Friday, February 4, 2011

Shaping behaviours

I think I'm finally starting to understand why Barbie is so much easier to teach tricks to!

The way that I teach my dogs is to take an 'offered' behaviour and shape it into a trick.

So when I taught Barbie 'paw' (or cockroach) - it was because when she was really happy and I would stoop down to her level she would roll onto her back and wiggle her feet in the air. I almost taught it to her by accident. 'Roll over' then was just an extension of that.

Last night I was playing with the dogs, and got the treats out to see what they would do. They both sat, lied down, did commando, and a few other things, but then Barbie started lifting up her left paw in the sit. So I started getting her to put her paws on a cushion which I was holding against my thigh from a sit position. I think this is going to be 'say your prayers' where I put the cushion on a chair and get her to put her feet up on that from a sit, and then get her to put her head down.

The problem with Bender is that he hardly ever offers something new when I'm training/playing with them. He is very solid in the things he has learned how to do, and once he has them in his head he is more consistient than Barbie. For instance now I can get him to spin three times before he gets a treat and he's very confident at jumping through a hula hoop that I'm holding in the air. His sits and downs are solid.

It's like Barbie is the 'flashy' dog and Bender's the old tractor. She likes to learn new things while Bender is happy plodding along and doing everything 'right'.

Anyway video of new tricks to come....
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