Clicker Alternatives

We discuss some clicker alternatives to training your pet dog.

A clicker, in general, refers to any device which on being clicked, can record, count or control something. The technology used for designing clickers has enabled an instructor to train their dog by replacing verbal commands with clicker commands. 


Clicker Alternatives


This is known as clicker training, where the sound made by a clicker plays an extremely important role in the training procedure of a dog. A clicker works on the mechanism of classical conditioning and becomes an event marker eventually. 

This means that the sound made by a clicker is conditioned to become an even marker for your dog under training by making the clicking noise right before carrying out a specific event. 

The sound of the clicker is associated with an event or task. This clicker sound acts as a signal which the dog begins to understand precisely what event will be followed next. 

What Can Be Some Clicker Alternatives?

Well, it might be difficult for some to purchase a clicker. However, what is important here is to understand the mechanism on which the clicker works to train your dog. More than learning how to use a clicker for dog training, it is important to understand the techniques and tactics which are applied in the training of your dog. 


Clicker Alternatives


There are quite a few clicker alternatives that you can opt for to train your dog properly. Some quick and simple alternatives which can be applied instead of using a clicker for training your dog are:

A Click Sound Can Be Made by Clicking a Ballpoint Pen. 

This is an extremely cheap and smart clicker alternative for training your dog. This clicking sound made on clicking a ballpoint pen is very similar to the typical sound made by using a clicker. 

The clicking of a pen can very easily be associated with any event or task being carried out. Thus, instead of using a typical clicker, using a ballpoint pen for generating a click sound and associating it with a particular event will eventually act as an event marker. 

In consequence, this technique is a great alternative that can train your dog effectively.

Introducing a Particular Sound Like a “Cluck” 

A “cluck” sound from the roof of your mouth with your tongue and then following a particular task or treat can work wonders. Dogs are very attentive towards the sound which you as their owner and trainer make. 


Clicker Alternatives


Moreover, they are very observant about your actions, especially when it comes to giving treats. Maintaining constancy in making the “cluck” sound and then following the task is very effective in conditioning your dog to understand what the stimulus or the “cluck” sound signifies. 

Thus, this series of actions consequently trains your dog and hence can act as a great clicker alternative.  


Whistling can be one of the best tricks which can easily replace a clicker. Just by making a whistle, you can train your dog and make it aware of the action which it will follow. Dogs pay attention to any sound which their trainers make and are more attentive to a whistling sound made by their trainer. However, firstly, the trainer needs to know how to whistle. If you cannot whistle, then this trick is not applicable in your context. Furthermore, you must be aware of the whistling sound that you are making for training your dog. Associating various sounds of your whistle with subsequent actions can often confuse your dog and lead to poor training.

Making a sound

There are multiple ways in which you can make a sound and associate it with any event. Some examples of this can be clapping your hands, snapping your fingers, or even banging a spoon against a plate and so on. 


Clicker Alternatives


These are a few of the most common ways in which you can make a sound and follow any task. Moreover, once you begin to train your dog successfully with this trick, you can add some more variations to this method. 

For example, Clapping your hand once can instruct your dog to sit down, a double clap can be for food or treat, triple clap for going out for a walk, and so on. This higher-order training will only be successful if you had properly trained your dog in the beginning. 

A clear and strong base of understanding the meaning of a sound will consequently help train your dog in a better fashion later on.  


The gesture is a very powerful area that can be used for training a dog. There might be dogs who are deaf and are unable to hear any sound, may it be of a clicker, you snapping your fingers, clapping your hands, or whistling. 

Thus, for such dogs, using a different technique of training is needed. A gesture like reaching both your hand to your pocket before treating your dog or waving your hand as a gesture of going out for a walk can work wonderfully as well for training your dog. 


Clicker Alternatives


However, make sure to repeat these actions several times so that your dog can understand what your gesture signifies. This is extremely important to train your dog properly. 

Things To Remember When Training Your Dog

Training your dog can be done in multiple ways and is not limited to using a clicker. There are diverse yet effective ways in which a dog can be trained very conveniently and in a very cheap way. 

However, merely using some alternatives for a clicker is not all. There are a few imperative aspects to remember when training your dog.

  • Timing is the most important factor which needs to be looked at very carefully when training your dog. Good timing constitutes good training. A short and fixed timing must be given between the action and event so that the dog is conditioned properly.
  • Reinforcement is extremely important too. Once your signal is given and your dog successfully understands its significance, it must be reinforced by means of a treat – food or an appreciating gesture – so that it is reinforced to follow the signal and respond accordingly in the future.
  • Practice is the key to successful training, so train your dog every day. Repeat your training procedure and keep practicing so that your dog is properly trained. Continuing the practice will keep your dog trained in the long run, so never go out of practice.


Thus it can be concluded that despite clicker acting as the best instructor, many alternatives can be used for training your dog.


Clicker Alternatives


More than the equipment used for training your dog, the tricks and tactics play a bigger and vital role in dog training.



[1] How Science is Revolutionizing the World of Dog Training