Frequently Asked Questions
What does the
Clicking vs. “Good
Do I have to continue
clicking and treating forever?
How long will it take
to train my dog?
How long should I
train/work with my dog?
Where should I
Is a lot of experience
required to clicker train
Will clicker training
work with my dog?
My dog isn't food
motivated, what do I do?
Won't my dog get fat
if I feed him every time I train
Why should I choose a
Certified Professional Dog
Why don't you use
choke chains or prong collars in
What is your
opinion of electronic (shock)
the clicker do?
- The clicker takes the focus off
the reward so your dog can
concentrate on what he was doing at
the particular moment in time that
he did the correct behavior. You can
think of it like a camera taking a
picture of the exact behavior you
like. A good example is training a
dolphin at Sea World to jump over a
pole. As the animal jumps over the
pole the trainer can click to tell
the dolphin he was correct, and then
much later after swimming back to
the trainer the dolphin receives his
fish for the behavior. If the
trainer just gave him the fish with
no click, then the dolphin might
think that having his head out of
the water with his mouth open is
what earned him the fish and not the
vs. “Good Boy!’
- The clicker is consistent and
always sounds exactly the same. It
has been tested scientifically that
neurons in the brain can connect
faster and more easily a tone that
sounds exactly the same to pleasure
rather than a voice. If you are
using a clicker you are actually
conditioning the dog to find the
behaviors reinforcing in themselves.
Also, voice carries the trainer’s
emotion, and people are talking all
the time to their dog’s, so it is
hard to make a novel sound used only
for training sessions with one’s
Do I have
to continue clicking and treating
- No. Clicker training is used to
teach/learn new behaviors. Once the
behavior is learned, the clicker
isn't needed any more for that
behavior—although praise and treats
will always be appreciated. Whenever
you want to train a new
behavior/fine-tune an old one, or
change environments that may be more
distracting use the clicker.
will it take to train my dog?
- Her whole life!
Seriously, this is an impossible
question to answer. It depends on
you, your dog, and your training
goals. We have dogs that are
continually learning – especially if
you continue to train and teach
- Training a dog is like a person
that learns another language. If you
do not use it you lose it!
- At the end of a family dog class,
some dogs are well on the way to
being reliable with their basic cues
and behaviors, others still have a
long way to go. Once you have
completed family dog training, you
can find opportunities to continue
your dog's education to more
advanced levels, where he will
become reliably responsive to your
hand signals and voice cues, even at
a distance, even in very distracting
environments. You may also want to
take the Tricks class, which is fun
for dogs and their humans.
- Finally, if you choose to do so,
you can pursue training even further
and explore the almost endless list
of great dog sports (agility, canine
freestyle, Rally-O, and more).
- Dogs have the ability to learn
200 words – let’s do our best to
teach them as many “good words” as
should I train/work with my dog?
- Short 2-3 minute sessions! Play a
game at the end to celebrate
successes. If you spread out short
sessions throughout the day a dog
will learn much faster than a long
session once a day. Train during
commercial breaks when watching TV
or when you are out walking with
should I train?
- With little or no distractions in
the beginning. Different rooms in
your house with no other dogs, or
animals. Eventually progress to the
yard, the street, and distracting
places with other dogs and people.
Is a lot
of experience required to clicker
- Absolutely not. Clicker training
is easy to learn. A part of clicker
training that may take some practice
is timing the clicks to capture the
exact behavior you are seeking. But
don't worry; clicker training is so
forgiving and so much fun for
everyone that you don't have to
worry about mistakes.
clicker training work with my dog?
- Yes. Clicker training works with
all breeds, all ages, all types of
dogs, purebred and rescue, champions
and house companions.
isn't food motivated, what do I do?
- Food is the most popular reward,
but anything your dog loves can be
used as a reward. Throwing a tennis
ball or a game of tug are both
highly motivating rewards.
- If you would like to use food
treats, be sure that your tidbits
are especially yummy (bits of
hotdogs, cheese, or meat) and that
your dog's meals do not immediately
precede a training session.
dog get fat if I feed him every time
I train him?
- No. Tiny amounts pieces of food
are used a treats. Small is
important because you want your dog
to be able to eat it and be "ready
to play clicker" some more. Clicker
training is also good exercise and
highly stimulating (mentally). Dogs
work when they clicker train! You
may also wish to substitute a
clicker session for one of your
dog's regular mealtimes.
