June 20, 2005

Shaping a Show Pose

Today we started work on shaping a show pose. Because sit is quite easy to teach, and dogs seem to naturally use it as a 'please' when they want something, it is easy to over-reinforce the sit so that when you try to shape another behaviour, your dog just offers the sit and becomes frustrated when it isn't rewarded. So we are now teaching that a stand is also a rewardable behaviour.

Following Karen Pryor's Shaping for the Show Ring I started by just holding out one finger. When Dusty moved towards it, I clicked and treated. I gradually increased the distance so that she had to come out of a sit, each time click and treating when she focused on my finger. Clicker Rule - click for action reward for position, so if she sits after I've clicked I'll put the treat out in front of her so that she has to stand to get the treat. We'll continue over the next day or two to reinforce standing.

Nothing fancy. As Sue Ailsby says "As a starting point, you will need the dog ready to go to work, standing up, willing to be handled in all his parts, facing your right hand, understanding the clicker, and wanting treats." Enough in there for a 9 week old.

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