Trick Training in Action: Shaping Edition!

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Such shaping. Very excite. Wow

It’s been a while since I’ve shared an unedited training session, and this shaping session the other day was just too cute not to share.

This is our third (I think?) session of Nala learning to rest her chin between her paws on cue. We’re free shaping it and it’s been a few days since we last worked on this trick, so you’ll see us quickly reviewing the progression of her chin moving further and further toward the ground. By the end of the session, you can see how extremely confident and thrilled she is about doing the right thing!

We’re not quite far enough in this behavior to name it, so I’m definitely taking suggestions for cue ideas! I’d like something cute, like “What do you think?” Then she makes sad dog face (and for the sake of the joke, just ignore her fiercely wagging butt).

How excited do your dogs get about shaping? 

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10 thoughts on “Trick Training in Action: Shaping Edition!

  1. She is so cute! As for naming it, I’m terrible at naming things! I call my dog’s chin down behavior “chin down”… LOL Phoenix likes shaping more than Zoe but they both have fun! Zoe just got done doing a trick demo for one of our training classes and it was a blast!

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    1. I already started naming chin-in-hand as “chin”! Dang. 🙂

      I bet Zoe was a star! Interesting that Phoenix likes shaping more than she does–I wonder why?

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  2. Nala is so cute! We have to keep straight shaping sessions pretty short, because Ruby can get frustrated. She loves to offer her “shy” behavior. I think she has an easier time with cues. We call the chin down behavior “chin.”

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    1. We keep them short, too–this one was 1:30 total, with some playing in between. As far as preventing frustration goes, I find that keeping a really high rate of reinforcement is key. In fact, I am more generous when we shape than when we do anything else–which is probably why Nala likes it so much! 😂

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  3. I’m terrible about naming cues too. The biggest problem is coming up with a new that fits so well I always remember it. 🙂

    N (stupid spell check keeps converting your dog’s name to Lala) definitely looks like she’s having fun.

    Honey loves shaping cues. She becomes very animated. She also tries to anticipate what I’m trying to get her to do by running through a list of behaviors she’s already learned–sit, down, high five, jump, touch, etc.

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    1. Oh, believe me. The Nala you see before you has been drastically altered from factory settings. 😉 We have worked very hard to arrive at a joyful understanding of shaping together!

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  4. Barley’s not a huge fan of shaping–she likes to get to the point. We’ll do some shaping in agility if she’s struggling with something–like if she’s not seeing the line of three jumps, we’ll start at jump one, then add jump two, and then do all three together. She doesn’t necessarily get excited, but it does help her understand the skills better. With tricks, I’ll try shape them and she usually ends up one step ahead of me doing the actual trick I wanted to work up to and I can just start rewarding her for offering the behavior instead. I love that Nala is so excited by this.

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    1. Sometimes Nala jumps the gun and figures out what I want in one go, and we do a lot of capturing, too. It’s still such a surprise to me that she thinks shaping is this fun! I think it’s probably because I’m extremely generous when we do it (as you can see here!)

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