#30daysofcaninescience *Day 10*

Day 10 is about the principles of shaping. 

What I found out is that shaping is something that has to be practiced often to not ”fall out of shape”. I noticed that I’m really rusty when it comes to shaping! Mostly found negative sides to my training as usual, but some stuff got better with the day 10 session. 

Based on day 9 we have to analyse our shaping process according to these 10 criteria:

1. Be prepared before you start
I was prepared with a plan in my head. First criteria – paws on book. 2nd – move back paws, 3rd – move back paws starting to pivot in one direction (caught the one that came natural). 4th – More steps in that direction. I was prepared with treats and clicker.

2. Ensure success at each step
If the dogs didn’t do it right a few times (tried other things or got frustrated) I went back to previous criteria. 

3. Shape for one criterion at a time
I can see I was moving back and forth between the criteria even when they had been successful which might have prolonged the process. 

4. Relax criteria when something changes
Relaxed criteria even when it wasn’t needed, and sometimes I didn’t when it was needed. 

5. Don’t be rigid – if one door closes, find another
I think I managed this pretty well. Sometimes I helped a bit with luring when I felt that it got totally out of hand (proposing other behaviours)

6. Be fluid – keep training sessions continuous
Ok I think. 

7. Split if needed
Later in the session Trakl had a decrease in the wanted behaviour, then I should have split instead of keeping the criteria. 

8. Keep attention to your learner
At the end of the session both me and Trakl lost focus. The session was too long for us to focus properly.

9. Stay ahead of your learner
I tried to move on in the plan but wasn’t paying attention to when it was time to move on, and sometimes I was too far ahead. 

10. Quit while you’re ahead
This was discussed within the group. Sometimes quitting can be seen as a ”punishment” if the dog really likes what it’s doing. I have to think about doing something different but rewarding after the session ends. However, I was really bad at this since my session was way too long and I got a decrease in behaviour for a bit before quitting. 

Underneath here is the Day 9 video so you can see what I’m analysing.

  • Pros

    This icon will be used to indicate Pros

  • Cons

    This symbol will be used to indicate Cons

My job with shaping

  • Fluid

    I was pretty fluid in the shaping process. Didn't get too rigid when moving too fast.

  • Reward placement

    With Trakl I remembered to use the reward placement for help.

  • Day 10

    I think I got better in my day 10 session and managed to reach the goal. I also changed criterion to manage to move on, rewarding more movement in the right direction even though front paws was off the book. This seemed to help to move on.

  • Slow

    My precision was not at its best. Especially with Rusa where I got lost in marking behaviour that was not within the criterion (moving away paws from the book).

  • Long sessions

    Way too long sessions to be able to stay focused.

  • Stepping back

    I was really bad at going back in my plan when needed. Sometimes I went back when not needed, and sometimes I kept a criterion even though Trakl failed more than 20%. Got a decrease in behaviour.

  • Marked the wrong criterion

    With Rusa I accidentally marked when she moved in the "wrong" direction which stopped us from moving forward (she likes to step back and forth, so it was really important that I only rewarded when she stepped to the left)

  • Reward placement

    The exercise involved reward placement. It was going to be used to help the dog move forward faster. I often did not pay attention to this.


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