Saturday, March 5, 2011

Shaping fun

I was recently challenged to shape a new behaviour in my dogs.  Now I'm not very imaginative, so I was still thinking about what to shape when my Sturdi Bag carrier arrived in the mail.  I ordered this carrier  based on Sara's review at  Kosmo and Faith and the idea that someday I might take my dogs somewhere on a plane lol!

I decided that getting in the carrier would be the perfect thing to work on my shaping skills with.  The idea of shaping is not to lure the dog with a treat but let them offer behaviours and reward those you like.  Rylie had the first turn and within two minutes I had this.

This is more a testament to Rylie's love of crates than to my skills as a trainer though.  Rylie actually stayed in the carrier for 20 minutes later that evening while I talked to my Mom on the phone.

With Max I have been working on a lot of teeter skills - including banging the teeter down and sitting on the tippy board.  Our first attempt gave us this:

In hindsight that should have been a very predictable response.  One of the cornerstones of this method is that when starting out it should be very easy for the dog to be successful and difficult not to have success so I set up the environment differently for our next session.

My hope was that he wouldn't be as likely to try and flatten the bag with his paws and he certainly couldn't sit ON it.  I had to put something on top of the board because that is the board we have been doing the teeter training on.  I did learn from my first attempt and I knew his first inclination would be to interact with the board as it has been so heavily rewarded.  I soon got this:

By the fourth session I had this:
 Now you can see he isn't too relaxed in there and he hasn't got all the way  in it again but he will happily put 2/3 of his body in.  He is a fair bit bigger than Rylie so I expected this to take longer with him.  Since we have no plans to actually need this I have a lot of time and I'm certain he will be able to lie in it comfortably.

Rylie enjoys it so much that I've decided to continue to use it for him.  I have been holding it a few inches off the ground (in front of my body so it can't swing away) and he jumps in.  He thinks that is an incredibly fun game.  I'm fairly certain I could take him on a plane tomorrow and being in the carrier wouldn't stress him out at all.


katie, Maizey and Magnus said...

I love!! shaping. The last thing I shaped was for Magnus to give me a paw touch. And for Maizey to touch a sticky note on a door.

I just love to see the dogs thinking things out for themselves and when they get to be experienced the things they offer you are just hilarious. That looks like a really cool carrier!

beth said...

Does shaping work on husbands, too? Just kidding.........

Empty Nest Mom said...

Let me know how it works for you Beth - you might be on to something.

Miss Kodee said...

I keep seeing shaping mentioned and in theory I get it but I think I need to see it in action to really get it!