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Old 06-16-2012, 04:34 PM
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Cali Mae Cali Mae is offline
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Default Tips for shaping and clicker training?

So, I've decided that I want to try clicker training and shaping with Cali, so I did a couple sessions today. I was just wondering if you guys could tell me if what I did sounds right. I was trying to practice a "touch".

I started out by getting her "conditioned" to the clicker by clicking, then rewarding, until the sound no longer startled her and she seemed to be at the point where she was awaiting her reward. I set out a book (probably about 8inx12in) and let Cali sniff it. Then I'd click as she put her paw on it, then reward. Eventually, she'd tap it with both paws at the same time and I'd click and reward. Then once she offered the behaviour, I added the word "touch" to it.

Should I change anything for the next session? And what are some other things that everyone here has shaped their dog to do?
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Old 06-16-2012, 05:20 PM
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Sounds great!
The only thing I’d add is to make sure you have a “neutral” stance for shaping. This way the dog can eventually differentiate between a shaping session where you want her to offer behaviors, and say a down stay or a place where you want her to NOT offer behaviors.
Also make sure your neutral stance does not involve hints that you have treats or are about to give her a treat (ie: hand in the treat pouch )

Congratulations, sounds like she took to it well, you’ll have lots of fun!
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Old 06-16-2012, 05:21 PM
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Something to keep in mind when you're shaping, especially in the beginning you want to start small. For example, instead of waiting for her to get it right and touch it with her paw you could have clicked for glancing at it first, and then for sniffing it and then for touching it. You want them to have a high rate of reinforcement and you want them to try different things with things in hope of getting a click.

So, when I started with Didgie who was a completely green dog we spent pretty much multiple sessions with her getting marked for looking at/in the direction of and sniffing an object.

Also, remember to really try to keep your sessions short. I don't think I've ever named a behavior in the first session that I shaped it.

And really the possibilities of what you can train your dog to do with it are as endless as your imagination is. Right now with Didgie I'm shaping her to down, go around an object in both directions, get into different sized boxes and hopefully soon I'm going to attempt some pivoting.

With Traveler right now we're working on shaping and backchaining a retrieve to hand.
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Old 06-16-2012, 05:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Danefied View Post
Sounds great!
The only thing I’d add is to make sure you have a “neutral” stance for shaping. This way the dog can eventually differentiate between a shaping session where you want her to offer behaviors, and say a down stay or a place where you want her to NOT offer behaviors.
Also make sure your neutral stance does not involve hints that you have treats or are about to give her a treat (ie: hand in the treat pouch )

Congratulations, sounds like she took to it well, you’ll have lots of fun!
Okay, thanks. I'll definitely have to work on the hiding the treats, as she automatically assumes I have them and instead of touching the object I set out.. she'll sit there touching my knee and yapping.

I used her bed for part of one of the sessions (we've done three five minutes sessions spread out over the afternoon), and I took a lot of directive from Linds' video with Didgie. I'd click for small steps in the right direction. I clicked whenever she put a paw on it, and when I walked into the living room later, she was laying on it. (which she never does, she always asks to come up on the couch)

And Linds,

Thanks for replying! I'll definitely keep that in mind. I did bring out a smaller toy that she usually lacks interest in, and rewarded her for the slightest little interaction/step over.

I really want to try getting her to go in a box, the question would just be finding something that she could easily and willingly jump into.
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Old 06-16-2012, 09:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Linds View Post
Something to keep in mind when you're shaping, especially in the beginning you want to start small. For example, instead of waiting for her to get it right and touch it with her paw you could have clicked for glancing at it first, and then for sniffing it and then for touching it. You want them to have a high rate of reinforcement and you want them to try different things with things in hope of getting a click.
That really depends on what your goal is.

For example, if I want to teach a sit, I'm probably just going to wait for the dog to do the behavior; rather than clicking him for starting to sit, and progressively sit farther down. Doing that - basically shaping the sit when I could just get the behavior a lot easier by capturing it - is going to take a whole lot longer and will probably be pretty confusing to the dog.

In capturing, even with new dogs, I do often start naming the behavior in the first session. If the dog is doing the full behavior predictibly, it's not too early to add the cue.

In the OP's example, then, instead of really "shaping" the paw touch, she could - and did - just essentially capture it. It gets the dog doing the correct behavior a lot quicker and with less confusion.

That said, if your goal is not necessarily to teach a particular behavior, but to give the dog practice about the concept of shaping, then yeah, clicking small approximations toward the goal would be better.
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Old 06-16-2012, 09:58 PM
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Originally Posted by lizzybeth727 View Post

That said, if your goal is not necessarily to teach a particular behavior, but to give the dog practice about the concept of shaping, then yeah, clicking small approximations toward the goal would be better.
Which was why I said that. She didn't seem like she was talking about capturing but rather more shaping focused. I took it her questions to be more about learning to work on shaping behaviors and working on teaching her dog to start offering things and teaching yourself how to start with small steps to get something amazing.
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Old 06-16-2012, 10:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Cali Mae View Post
Okay, thanks. I'll definitely have to work on the hiding the treats, as she automatically assumes I have them and instead of touching the object I set out.. she'll sit there touching my knee and yapping.
Try putting them on a table or bookshelf near where you are working.
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Old 06-16-2012, 11:39 PM
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Also make sure your neutral stance does not involve hints that you have treats or are about to give her a treat (ie: hand in the treat pouch )
Question, why?

I mean, I really get it when fading off a lure or for a known cue etc. But for shaping I almost tend to use the bowl of treats to set them in the "Time to start trying things!" mood. That along with a few different body positions is an indicator that we will be shaping. Sometimes I put the food on a low table or sometimes it's just in between my legs but the dog always knows it's there. And I typically have a hand with treats in it.

In general, is there a reason to hide treats from them when you're shaping something?
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Old 06-17-2012, 01:07 AM
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I'm wondering HOW to hide the treats, especially when I'm weaning a command off of them (i.e. giving them randomly but not for every repetition). How can I hide them when she'll know where they're at as soon as I reach for them? Keep in mind since my dog is small I'm often sitting on the floor for training and especially for shaping sessions. Don't know if that affects anything but I thought it was worth mentioning.
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Old 06-17-2012, 05:18 AM
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No, you don’t have to hide the treats, just have a neutral stance that does not involve your hand in the bowl or hand in the treat pouch. Reason being a lot of dogs end up watching your hand for “hints” that they’re doing the right thing instead of paying attention to what they’re doing with their body and listening for the click. Its amazing what dogs can pick up on. Just playing with treats in your hand can be a clue to some dogs.

I put a bowl of treats out in plain view and within the dog’s reach (because I also train for food manners when shaping), and make of point of click, pause, THEN reach for the reward.

Hope that makes sense.
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