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Old 01-21-2013, 06:24 PM
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LostAndConfused LostAndConfused is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Hudson Valley
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Default I have no skills at....

I can't shape. Cannot do it. I don't know where the communication break down is, but Hudson would much rather be lured into a behavior. Anyone else? Were you able to teach your dog to shape? Any hints, tips, suggestions?

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Old 01-21-2013, 06:28 PM
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CharlieDog CharlieDog is offline
Rude and Not Ginger
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Georgia
Posts: 9,420

Start with just clicking whatever. And then when he starts doing a particular behavior, and it could really be anything like looking to the left or right, start clicking that more heavily. It does take a while for a dog that's been lured exclusively to grasp the fact that they're controlling the click, but when they do understand that, it becomes much easier.

It took Indy a very very long time to understand what shaping was. She'd been lured or yanked into compliance before I got her, and had no idea what the click meant. She's still not as good as Enzo who I started clicker training at 9 months, but she's slowly getting there.

I really apologize if this is no help at all, I really shouldn't be on the internet right now lol.
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Old 01-21-2013, 06:43 PM
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Linds Linds is offline
Twin 2
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Illinois
Posts: 7,098

I agree completely with CharlieDog.

It's hard the first few times you do it, for you and the dog. The dog doesn't understand what you want and your patience only goes so far. It's SO hard not to just tap something, or move your hand a little bit this way. You just KNOW that if you lure you can get him to follow your hand in seconds.

I get it. Completely.

But, let me tell you, it's so worth it. Once you make that break through, once your able to not help or guide him and he figures out that his actions are solely responsible for getting the reward all these possibilities open up. But, you gotta muscle through the first few times. You gotta grit your teeth when you click and he's like "Huh?" and when you so bad want to just shift to get his attention back.

I really like with mine to start with something that they can interact with that they haven't seen before or that often. A box, a book on the ground, a frisbee, a stool etc. Something that they will want to interact with because it's new. And like Charliedog said, click for any interaction with it. I mean, an ear flick at it if you must. A lot of things I shape start with a shift of their weight.

Keep it short. Especially when you first start. Don't fall for the "Just one more time getting it right". End before the attention wanes, especially with a puppy (a boy at that ) Don't jump to new criteria too fast and don't be afraid to go back if they are getting frustrated and not rewarded. You want them attempting things and having fun.

And if you start getting frustrated? Stop. Walk away. I like to also have music on when I'm training, it helps keep me focused and upbeat (Will also help for those long stretches of not moving when you first are starting)

Just remember, training is supposed to be fun for both of you guys, don't go in it with a "We are going to do THIS" in mind or you'll come out disappointed.
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Old 01-21-2013, 07:18 PM
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milos_mommy milos_mommy is offline
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It does take a long time for dogs to "get" shaping, and it has to be approached the right way. It's not an easy thing to get the swing of, but once you do, it's totally worth it.
"My favorite color is green, green like newly cut grass. When it comes to green with envy, though, you can stick it up your @ss!" ~ Grammy
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Old 01-21-2013, 07:57 PM
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Maxy24 Maxy24 is offline
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Location: Massachusetts
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I agree with starting with some sort of prop, that way you and the dog both have very obvious criteria, not teeny tiny changes in the dog's body.

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Old 01-21-2013, 08:32 PM
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Fran101 Fran101 is offline
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Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Boston
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Merlin is about Hudson's age and with us, it was hard at first, but using a prop SERIOUSLY helped. (that said, Merlin has never been good at luring. He doesn't know what his body is doing when he is following food, with shaping, HE GETS IT)

I started with him standing on a book. Once he "got" that every time his paw hit the book, it went from there. At first I clicked for him licking the book, biting it, JACKPOT for when he put his paw on it (to chew on it lol) then SUPER JACKPOT for just the paw. Then two paws. Then he was standing on it lol
It gets so much easier once they realize that what they are doing can make the click.
From 2 paws on the book.. we started working on body movements (/down) and now his down is solid

and short sessions helped with both our patience. He gets half his lunch and works for the other half in handfuls every 15 minutes or so for like 5 minutes.

We use "touch" to reset him when things get frustrating. It's something he knows.. and gets his body in a neutral position.

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Old 01-22-2013, 04:38 PM
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Babyblue5290 Babyblue5290 is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 16,079

I feel your pain! I suck at shaping with Art especially, but even with Talon. Art's always been lured so he had no idea what to do except sit there and stare at me, and then bark, and stare, and bark, and over and over again. I honestly gave up! >_< With Talon I'm trying and it's starting to work, but it's really hard learning a new technique! All I have is good luck and don't give up!
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Old 01-22-2013, 04:40 PM
JessLough JessLough is offline
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Join Date: May 2009
Location: Ontario
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We've practically shaped everything with Rosey... before shaping was "cool" it just was what was natural to us, though
Ella: 3 year old female ferret
Nacho: 9 year old male ferret
Summer: 5 year old female ferret
Goodbye, Rosey. You were the best girl I could have asked for. 10/15/96-03/08/13
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Old 01-29-2013, 11:47 AM
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meepitsmeagan meepitsmeagan is offline
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Southwest Michigan
Posts: 3,371

I have to pretty much tie my hands behind my back so that I don't point at things. It is terrible. I can't wait to start fresh with a puppy. Hopefully I will actually stick to my guns instead of doing the "this one time won't hurt anything" deal.

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Old 01-29-2013, 11:54 AM
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PWCorgi PWCorgi is offline
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I think everybody fumbles a bit when they first start shaping. Just keep at it! It will be worth it!!

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