Who Uses Clicker Training?

From the famous to the familiar, animal trainers are using conditioned reinforcers to train their charges and friends!

updated Novmember 21, 2001
Students of the All Species Clicker Class
"The All-Species Clicker Class" here includes horses, llamas, and dogs working together



The Famous * The Exotic * Marine Mammals * Canine Champions and Service Dogs * Pets * Horses




The Famous

Babe the Pig
Babe the Pig

Animal trainer Karl Lewis Miller has used conditioned reinforcers to train animals such as Babe the Pig, the sheep, geese, and dogs, from the movie Babe, Beethoven the St. Bernard from Beethoven, Jerry Lee from K-9, the dog for Cujo, and a thousand hamsters for The Nutty Professor. Read a CNN Showbiz article or a Detroit News article about the trainer and his experiences with Babe. This Movienet article discusses how "obeying commands brought a click sound a food reward" and "Each species of animal was trained to react to a specific sound. Pigs responded to a clicker, sheep to a pennywhistle, ducks to a buzzer and dogs to their masters voice".

Moose, or 'Eddie' on 'Frasier'
Clicker-trained Moose plays "Eddie"

Moose, the wire-haired Jack Russell Terrier who plays "Eddie" on the TV show Frazier, is allegedly clicker trained by trainers Mary Kay Snyder and Mathilde De Cagny. Photo copyright NBC.

Bongo the Lion, star of The Ghost and The Darkness and other movies, is famous for his work with his animal trainer who uses positive reinforcement techniques.


Bo and Spot
Spot and Bo, Advertising Stars

Spot and his son Bo, both Jack Russell Terriers, are trained by the modest and incredible Pat Robards in Australia. Spot is the star of a series of ads for Telecom New Zealand. With clicker training, Spot has learned to ride a skateboard, push a vacuum cleaner, dig a hole on cue, and carry lots of telephones! (Spot and Bo area also "spokesdogs" for the New Zealand No Bully campaign). Photo copyright of Telecom New Zealand.



Bird trainers have a great resource for clicker training with the bird clicker list, Bird-Click, and training page, webbed by Melinda Johnson. Bird trainers have taught a variety of behaviors like allowing handling, spreading wings, waving a foot, and even playing catch, playing basketball and retrieving! A whole web page focusing on clicker testimonials can be found here.

Carmen the Iguana
Carmen the Iguana is clicker-trained

Elizabeth TeSelle is using clicker training to train her iguana, Carmen, in Tennessee. See Carmen's Page for more information.

Sue Ailsby uses clicker training for her llovely llamas on her llama llocation (farm) in Saskatchewan, Canada.

Laura Bourhemme trains pot-bellied pigs (as well as dogs) with her clicker in Los Angeles, CA.

There are ferret trainers out there - let me know who you are!


Marine Mammals

Marine mammal trainers have been using conditioned reinforcers for years - usually with a whistle instead of a clicker. Keiko, the star of Free Willy, Shamu from Sea World and other orcas, dolphins, seals, and sea lions have learned their tricks through clicker training. Sea World has a web page on marine mammal training and how animals learn.

Elele and Matthias
Here, Elele inspects a shape she can see (but not echolocate on) before choosing the identical shape from a pair she can echolocate on (but not see). Her trainer Matthias wears opaque goggles to prevent him from accidentally cueing her choice.

Bottlenosed dolphins Phoenix, Akeakamai, Elele and Hiapo are helping researchers explore the mysteries of dolphin language, intelligence, perception and cognition at the Kewalo Basin Marine Mammal Lab. Under the direction of Dr. Lou Herman and Dr. Adam Pack, trainers use whistles, fish, and over 200 cues to teach these four dolphins a variety of research tasks.



Canine Champions and Service Dogs

A number of canine competition winners are using the gentler methods of clicker training to achieve their wins. A partial list is at Karen Pryor's Clicker Training Honor Roll. There is an e-mail discussion list devoted to competition clicker training, the Click! for Success list. To subscribe to this list, send this in the body of an email message to majordomo@clickforsuccess.com, "subscribe clickforsuccess your_email@whereyouare.com"

Sue "eh?" Ailsby gives seminars on clicker training, which she uses to train her dogs, Scuba, her Portuguese Water Dog, and Song, her Giant Schnauzer. She also trains her llovely llamas with the clicker.
Elizabeth TeSelle and Emma
Elizabeth TeSelle and Emma

Elizabeth TeSelle teaches clicker training classes in Nashville, TN. She also writes a series of articles on positive training methods for the National Pet Gazette. Here she's posing with Emma, her All American (mixed breed) and some of the competition ribbons clicker training has helped them win. Elizabeth is also training her pet iguana, Carmen, with clicker training - see above.

Carol Dunster's award-winning Silky Terriers learn how to pose with clicker training in Washington State. "I have been breeding and showing dogs for more than 21 years with good success, but my successes with Silky Terriers are really taking off now that I have discovered clicker training them. I have a two year old Silky bitch, Belle, that has always been pretty soft in temperament. She started out showing pretty well (pre-clicker), but went to the Silky National Specialty and hated the Hotel and was very unhappy for the whole period. I was unable to show her for several months after that Then I took her to a clicker training seminar... The next show she was still nervous but would trot with her tail up and by three more shows, just by clicking her when her tail was up she showed well enough to win the bitch points and to go on in non-regular competition to win a Bred By Exhibitor Group One! The judge made a comment that led me to believe that she thought I had an unstoppable showing fool!"