I choose a Certified Professional
Because you want the best for your
dog! Dog training certifications are
not all the same. The Certification
Council for Professional Dog Trainers’
certification is an international
certification process for dog training
professionals. The Certified
Professional Dog Trainer-Knowledge
Assessed credential is respected
within the industry and has been
developed using consistent, recognized
Whether you're looking for group
classes or private training services,
you'll want a quality training
experience that is effective for you
and your dog. Certified Professional
Dog Trainers-Knowledge Assessed are
experienced trainers who are committed
to continuing education and
CPDT-KA: Setting the Standard for
Dog Training Worldwide!
Did You Know?
The CCPDT's certification exam and
recommended study materials have been
developed by leading industry
professionals and are updated
regularly to maintain a consistent
level of integrity.
CPDT-KA certified trainers have
passed a rigorous exam to attain
certification. They must recertify
every three years by obtaining
continuing education units available
through approved educational
opportunities, or by retaking the
exam. Only trainers who have passed
the exam and who meet the CCPDT's
experience and continuing education
requirements can earn and maintain the
The CPDT-KA Commitment to
- To provide accurate, truthful
advertising and representations
concerning my qualifications,
experience, performance of services,
the preparation of costs of services
and expected results.
- To act in an honest and ethical
manner and work within my
professional limits when interacting
with the public and providing dog
- To refrain from providing
guarantees regarding the specific
outcome of training.
- To maintain and respect the
confidentiality of information
obtained from clients in the course
of professional activities.
- To continue professional
development as required for
maintaining CPDT-KA credential in
accordance with the policies of the
When you need
a dog trainer, choose a CPDT-KA.
Your dog will thank you!
For more information and to learn
more about dog trainer certification,
you use choke chains or prong
collars in your training?
Choke chains and prong collars are
tools of compulsion training,
dependent on your willingness to force
your dog to comply with your commands.
We at Pam’s Dog Academy use positive
reinforcement training, meaning that
we consistently reward the behaviors
that we want from our dogs, and manage
or ignore (when possible) the
behaviors that we don't want. Because
all living things repeat behaviors
that are rewarding to them, by using
positive reinforcement we can get our
dogs to voluntarily give us the
behaviors we want, rather than forcing
them. We don't risk damaging our
relationships with our canine best
friends through the use of force and
punishment, and we don't risk the
physical harm that can occur with the
use of punishment-based tools. For
more information on the damage caused
by choke chains, visit my blog at:
- Training is not just about
getting our dogs to respond to a
list of commands. Training is about
relationship - our way of being with
our dogs. Choke chains and prong
collars rely on pain to force
compliance. We don’t have to
hurt our dogs to train them, so why
would I use tools that, by
definition, causes pain?
your opinion of electronic (shock)
At Pam’s Dog Academy we don’t use them
and cannot conceive of any training
challenge where it would be necessary
to use one. Dogs can be trained and it
is possible to train our dogs without
inflicting pain on them. Why should we
hurt our dogs if we do not have to.
- By the way, don't be fooled by
shock collar salespeople who try to
tell you that the collars tingle,
tickle, stimulate, or in some other
euphemistic way just "get a dog's
attention." Electric shock hurts.
Ask them if you can put the collar
on your own neck and turn it up to
the highest level.
- At Pam’s Dog Academy we believe
in the importance of education for
us, as trainers, for our clients and
of course, the dogs we all love.
Through continued education and
learning, we’ve discovered leading
behaviorists, trainers and other dog
professionals believe in non-forced
- Dr. Ian Dunbar: He
is a leading authority on
canine behavior and training. He
received his veterinary degree and a
Special Honors degree in Physiology
and Biochemistry from the Royal
Veterinary College at London
University. He went on to obtain a
doctorate degree in animal behavior
from the University of California at
Berkeley where he is the Director of
the Center for Applied Animal
Behavior Department. Among Dr.
Dunbar's other credits are numerous
books, videos and a dog training
television show in the UK. He is
also the founder of the Association
of Pet Dog Trainers. Most recently,
Ian, his wife Kelly and son James
put their heads together and created
an international online resource for
dog and puppy owners called The Dog