The Best Dog Training Clickers

Aside from being infinitely rewarding, having a pet can also be quite a challenge. Teaching Charlie or Lulu how to behave is a complicated, albeit essential task, especially if your pooch is a puppy. That's where these clickers come in. Dog training clickers utilize sound as a behavioral cue. By using positive reinforcement, these contraptions help your pooch learn proper housebreaking habits, appropriate social behavior, and even clever tricks. While there isn't much variety from model to model, factors like comfort, click volume, and ergonomics make a difference. We've examined the best dog training clickers on the market, and here are the four we've decided upon.

Karen Pryor i-Click

I Click With You

The Karen Pryor i-Click is resonant without being frighteningly loud, and it's easy on those with arthritis or hand injuries.
Best Overall Clicker

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If you’ve done some preliminary research on the best training clickers out there, chances are you’ve stumbled upon this one numerous times. It’s something of an industry favorite, both for its price, ergonomic design, and ubiquity. Naturally, then, it’s our #1 pick. We really like that this one comes in a five-pack because this lets you place one in every room. You won’t have to worry about carrying a single clicker in your pocket throughout the day. If you have an extra leftover, you can use the lanyard loop to clip it on to a wrist strap or to your belt loop, too. Besides all that, we like that’s easy to press, even for those with arthritic hands. It only requires a little force, and the resulting click is strong and resonant without being loud enough to frighten your furry friend.

Pros:

  • Low cost per unit
  • Can also be clicked by foot

Cons:

  • The lanyard loop is a bit flimsy

PetSafe Click-R Trainer

Easy Does It

Rather than emitting a harsh, shrill thwack, this one's sound is soft and pleasant. It's ideal for skittish dogs with trauma, sound sensitivity, or general jumpiness.
Best Soft Sound

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Though many people do want a loud clicker for their K9, we’re aware that plenty of others want just the opposite. After all, louder isn’t always better. Maybe your dog is jumpy, sound-sensitive, or otherwise frightful. Well, a harsh, resounding clicker isn’t going to work well, so you can make the dog-training experience much easier for both you and Fifi by buying a unit that clicks gently. For that, the PetSafe Click-R Trainer is the go-to. Its sound is softer than most, but still distinct enough that it’ll stand out. We also like that it’s one of the most comfortable clickers out there, and its finger loop is a welcome feature that makes it even easier to hold.

Pros:

  • Spring functions well
  • Includes a guide to clicker-training
  • The customer service team is US-based
  • Great for dogs with trauma

Cons:

  • Not built to last too long
  • The button may get stuck

Karen Pryor Clik Stik

Target Acquired

Those interested in combining click-training with target training have the perfect 2-in-1 option in the Clik Stik.
Best Multi-Purpose Clicker

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If you’re planning on using a target stick in conjunction with a clicker to train your dog, Karen Pryor’s Clik Stik is your best bet. As a 2-in-1 clicker and retractable target stick, it frees up one hand so you can have the other one free to give your pup treats. While target sticks are less ubiquitous than clickers, there are plenty of folks out there who sweat by them. Essentially, a target stick is a training aid that helps direct your pooch’s movement. The stick has a ball at the end, and by training your dog to follow it, you can teach her to move to particular locations. It’s great for teaching targeting, weave poles, heeling, and a slew of other movement-oriented behaviors. It does take a bit of theoretical know-how to understand what, exactly, you’re supposed to do with the darn thing, but with the help of Terry Ryan’s training guide, which is included, you’ll be able to understand it just fine.

Pros:

  • Telescoping rod expands to 23 inches
  • Great for teaching tricks

Cons:

  • Click is a bit harsh
  • Not the most durable construction

Petco Box Clicker

Petco from the Get-Go

It's simple: for the price, it's a great clicker. It's loud enough to catch the attention of your dog, even if he's hard of hearing.
Best with Loud Volume

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If you’ve been to a dog training course at the well-known pet store, chances are you’ve been given one of these clickers. If not, let us break it down for you. We’ll start with the bad news and get that out of the way. Firstly, it’s not constructed exceptionally well, nor is it particularly comfortable to hold. Despite that, it’s got two things going for it: it’s cheap, and it makes a loud, clear click. While you might assume that a click is a click is a click, that’s simply not the case. If the tone of a click is too shrill, it can frighten or irritate your pooch; on the other hand, if it’s dull and tinny, Fido may not even realize that you’ve made a click at all. Petco’s Box Clicker is loud enough to get the attention of most dogs, even those that are hard of hearing. If you have a big property, this one is especially useful, because your dog may be able to hear the click from across the yard.

Pros:

  • D-ring for keychain included
  • Bright color makes it hard to lose

Cons:

  • Cheaper if purchased in store
  • The clumsy operation for the big-handed

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the advantages of using a clicker for dog training?

A clicker is often considered superior to standard verbal training if you can manage to use it correctly and consistently. ┬áIt often results in dogs learning tricks and commands more quickly. Why? Well, the thinking is that it’s because the click provides a constant tone that we can never reproduce with our voices. The click is a sound cue, and if the cue always sounds the same (as is the case with a clicker), there’s little ambiguity about what the cue is signifying. A voice, on the other hand, can sound different depending on your mood, energy level, or whether or not you have a cold or illness. So when you say “good girl” to Phoebe with a tired, withdrawn weariness in your voice, it may confuse her. The clicker’s consistency is what makes it reliable and more easily controllable.

So what’s the downside?

If you’re going to use a dog training clicker, you really need to understand the methodology behind clicker training. If you don’t use the contraption correctly, then the method is rendered completely ineffective, and in fact, you may end up confusing your dog even more than if you were to do nothing at all. Now, this isn’t to say that clicker training is super complicated or anything. Dog clicker training is actually quite simple, and there are plenty of online resources and in-house training courses at pet stores. A few of the products we included even come with training manuals.

Besides needing to understand the methodology, there are also minor practical drawbacks to using a clicker. Because you need to hold it in your hand, this means you’ll only have one free hand for all the other stuff, like offering treats as rewards, or for luring. You’ll get better at managing this in time, though, as you develop your own system for this. The other practical drawback is the fact that you’ll need to have a clicker on-hand all the time. Because they’re small, they’re easy to lose, but you can mitigate this by simply buying enough to keep one in each of the rooms of your home.