The clicker tells a dog ‘good job’, specifically it means a treat is coming within three seconds. The clicker works because it is a consistent sound that acts as a bridge between the right action and when we fumble around and finally get the treat ready. Timing is crucial in training and the clicker helps us achieve that perfect timing. Studies show that dogs trained on a clicker learn information faster and retain the knowledge longer.
The second problem is fear. Some timid dogs are afraid of the clicker. It is worth getting your dog over that fear however, as the benefits of clicker training far outweigh a little initial nervousness. If your dog is afraid of the clicker, try hiding it behind your back or muffling it in your pocket. As soon as he realizes that the click means a treat is coming, he will start to warm up to it.
How to clicker train
To teach your dog that click=treat, take a handful of treats and click and treat until you run out. It only takes a few tries for your dog to get the hang of the clicker. Once he knows it, use it when he performs a right action. For example, if you cue “come” and he comes, then you want to immediately click and treat. Dogs anticipate the reward and that anticipation (along with the actual treat itself) becomes part of the reward.