Shaping, teaching a new behavior by breaking it down in small increments, is an essential tool for teaching complex (and often useful) behaviors. In this video, KPA CTP Megan Ramirez uses shaping to teach her dog Rim Shot to flip a light switch—in just a three-minute training session!
Teach the “down” behavior with positive reinforcement.
Play a fun game with luring, shaping, and marking.
Shaping, the process of teaching a new behavior by breaking it down in small increments, is a great way to encourage creativity and focus in animals as well as an essential tool for teaching complex behaviors. In this video, Karen Pryor Academy (KPA) Dog Trainer Professional (DTP) student Shelby Mildenberger uses shaping to teach her dog Eddy a head dip, one of the first behaviors in the DTP and Dog Trainer Comprehensive courses. Shelby clicks and reinforces Eddy for any downward head movement. At first, she reinforces for small movements, but once Eddy is reliably moving his head she rewards greater movements. In no time, Eddy is fully (and enthusiastically!) dipping his head!
How to add a cue to a foot target to object behavior using an easy button.
A demonstration of how to shape foot targeting to an object.
Once your dog is reliably going to the mat, this demonstration shows how to add a cue
A demonstration of the first stage of teaching your dog to target a mat.
Shaping a dog to target and settle on a mat.