Monday, January 6, 2014

Positive Training Blog Hop: Shaping the "Bang Trick"

Its National Train Your Dog Month.  With that there is a new Blog Hop called Positive Pet Training which will occur on the first Monday of every month.  Its being hosted by Cascadian Nomads, Dachshund Nola, and Tenacious Little Terrier.

When I got Teach, almost 3 years ago, I started researching different methods of training.  With to much correction Teach would shut down so I knew I had to do some changes in how I had been taught to train dogs years ago.  My research lead to me to learn about shaping.  This is something very new for us.  I recently did two posts about this a few weeks ago, Learning to Shape & More Shaping.  If you want to check those out feel free.  It kind of gives a back ground on shaping and what we've done so far.

Today for the blog hop I want to show our end result of teaching the Bang Trick.  When I first started this trick with Teach (when he was a puppy) I did it the old way (the only way I really knew) and that was pushing him over and saying bang as he got a treat.  He just didn't comprehend that way at all.  So I knew there had to be another way and I found it.

The post I did about this showed several videos which I will show again here.  They are the steps we used to obtain the behavior I wanted.

The first video is just Teach going to his bed and laying down.  You'll see in this video that I did lure his head over and once that was achieved a light bulb went off for him.

The second video I have removed the bed and he knows that I want him to lay down and then over to his side.  

The last video I have is the end result when I just added the cue to it.

We do this sporadically in the house now with great results.  We haven't moved to doing it outside or in other environments when there are more distractions but that will come.

This method of training makes the dog think and try things to make that click happen.  He loves to try and figure things out himself. Love just watching his brain work and his tail wag the whole time.

Thanks to the 3 hosts of this fun hop.  Looking forward to more this year.  Being new to the positive training techniques this is something that does interest us.  We are currently working on some new behaviors using the shaping technique and I will provide those through the hop each month.


  1. Shaping is such a wonderful (although often patience sapping) method especially for sensitive and highly intelligent dogs like collies. I too love to see that light bulb when the dogs figure out what behavior I'm after. I haven't tried to teach "bang" because the only way I knew how was old fashioned/not shaping. Now we might add this to our list! Thanks so much for joining the hop.

  2. Great progress on that! And kudos to you for doing it by shaping!

    I lured Champ's "dead!" cue and worked backwards from a down to dead, sit to dead, and finally, he can do it from a stand. Now I need to work on creating some distance. I have to say, this is one of my favorite tricks--I love watching him think through his movements to get from the stand to dead. LOL He's not fast at it by any means. :D

  3. We aren't really fast at it either ... I told my husband he was a very slow dyer (is that a work??). I tried for a time to also lure on the side, and he just didn't get it that way either. It was like I had to get his brain in the game first.

  4. It is very patience sapping!!! And I'm not a very patient person so has been a challenge for me to take a step back and realize it doesn't have to happen "now". We are also working on a Dumb Bell retrieve from shaping. And that is a very slloooowww process. I say go for it with trying to shape the bang, I think you'll find that they will catch on fast. You're crew seems to be very smart!

  5. Tenacious Little TerrierJanuary 6, 2014 at 7:13 PM

    I taught Mr. N and Onyxx how to play dead with luring. Mr. N because I didn't know of shaping then and Onyxx because food overstimulates his brain as it is without throwing shaping into it. When we first started shaping, it almost broke both of us lol. Mr. N kept looking at me being like, "tell me what to doooo!" Now he'll offer a few behaviors.

  6. I've heard a couple people with Collies say they tend to shut down whenever they're corrected in a somewhat harsh manner. Interesting to see that Teach does the same. Shaping seems to work great for you guys, glad you found a good method!

  7. This is going to sound awful, but you have the cutest death ever, Teach. Haha. I love how he would lay his head down briefly and then pop up to look at you like, "Did you see that?! Did I do it right?!" So cute.
    I read in one of your comments about him doing it slow, I'm sure he'll do it faster as he grows more confident in it. Petal use to do the world's slowest spin. Ever. Then one day when I asked for a spin she got super excited like, "I know that one!" and she spun around so fast she nearly fell. LOL. I got super excited about how fast she went and gave her extra treats and lots of squeaky, excited praise and now she does it fast more often than slow.

    Thanks for sharing this! I haven't taught Petal "bang" yet because I wasn't sure how to go about it with her, I'm going to try it this way and see how she does! :)