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Blazing Clickers

Posted Susan Friedman Ph.D. on 6/5/2017

Marian Kruse and Keller Breland were among the first trainers to use clickers about 70 years ago. Since then, this noisemaker has become a popular tool with animal trainers around the world. Used correctly, the clicker is a precise event marker that leads to clear communication about the contingency between a behavior and its consequence, thus strengthening the behavior it follows. However, some trainers misuse clickers by haphazardly sounding them repeatedly without contiguous delivery of a primary or other back up reinforcer after each click. We call this practice Blazing Clickers. Without the requisite, strong, click-treat history and systematic plan, this common practice of solo clicking often leads to respondent extinction of the clicker’s reinforcing strength, poor learning progress, and aggression.