Shaping: 101 things to do with a box

21 Aug

Shaping a sit without using lures

I was a dum-dum and waited to do this game until I wanted to teach sit. What I discovered is that this should be one of the first games I do with a dog because it trains them to learn! It also instilled in me a desire to use lures are seldom as possible since ultimately luring is cheating and your dog is mostly learning to follow food (sometimes luring is necessary, such as teaching ‘go around’).

There are tons of good resources out there, such as…
Jane Killion’s book When Pigs Fly! Training Success with Impossible Dogs (my primary resource)
You Tube
Karen Pryor
Shirley Chong

The only pre-req is that your dog know what the click means, and teaching this is often called “charging the clicker.” Basically you just click and immediately treat so that your dog learns to associate food with the click. Simple Pavlovian conditioning! I combined charging the clicker with attention and clicked when Wally was looking at me. Now Wally is always looking at me and wondering if I’ll like what he’s doing enough to give him a click!

My first use of this game was to shape a sit. Because Wally is a show dog I can’t lure him to sit, which is the #1 most commonly used method. Shaping is fun because the dog will throw out all kinds of behaviors since he doesn’t know which one is the winner. Eventually Wally offered a sit, which I clicked/treated. Light bulb! He offered more and more sits, which allowed me to raise the criteria and only c/t straight sits. Then I could introduce the cue ‘sit’ and get the perfect sit.


Posted by on August 21, 2011 in Training


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