1) Before you try to introduce the clicker to the dog, click the clicker in another room, with the door shut.
2) There is a tendency to unconsciously point the clicker at the dog's ears – like a TV clicker. To prevent this, hold your hand behind your back for the first few clicks.
3) Put the clicker in your pocket.
4) Sit on the ground and rock your thigh (or buns) on top of the clicker. This will mute the sound.
Once you are sure that the dog is not afraid of the clicker, start making the association between the clicks and treats.
1) Click the clicker – pause a second – give the treat. This is such a simple task that most people do not do it precisely, the
first few times. Read the instructions again. The pause between the click and the treat is critical. You must make sure that
during that pause, you make NO MOVE TO GRAB OR OFFER THE TREAT! -- Make sure your hand does not move at
all! If you do, the dog will look at your body motion rather than listening for the click. This will dramatically weaken the dog's association between the clicker and the treats.
2) Treats – a treat should be anything that the dog can gulp down in one bite. Traditional bait, like baked or dried liver is
excellent. Rollover and small bits of turkey hot dogs are also good. Crunchy treats are not preferred – they take too long to eat and they leave distracting crumbs on the ground.
3) Don't bother to shape any behaviors, at this point. You are merely trying to create an association. Your goal is to make it so that the dog startles when he/she hears the click – period.
4) This process is usually complete within 20-50 repetitions. If you try a short 15-20 treat session daily, in less than a week you will have a very clicker savvy dog!