In the Facebook forum for this course I bragged about my dogs already knowing today’s Skill-Up which was to get the dog to pivot with the front paws on a bucket by using the shaping method. I do this often at my courses and use my dogs to show how to start practicing. That means that I have been slacking with criteria, and always stopped at the same level. So turning the whole way around the bucket.. I don’t think so!
Anyway. I also used my neighbour (and friend)’s dog, that knows the exercise a bit, but has had some trouble with it at times.
Most of the shaping I’ve done lately has been to make Rusa do something fun, which means I have just had a small idea of a behaviour and then I have let it go in any direction she wants, to end up with a behaviour that I didn’t plan for. I noticed in this exercise that I’m not used to direct the shaping in a certain way anymore.
In the exercise we were supposed to use the bridge and reward placement to help the dog in the right direction. That’s something I have never done with shaping before, so I forgot it at the beginning.
For me it’s difficult to put up written criteria since I go a bit with the flow. I move back and forth with the criteria depending on what the dog is doing. Sometimes just rewarding paws on the book, while trying to read how far the dog has come in his or her understanding of what I want. I then try to wait, and if the dog gets confused, I quickly move back to something simple. I think it’s really easy to frustrate a dog with shaping, so I rather make it a bit easier and let it take some time.
I made one session with Rusa and one with Trakl. I ended far from the goal, but I’m not in a rush.