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Does Clicker Training Work For For Aggressive Dogs?

An angry looking dog that looks just about ready to bite.

For the most part, our furry four-legged canine companions are friendly and loving. But sometimes dogs can be aggressive. Dog aggression is a common problem for dog owners. However, this problem can be solved. One of the suggested solutions is a clicker. But does dog clicker training work for aggressive dogs?

Clicker training is highly effective for aggressive dogs and proven that it works. The clicker lets the dog know that it has done something right and that it will get a reward. Dogs will learn to act in a specific manner to hear the click and get its bonus, which is generally a favorite food of the dog.

If you have tried everything and still your dog is aggressive, then you should try clicker training. You may just be in for a pleasant surprise. 

Read on to learn how training your dog with a clicker can help you communicate more effectively with your dog and help with your dog’s aggression. Every dog owner wants their dog to get along with everyone, and be part of the pack. 

What Is Clicker Training? 

Dog clicker training is a form of training for dogs that concentrates on the good things a dog does, not the bad. Clicker training can have a significant effect on how your dog behaves especially aggressive dogs.

You can think of clicker training as another positive reinforcement tool that adds some fun and anticipation for dogs.  

A clicker is a small metal item that is mechanical and makes a clicking sound. Dogs will remember that they will get rewarded for doing something right and that they most likely will get more if they continue with the good behavior that they did to get the click and treat in the first place.

A win-win situation. The dog gets a treat, and you get good behavior from your dog. 

The clicker’s benefit is that it lets your dog know what good behavior you are rewarding for. By clicking at the exact moment your dog does what you want, you are marking the moment. Therefore, your dog does not have to guess at what behavior you wanted.

For example, if you are training your dog to high five, you click the exact moment the dog’s paw touches your hand. 

Using a clicker for training shaves off the time it takes for your dog to learn something new. It can also increase the bond between you and your dog, as well as manage bad behavior with simple steps.  

Why Clicker Training Is Helpful With Aggressive Dogs

Clicker training is beneficial for training dogs. But, it is incredibly helpful in working with and training aggressive dogs. Here are the many reasons why clicker training works with aggressive dogs. 

  • Clicker training can help modify behaviors such as training a canine to be calm, which is typically hard to accomplish with aggressive dogs, given that they are anxious a lot of the time.
  • Using a clicker provides further communication, which is essential, especially with an aggressive dog.  
  • Avoid conflict because clicker training provides a hands-off approach. So there is no reason to get physical with an aggressive dog. 
  • Promotes self-awareness in canines
  • Fun for dogs, therefore, puts them in a positive state which will mean less of a chance for the dog to become aggressive
  • Dogs feel they are in control of the clicker because they get something out of it. And as soon as the dog has done something right, it will be rewarded.
  • This type of training reduces stress. There is no physical contact, so an aggressive dog can feel comfortable and not anxious.
  • Clicker training is fun for dogs, so it can encourage you to train daily with your dog, giving you more time to bond. Aggressive dogs need to bond with their handler to be trained well and react positively to the training.
  • Clicker training can be fun, encouraging you to work more frequently with your dog. The more time spent on training your aggressive dog, the faster you can teach it to be non-aggressive.
  • Helpful in teaching your dog many different behaviors, such as moving to an area when instructed, which helps you manage aggression safely and efficiently.
  • Using this method of training is predictive. When you have predictable outcomes, training can be more fun and satisfying while keeping your dog mentally healthy and active.

How Does Clicker Training Help With Aggressive Dogs?

Clicker training keeps your dog paying attention to the clicker and the reward after they hear the clicker. So, this type of training can help even an aggressive dog. It focuses on good behavior, not the bad. An aggressive dog may not be used to positive reinforcement, and many people get frustrated and upset with their aggressive dog.

Dogs pick up on our mood and how we feel towards them, and we want them to feel happy and comfortable around us, not scared and anxious.

Clicker training helps with aggressive dogs by giving them something to look forward to and pleasing their owner. Every dog wants to make its owner happy. Since this type of training is all about doing good things, the dog will not hear negative comments like ‘no,’ or ‘bad dog.’ The positive training will make the dog feel happy and less aggressive.

Example Of Clicker Training For Aggressive Dogs

An excellent example of training an aggressive dog with a clicker is dogs that get aggressive toward other dogs. You see this more often than not. Some dogs just go crazy when they see another dog! They will lunge, growl, bite, and bark at all dogs that come across their path.

This is where clicker training can come in handy. You can train your dog not to be aggressive toward other dogs.  

It is a good idea to hire a trainer for this type of training before going out and trying it yourself. A trainer knows what they are doing and will be able to teach you the proper way. 

While out on a walk with your dog, the trainer will reward the dog for anything but acting aggressively toward the other dog. Trainers will typically make sure that they stimulate the dog’s brain before going for a walk. A dog will be more relaxed and less likely to act aggressively.

 Your dog trainer will keep the dog distracted with the clicker and food rewards. It may take a few times to get it right, and that is okay. Remember not to get angry with your dog if it does not do what you want the first few times. Aggressive dogs can take longer to train, but it is possible. So work hard, and always praise your dog for doing a good job.  

Why Dogs Are Eager To Train With A Clicker

Dogs are eager to train with a clicker because they get a few treats. First, they get the click for being a good dog, and then they get a treat. A dream come true for dogs. Two treats! If this is not enough motivation, then I don’t know what is. 

Well, there are a few other reasons why they would be so eager to train! Dogs love praise. Since clicker training is all about the good things dogs do, that means lots of praise for our furry friends. And we all know that dogs will do almost anything praise. 

Dogs also like a challenge and love to solve problems. Clicker training offers both. This type of training will get your dog using its skills to figure out what behavior you are rewarding for. Your dog will be able to figure this out within a few sessions. 


When dealing with an aggressive dog, training can be hard and frustrating for both dog and human. But that does not mean that it isn’t possible. Clicker training does work on aggressive dogs and is one of the best ways to help train your aggressive dog.  

Clicker training focuses on the good things your dog does, instead of the bad ones. This type of training is called positive reinforcement and can shape the way your dog behaves. Clicker training can help build a better bond between you and your dog.

Give it a try if you have already tried everything else. Hire a trainer to show you the proper way to use a clicker for training. You have nothing to lose and a lot to gain! 

Have you tried clicker training? Let us know how it worked out for you and your dog. 

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Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use clicker training on my puppy?

Puppies are full of energy and have a very short attention span. Clicker training may not be the most suitable type of training for your puppy. Puppies need socialization classes very early in their lives, as it will shape them into the adults they will become.

Once a puppy has gone through the socialization stage, and is a little older, you can start training using different techniques such as clicker training. 

How long should a clicker training session be?

Clicker training sessions should be around ten minutes. Dogs do their best learning in short bursts. Long sessions that go past thirty minutes will not benefit you or your dog. A dog will get bored and may decide it wants to do something else and, therefore, not pay any more attention to the training. 


  1. Stephanie Gibeault, MSc, CPDT, Mark and Reward-Using Clicker Training To Commute With Your Dog,
  2. Wikipedia- Clicker Training,
  3. Janusz Strychalski, Google Scholar: //
  4. The Kennel Club- Press release:
  5. KPTC-What Is Clicker Training?-

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