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Check Out These Shaping Videos

Our friend Hilary, who was Lilly’s first trainer at the shelter, emailed me a link to these videos from someone she knows through a group of “Truly Dog Friendly” trainers. The 2 videos (about 9 minutes each) show a Boston Terrier named Humbug learning to put his toys away. It begins with a regular game of fetch, then Suezanne M. Law from Sympawtico shapes the behavior into something new. Rather than a clicker and treats, she uses a marker word and the toy, but you get the idea.

Here’s a link to Suezanne’s blog entry, which includes the embedded videos. Since they are on YouTube, I could also embed them here, but out of fairness to her, I won’t. I’m sure she’d appreciate the blog traffic.

What’s interesting to me is the waiting and waiting for Humbug to figure it out. Watching this made me realize how much additional patience I need when shaping a behavior. I tend to jump to fast into asking Lilly to “Try again” when she makes a mistake.

I still think “Try Again” works, if it’s a behavior she already knows, but I should probably remove it from my early training vocabulary.

Come back here and tell me what you notice.

Roxanne Hawn

Trained as a traditional journalist and based in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, USA, I'm a full-time freelance writer for magazines, websites, and private clients. My areas of specialty include everything in the lifestyles arena, including health and home, personal finance and other consumer interests, relationships and trends, people and business profiles ... and, of course, all things pet related. I don't just love dogs. I need them in my life. Seriously.