Clicker training free shaping is a great combination of techniques. Clicker training allows your pet to learn quickly and free shaping is the method that will let you teach your dog complex behaviors, like open the door or find the keys.
If you really get into clicker training you will understand why it is an explosive situation. You will be teaching your dog to think for himself! You might learn your pet is smarter than what you thought!
This is an advanced technique, because you need to understand what you are doing and because you will need a really well trained eye to catch the small improvements in your dog's behavior.
The process involved in clicker training free shaping will teach your dog that some times he needs to think creatively to get the treat. What used to work before, may not work now and frustration will lead nowhere. So, this is also an advance technique for your dog.
Shaping is an advanced dog training method because the trainer needs to be patient, observant and have great timing when delivering the reward. Luckily this becomes easier with a clicker!
Shaping is a powerful
technique because you can use it to train your canine friend complex
behaviors. These are behaviors that do not naturally occur in your dog.
Shaping is a positive method because you will never use force or discomfort. Instead you will wait and reward your pooch for smaller approximations to the end goal!
When using the dog training method Capturing, we would sit and wait for the animal to do the behavior. Then reward it.
So, two things happened: 1- The hound had to do the behavior by himself, without any prompts, pushes or lures, 2- The purpose of the reward is to make the animal repeat that behavior more often (Operant Conditioning).
Shaping goes one step further. The trainer needs to have in mind the final behavior and most importantly, the trainer needs to have thought about how to break that behavior in many small behaviors that put together would lead to the end goal.
Get a clicker with a wristband for ease of use. These kind are cheap and very comfortable to use.
We will use the clicker to MARK each of those "small behaviors" successively. The dog must succeed at each step before the trainer can ask for more.
Here is a summary of how the game of clicker training free shaping goes:
Before the trainer starts, a plan is needed!
Now let's train the hound!
This is a simple, easy and fun game you can play with your dog to get used to clicker training free shaping.
You will start by using the method as outlined above. I gave you an example with a box to get you started. Here are more ideas on what you can shape your dog to do with a box.
After many trials you can Free Shape anything as it goes! Just sit and wait for your pooch to start doing something, then reward him for anything new he does! This will teach your dog to be creative!
This is normal if you are a beginner. You and your best friend need practice. Start using the clicker to train simple things. You can start by training your dog to Touch (see Part 3). Be patient and flexible and keep rewarding him often. If you stop the treats altogether, your puppy will get frustrated and might give up. That is why it is always good to "ignore" a few good responses and reward others. This keeps the animal guessing and trying.
Don't worry! Just ignore it until it goes away, while ignoring it, try to click and treat your dog for something else...to keep him motivated.
Continue to Clicker Training Guide Part 3: Clicker Training and Targeting.