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2:32 AM   April 25, 2015
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Clicker Leash

Selling not only a product, but a way of life
By Stephen Sabetti

The Clicker Leash helps promote humane training methods. (Courtesy of Clicker Leash)
With a history dating back to wolf pack studies in the 1940s, the dominance theory, a dog training method that utilizes such methods as choke chains and alpha rolls, or pinning a dog on his or her back, has been used to establish dominance over man's best friend. One such follower was Adina MacRae, president of the Clicker Leash.

"Originally, I was really into dominance theory and tried alpha rolls to get [dogs] under control," says McRae. When I adopted my dog, the manager at the pet store said I wouldn't be able to walk him without a choke chain. When things got worse, I realized I had to change my methods."

MacRae wasn't content with simply changing her methods. As a full-time dog walker and a part time obedience instructor, MacRae became a believer of reward-based training; rewarding good behavior rather than punishing bad behavior. When the dog does what the trainer wants, whether it’s rolling over or simply touching a dot drawn on a piece of paper, the trainer makes a distinct sound, usually with a clicker, and gives the dog a treat.

"The click marks the exact moment that your dog did something that you'd like to see repeated in the future," says MacRae. "It's kind of the bridge between the dog doing the behavior and you getting the reward out."

The Clicker Leash, based in Halifax, Nova Scotia, was created in 2008 after MacRae noticed her students having trouble managing the leash, the clicker and the reward simultaneously. The Clicker Leash was designed to make things easier by putting the clicker in the handle of the leash.

Clicker Leash At a Glance

President: Adina MacRae

Location: Halifax, Nova Scotia

No. of employees: 8

Flagship product: Clicker Leash

No. of years in business: 1


"Clicker training has not been profitable to retailers," says MacRae. "A clicker box sells for $3 or $4 so there just hasn't been the profit margins that most people would like to see, and most people get shock collars and other types of equipment to train their dogs."

Since clicker training can be used with any hearing animals, including fish, the Clicker Leash brand has intentions of expanding to other animals.

"Cats are very receptive to this type of training," says MacRae. "Horses are another group we're interested in targeting down the road as well. You don't need to use force to train a horse. You can use it to train any animal, it's just a matter of finding out what works for them."

Branching out to other animals will help spread the word, which is the intent of Train Humane, a program started by Clicker Leash to help promote the merits of reward-based training. Clicker Leash plans on starting locally and going at a grassroots level to spread the word.

"We want to make it easy, we want to make it convenient and we want to make it fun.” says McRae. <HOME>

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