Thursday, 22 December 2011


It was brought home to me this week at dog class that my shaping skills suck!  I am a lurer and a lumper and I need to improve.   Stella also showed that she has poor shaping skills and gets easily frustrated which makes sense because I obviously haven't taught her how to work through it.  I have found luring to be easier in my brain and then have just faded the lure as quickly as I could.  Unfortunately lots of times our bodies still unconciously lure even when we think we aren't "helping" anymore.   I'm not really against luring as that has actually been fairly successful for Lucy, Riley and Stella in the past but as I travel farther down the positive training path I understand where shaping is a valuable and necessary learning tool.  Shaping will help Stella learn to think things through herself and also how to work through frustration. 

When I walked into class on monday and saw that our tasks this week were a bunch of shaping challenges it was interesting that I had already been inspired by some recent webinars and had started this week to shape a "bring me" with Stella.  I guess sometimes all the stars align to bring a point home to us :o).  Stella's favourite game is playing keep away with Riley and I want to make sure that game doesn't carry over to playing keep away from me.  It is actually going quite well once we had gotten past a useless first session and I rethought things and broke it down into much easier steps and a less distracting environment.  That tends to be my problem as I struggle with how to start something without luring. 

Anyway it was a good session for us monday night as we worked on shaping three different things and did two of them quite well.  I think things became a lot more clearer for both of us and I plan to work on this quite a bit over the coming weeks.

This is a little video of her retrieving.  I am using a regular toy and a metal canning jar lid and we are gradually upping some distractions.  We started out in a tiny closed room and have now moved to the hallway and we even have a visiting Sam barking in the background.  I need to start videoing more training footage so I can see myself make some of those silly gestures and stop doing them!

1 comment: