Clicker training is a type of reward based training where a clicker is used to tell your dog that they have done the right thing. Clicker training works because your dog learns to associate one thing (the click) with another (the reward such as a treat). Eventually, the clicker itself becomes a reward.
A click is always followed by a reward at first to help your dog understand it’s a good thing. Over time you can reduce how often they get a separate reward as the click becomes a reward in itself.
The idea behind using a clicker instead of using a reward alone is so your dog knows exactly when they did the right thing. Some people prefer this over traditional training as it can help dogs learn faster. This is because when you reward a dog using traditional methods for something like sitting, they may have, for example, stood up or done something else by the time you reward them. This can be confusing as they might think they got the reward for that. In clicker training, the sound of the click is used as a ‘mark’ for good behaviour. It pinpoints the exact moment your dog has done the right thing so they don’t get confused.
The other advantage is if your dog prefers food rewards, clicker training helps to avoid obesity as less treats are needed once the clicker starts to be its own reward.