even the most stubborn of animals. In this example a mule that had been abused and then rescued is afraid of entering a specific stall. The trainer uses clicker training with the mule and the animal is eventually able to overcome the fears.
"Clicker training" is the popular term for the training or teaching method based on what we know about how living organisms learn.
Research has shown that any creature—whether a dog, cat, dolphin, parrot, fish, horse, llama, or person—is more likely to learn and repeat actions that result in consequences it desires and enjoys. So clicker trainers provide consequences desired by their animal in exchange for actions or behaviors desired by their trainers.
We call these consequences "rewards" and the process is called "reinforcement." Clicker training, therefore, is a positive-reinforcement-based system of training.
First widely used by dolphin trainers who needed a way to teach behavior without using physical force, operant conditioning (the scientific term for clicker training) can be and has been successfully employed with animals of all sizes and species, both domesticated and wild, young and old; all breeds of dogs and puppies, cats, birds, leopards, rats, rabbits, chinchillas, fish, and more.
Clicker trainers who learn the underlying principles have at their disposal a powerful set of tools that enable them to analyze behaviors, modify existing methods for individual animals, and create new methods where none previously existed. This flexibility allows the tools of clicker training to be re-invented in new forms that work in a range of situations, and for an infinite variety of animals.
The same principles have also been applied to training for athletes, dancers, skaters, and other people. Called "TAGteach," this form of training uses a click as a marker signal to teach precise physical motions quickly, accurately, and positively.