I use a clicker for shaping some behaviors, especially when working with a puppy or a dog who has had no real training. A clicker is not a magic wand; it is simply a unique way of saying "you have done well and I'm going to give you a cookie." Later I substitute "yes" and use it as a marker, reward and encouragement--definitely not something advocated by clicker purists. Both Belle and Libby learned to skateboard purely through shaping.
In December, 2009, I had a rescue staying at my house who was a learning sponge. I made a video of shaping her to go out to a mat. This is an excellent first step for accustoming your dog to moving away from you. Once your dog can go to the mat on command, you can tell them to sit, down, wave or do whatever tricks you have taught. Gradually increase how far you and your dog are from the mat before the send. Ultimately, you can send them 50 feet or more to the mat, down them, toss a ball and then release them to retrieve the ball. Voila, your dog is working at a distance.
Here is the video of Sammy Jo's introduction to mat work. Sammy already knows that offering behaviors can earn a click and a treat. I start off quite close to the mat in order to make it easy for her to succeed, and of the cookies are delivered on the mat. However, I throw some of the treats on the floor so that she has to move away from the mat. I also change which side of the mat I'm standing on. Sammy doesn't quite know what I want at the end of the session, but within another session or two, she was making a beeline for the mat.
This video by Nancy Tanner demonstrates how you can send your dog to the mat at a greater distance and have them do a trick and then reward, making distance work fun, fun, fun.