Saturday, December 7, 2013

Learning to Shape

Last month I signed Teach and I up for an online shaping class through Denise Fenzi's Online School.  This class was taught by Sue Ailsby.  Since I got Teach I've been interested in learning how to shape a dog and really thought Teach would be a good candidate.

For anyone that doesn't know what I'm talking about I'll try to sum it easily.  You basically have in your mind what you want the dog to do.  You sit down quietly, either on the floor or in a chair with a bowl of treats and your clickers.  For Teach I wanted him to go lay on his dog bed.  So ... every step he took towards it I clicked/treat (c/t) until he was on it.  Then I waited until he sat ... when he did ... c/t for that behavior.  Now I want him to lay down so I withhold a c/t until he does that ... which only took about 2 minutes to master.  And Randy and I were shocked how fast he could sit and down ... this is the dog that is so methodical when it comes to sitting/downing and he takes forever.  Well with this it was instant.  And all of this was done with only a click/treat ... I said nothing the entire time.

This has been great exercise for him, mentally, when we get home from work after a long day being penned up.  This seems to wear him out more than chasing a ball in the backyard.

In the video below we are learning to target my hand.  This was the second day we worked on this.  The first day it only took a few seconds for him to figure out what I wanted.  My next step will be to stand up and have him target my hand from a standing position and then start moving for him to target.  This will work great for learning some tricks and fading out the food lure.  And a side note ... I try to keep all sessions around 2 minutes long and that seems to work great and keeps him interested and still in the game.

We're linking up with the FitDog Friday Blog Hop, even though its Saturday!  I think this is a good way to keep a dog mentally fit during the cold dark winter months. 

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