Hurley ran after his ball as I prompted "Go get it". Actually, he meandered after it and pounced. And then he brought it back, I asked for a "drop", he dropped it and got a click & treat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Wait...I thought this was something new we were training, right? Guess Hurley pretty much has Fetch & Drop down. So what to do now...
I decided to practice shaping using the clicker. I am, by default, a trainer by lure. It has always seemed like the quickest way to get the behavior I want and, other than encouraging sharkiness in relation to my hand, has been pretty successful for us so far. But not all behaviors can be lured and I absolutely agree with the theories behind shaping as to its effectiveness in training by forcing your dog to think and problem solve. Learning's a lot more effective and sticks when you have to figure something out for yourself. It's about time that I added shaping to our training bag o' tricks.
I grabbed a box, a box barely big enough for Hurley to get in. In fact, I had my doubts that all 4 paws of his 80 lb-ness would fit. But, hey, we're just getting started - what are the chances Hurley's actually going to offer all 4 paws in the box today when he's never offered a single paw in a box, right?
It did take us over a half hour to get from one paw touching the box to all four in. And the only time I helped was when he was stuck at the first paw in the box. I told him "Other Paw" and he plopped his other front paw in the box immediately. From there, it was just clicking and treating two paws in and any time a back paw went in. From the second he got all 4 paws in at the same time, it was maybe 10 seconds until I got this:
I had no hopes, no intentions of getting a sit in the box but apparently Hurley did. So I started marking getting in the box with "In". How the heck did we get from experimenting with shaping to verbally marking "In"? a) Clicker training rocks and b) Hurley is a genius puppy.
We were out of carrots so I told him good job, gave him a kiss and hug and took myself a bathroom break. A few minutes later, I came back out to Hurley, just sitting in his box.
|I knows stuff!|