Perfect for Beagle Training…
By Kellie Wynn (The Beagle Lady)
Clickers were made with beagles in mind.
Not only are beagles super-intelligent, but they can also be high energy. This means that when training them, marking the behaviour with verbal commands and treats can be tricky because they’re off to the next thing!
Beagles can become confused and don’t know what we want from them if we don’t mark the desired behaviour immediately and timely.
The clicker makes things simple for you and takes away the need to use a marker word. Words aren’t always the best thing to use in training.
My name is Kellie Wynn, and I exclusively train beagles in basic training and behaviour training. I am a massive fan of using tools to train beagles. This takes away any confusion and creates a positive association for our beagles.
As well as clickers, I also use whistles for recall training. 99% of my clients have seen a marked improvement in recall, with some clients finally being in a position to let their beagles have off-lead time.
Clickers can be used to train your beagle in basic behaviours such as sit, lie down, and wait. But can also be used to help overcome fear and curtail negative behaviours.
So how does a clicker work?
First of all, you’ll need to get your beagle used to the clicker and making that positive association with the clicker. This is as simple as clicking and giving your beagle a treat.
If your beagle is scared of the sound, try clicking behind your back or muffle the sound with a sleeve. It’s best not to point the clicker at your beagle; they will just stare at the clicker and not concentrate on you.
You click, treat, click, treat, click, treat, for about 1-2 minutes, 3-4 times a day. Do this for a couple of days. Some trainers suggest longer. However, as we all know, beagles are not only smart, but very food orientated and make the association quickly.
Once you start using it either to train your beagle or to minimise unwanted behaviour, the key is to click at the right time.
For example, whining – My Billy loved to whine at dinner time. I had a clicker next to me with some yummy treats. I went about preparing his dinner, waiting for a quiet moment in the whining. And with Billy, this was just a matter of 2-3 seconds. But as soon as he was quiet, I clicked and dropped a treat to the floor. If he went back to whining, I would ignore him until he was quiet again. Clicked and dropped a treat.
Once his dinner was ready, I ignored him until he was quiet, and then I turned to him and placed the bowl on the floor.
Another example is fear – if your beagle is scared of the hoover. Place the hoover in the middle of the room (switched off). As your beagle starts to move towards the hoover – click and drop a treat near them. Keep doing this for every step they take as they get closer to the hoover. When they then sniff it – click and drop a treat. If they carry on sniffing the hoover keep clicking and treating.
Once your beagle is comfortable with sniffing the hoover, direct them away and turn it on. Just leave the hoover in place. Repeat the steps above – taking steps towards the hoover, sniffing it, all while it’s on.
If your beagle is only happy to sniff the hoover while it’s turned off, that’s ok. Try to progress over the coming days.
You can use this same concept for the car.
Click and treat for taking steps towards it, sniffing it, getting in the car, staying in the car with the engine on, and then when the vehicle is in motion.
It can take a few days to get to the point of movement, but I am a huge fan of baby steps over some time.
You can use clicker training to encourage loose lead walking.
There will be tiny snippets of time when your beagle gives you a loose lead, immediately click and drop a treat to the floor by their nose.
Patience, time and consistency are required as it may take a few days for your beagle to make the association between loose lead and positivity.
I hope that this little snippet into clicker training helps. It really is a fantastic tool and provides a way for you and your beagle to communicate without confusion.
If you have a particular behaviour you would like help with, place a comment below and I’ll explain how you can use the clicker to minimise or eliminate the behaviour.