Features April 2018 Issue

Shaping Your Dog's

Learning to perform a behavior through incremental but consistently rewarding steps often helps cement that behavior in a dog’s repertoire.

Shaping Your Dog's "Sit"

A crooked sit doesn’t matter in day-to-day life, but if you want your dog to compete in obedience or rally, a quick, straight sit is a worthy goal. A formal shaping strategy will speed up your results - here's how to reward your dog for increasingly correct approximations of a behavior, until you have just the behavior you want!

Shaping – taking a desired behavior, breaking it into small steps, and reinforcing the steps until you build the final behavior – has become a standard dog training tool, especially in the force-free world. Those who are familiar with shaping regard it as invaluable for teaching and refining behaviors. If you don’t yet have experience with shaping, try this exercise with your dog. It will help you realize how subtly and precisely you can influence the movement of virtually any part of your dog’s body.

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