A: The clicker is simply a marker—a distinctive sound that marks a specific behavior that you would like to see repeated. Since your dog is afraid of the clicker (and fear is not rational), it would be best to move to a different marker. You need the marker to be a neutral stimulus; starting out with it as an aversive can take a very long time to change the association. Almost anything can be used as a marker, as long as it is something your dog doesn't hear all the time. Here are a few suggestions for a marker that would be more effective than a just a verbal response:
· Ball-point retractable pen that makes a very soft click
· Mouth click (most people make this sound by clicking their tongues)
· A clicker app (available for most phones). The volume of the click can be adjusted with these apps.
Another question is “Are you using a box clicker or an i-Click?” Box clickers are often louder and sound more metallic than i-Clicks. You may want to try that version of the clicker. Hopefully you can find a marker that is a little quieter than the clicker your dog fears, but is still a distinctive sound!