If you have been following along our blog, we have been talking about shaping to teach new behaviors! It is one way dog trainers teach obedience skills to your puppy or dog.
To shape a new behavior, pick a target and provide treats for anything that resembles that target.
As your dog gets better at the behavior, you can get picky. Here is an example of what shaping looks like with a target behavior.
For this, we are going to choose the behavior of “going to place”:
- Wait for your dog to walk close to their bed. (If your dog goes reliably already; you are ahead of the game!)
- When your dog gets near (or on the bed), give a treat. The first few times are the toughest to catch.
- When your dog reliably goes near the bed, make the criteria more difficult by only giving a treat when the dog touches the bed.
- After a few times of having the dog touch the bed, only treat when at least a paw is on the bed.
- When the dog consistently puts a paw (or two) on the bed, only treat when the dog has all four paws on the bed.
- Only after the dog has all four paws on the mat will you introduce the command “place.”
Remember, shaping is only one of many methods that Beyond the Dog uses to teach obedience skills to your puppy or dog! We use different procedures, all based on the principles of behavior, to individualize treatment for YOUR pet.
Typically, in our training sessions, we use a combination of different methods to teach your pet efficiently and effectively. Additionally, you are only limited by your creativity, so you can teach your animal many different skills that they may currently not be able to do! This could be anything from dance moves to turning light switches on and off!