Pamela Helen's Max of Bethel, CDX

Mary Anne Harral uses clicker training with Max (Pamela Helen's Max of Bethel CDX), her Bichon Frise champion, in California. Max is now learning utility exercises with the clicker. And Mary Anne's three other dogs and cats are learning clicker training, too!

Many service dogs, trained to aid people with physical handicaps, are now being clicker trained. Nina Bondarenko, Training Programme Director at Canine Partners for Independence (UK), writes: "All of our CPI assistance dogs are trained from the age of seven weeks using clickers. The puppy walkers are taught in the first class and thereafter, each weekly class they must attend has a section for clicker training." The puppies are trained to open washing machines and press switches, among other things.

CPI pup learning to do laundry
CPI pup learning to do laundry

One of Nina's students has won the "Golden Bonio" award! Check out Endal's website

Debi Davis and Peek, her clicker-trained Papillon won the Delta Society 1999 National Service Dog of the Year! Read their story about how they discovered clicker training (you might want to have some tissues at hand!).







Red Sarna and Bear
Bear fetches a frisbee in spite of the distraction of the camera!

Red Sarna and Bear, a Labrador retriever, use clicker training in Maine. Here Red is clicking Bear for a nice Frisbee retrieve. (Note that while the clicker does not need to be pointed in your animal's face, it was the only way Red could get it in the picture. If you can see the weird look on Bear's face, it's from seeing the camera covering Red's!)

Victoria Farrington uses clicker training to work with Dash and Shiva, and a number of rescue terriers in Virginia. Victoria uses creative positive reinforcements, such as The Magic Box, and impressive negative punishments, like the neighborhood soccer-playing kids who freeze the fun, or a friends' dogs who turn into boring "slabs of labs" when Dash ignores a cue.
John Hamilton and Cody
Cody the "Malaraptor"


Cody the Malaraptor ("a malamute-veloceraptor cross") is trained by John Hamilton in Australia. The clicker has helped John teach this big strong sled dog not to pull on his leash. From John's posts on ClickTrain, Cody must be quite a handful - but clicker training is helping them get along better.

Shannon Brauchli of Finland reports that her Australian Shepherd, Emma, has been exclusively clicker trained. She hopes to pass her Canine Good Citizen this May.

Maus (Nicholas)
The clicker helps Maus strut his stuff!

Corrina Perrone Smith of Colorado uses clicker training with her Samoyed, Nicholas (a.k.a. Maus). Here's Maus after winning First Prize in his puppy class! Maus has a MausHaus with more adorable puppy pictures.

Sandy is very grateful that she discovered clicker training for her two German Shepherd Dogs, Bob and Fuzzy. "We are so grateful that some kind soul took me by the hand and told me about c/t. Prior to that I had two GSDs that I adored (and still do) but who were suffering. It is such a joy to know I don't have to "alpha roll" anyone to teach them who is boss. Our relationship has improved dramatically. What a gift. People can't stop hugging him and comment on how 'well trained' he is!"

Kim Burrell's clicker-trained boxer, Bay, doesn't seem to know that boxers are supposed to be "hard to train"! Visit Bay's Homepage for more information!

Sadie is Elizabeth Exum's 3-yr old Dalmatian. Elizabeth writes: "She came to us at 1-yr.-old with little or no knowledge of obedience commands. I tried various ways to persuade her to lie down and gave up on it. 'Stay' was something I shouted at her as she disappeared at a gallop up the driveway. She shied away from strangers and children. We gave up trying to take her out on fun excursions with us. This was all BC [Before Clicker]. Since I discovered clicker training just a few weeks ago she sits promptly almost every time, has learned 'down' by luring. She will walk on a long flexi without pulling some of the time, and will heel for very short periods-usually looking up for a treat but sometimes just doing it spontaneously as if it has become a comfortable way to walk. She learned to touch a target in one short session. In short - she's so much better to live with! I thought she was sort of dumb, frankly, and now she keeps surprising me. I just didn't have an effective way to tell her what I wanted, and without a way to communicate, I didn't have much motivation to keep trying."


Alexandra Kurland is at the forefront of bringing clicker training to the equestrian world. Visit her website, Riding in a State of Excellence, for more information on clicker training for your horse. One of her students is pictured below.
Bob and Crackers dance "The Electric Slide" with some friends!


Marie Gulliford has trained horses, as well as cows, pigs, dogs, puppies, cats, a kitten, and a Cockatoo with the clicker. She teaches clicker classes and hosts a monthly clicker group meeting at her training facility, The Country Clicker.

...And YOU!

If you're interested in trying clicker training, go here to read a "How to Get Started". This page is geared towards dog owners but could be used by anyone. Or here for another one. Or go here for a "How to Get Started" page geared towards bird owners (but could be used by anyone) or here for one geared to horse riders (but could be used...)

If you're already a clicker trainer, and think your story or picture will help introduce others to this exciting world, please send them to me!

Return to the main clicker page - links, resources, and the theory behind clicker training.