“The Clicker Thing” Really Works!

A few weeks ago I met with a client for a private lesson with her reactive Border Collie, Fred. We’ve been doing lessons for a while now. At that lesson she confessed that for several weeks she had been thinking “this clicker thing” (AKA engage/disengage game) was not going to work at all. She told me that she trusted me and had been giving it a good try even though she wasn’t convinced. She said that once she really put in the time it “totally started to work.”

Last weekend (just over one month since that conversation), I graduated Fred and his mom from their private lessons. I always send out a survey to get feedback from my clients’ regarding their experience of training with me. She wrote a whole bunch of stuff about how much more fun it is to go for a walk with Fred now that he is calmer but here’s the part that made me proud and made me laugh: “Jennifer is spot on with her training. We questioned one or two things along the way thinking that they would not help or work. We followed her instructions to a “T” though, and were proved wrong every time. She knew what she was talking about, and if her instructions are followed exactly, the results are there. It was amazing!”

Now, here’s my confession: I was faking it.

I took Sarah’s seminar last March and started trying the “clicker thing” with a couple of clients as soon as I got home. I’ve been training dogs professionally for about 6 years and have done marker training before but I had never used a clicker to deal with reactivity. I gave this client a clicker and bait bag and told her that we were going to try out this new stuff I had learned. She knew I was experimenting with her and her dog and she was willing to give it a shot. There was no question in my mind that click-for-looking/click-for-looking-away works. I was just crossing my fingers that I could get it to work for Fred and his mom. I’ve been struggling for a long time with how to help clients with reactive dogs. Way too long. This is not the first reactive dog that I’ve graduated since taking Sarah’s seminar but the feedback on this one is immensely satisfying. Thank you Sarah!

– Jennifer Frese – Wenatchee, WA