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exercising the mind – free shaping

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 35 total)
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    ok – free shaping – it is brill for this – this is the only way I could get falkor to learn – he was about 18 months when we rescued him – think he had been a show dog and didnt even know the sit or down – he now has 40 odd behaviours – all free shaped. there is stuff on here but i thought i would set it out again now on this  sticky.

    you dont have to use a clicker – a clicker is just a bridge to mark the behaviour and let the dog know that that is what you wanted and the reward is on the way. they make the marking of the behaviour easier because it is so precise and consistent but even if you do not use a clicker you will have a bridge – a vocal good boy, a facial expression etc so be aware of ‘your’ bridge and use that to mark instead if the dog is not charged to a clicker.  for the sake of the writing i am going to use the word click for the mark – ok?

    this is done silently – unless your marker is a ‘good boy’ which is delivered very quietly – the only other time to speak is to motivate – with a ‘what we doing then’ again in a light voice to re-focus the dog.

    put an item on the floor – a ring or a toy etc i am assuming a ring for ease of typing
    hold a treat in the hand so the dog can see it
    when the dog looks at or shows interest in the ring – click reward
    after about 8 of these then only click reward if touches with the nose
    after about 6 of these only click reward if nose goes in the middle

    see where i am going – we are moving it on – the dog will keep offering what he was getting rewarded for but will then have to think – ‘duh – ok not quite there yet – hmmm what else can i do?’

    once you have a fluent behaviour like the nose going into the ring everytime then you can give it a verbal cue – mine is polo for the nose.

    next session – go for the paw in the ring
    work it up the same way – until you get either paw – then start clicking and rewarding for just say the left paw – and again when it is fluent – give it a cue – my left paw is hoop, my right paw is ring.

    you can do loads of this – falkor will do all 4 paws – the back ones are great fun cos the dog has to walk over the ring and back up hehe – nose and paws lying down – flip the ring on to nose etc

    the art of it is to build it up slowly – if it starts to breakdown and he gets frustrated then back it up and reward him for the stage he got to fluently then move it on again.

    eventually you will be able to get routibnes going – fast – ‘ring’ ‘hoop’ polo’ ‘hoop’ etc

    in the tips for the day that i was doing there is more of this – going shopping is a good one, fetching the remotes, books etc and putting them in a basket. we are currently working on falkor taking things back – he is now 7 and loves this learning – he will now take the book back to the bedroom and drop it on the bed so we moving it on so he puts it on the table at the side of the bed where he got it from ;D

    you can also free shape not using toys/items but just trapping natural behaviours

    lying down is good how many cues can you get in place for the different ways a dog goes down?
    front feet first
    back feet first
    flop down etc etc
    and then the opposite for getting up
    also if you get the front feet first down you can ‘mark’ it half way and get the ‘bow’ and likewise once down if he starts to get up bum first – thats our ‘bottoms up’ cue

    try and get the roll over – left to right on one cue the right to left on another and the lying on back – handy for grooming and checking tum, bits and paws. falkor and brose do a ‘stretch’ on his back then stretches out the back and front legs ; 😀 this was trapped from his natural action of stretching before getting up after sleeping so i cue roll over – then tummy tics – then big stretch ;D falkors is on verbal cues cos he cant see anything when all the face flops everywhere but brose has a visual cues.

    ami does a brill ‘i wont do it’ typical of her personality – it was trapped – she swings her head from side to side in a big no action – she will do it standing, sitting and lying ;D

    are you with me?  it is great fun and it makes them tired and they feel so pleased with themselves afterwards cos think think they worked it all out for themselves  always finish on a good note and always stop when it gets too much – 10 minute sessions with a couple of hours gaps are best until the dog gets the idea – unless it is a border collie – they go at 90 miles an hour and i have trouble keeping up haha – ihave got a full routine with a bc – ten minutes start to finish 3 behaviours linked seperate cues then chained to one cue  – there’s nowt like a border collie for wearing you out!

    hope this makes sense – please ask and dont feel daft – this is easier to demo than it is to write 


    yippee it’s a sticky! (thank you, Kiz!)


    you welcome – not bad typing for an oldie with a frozen shoulder haha


    brilliant kiz – this is next on my list (once we get the blasted bow!!! we are nearly there!!) honeys pretty good at offering up behavoirs so i reckon she will learn loads this way!!  ;D


    when she lies down does she do front feet first or back feet first and when she gets up is is bum first or front feet first? are you trying to use a verbal cue for the bow?


    sometimes front sometimes back!!! but she gets up bum first!!

    nope just a visual at the moment shes got it – just not very reliable whether she does it or not!!! mainly cos she is too busy trying out other stuff to get the reward!!!


    oh joly  :D….. if she getting up bum first….. then there is a bow – mark it and reward at that point before the full stand – then cue it 😀


    ok kiz – never thought of trying it that way lol  ::)  ;D


    Is there a certain age that you can start freeshaping ???


    mmm – yeah – about 8 weeks  ;D

    use his food bowl as the intro – he knows that! sometimes deliver the treat into the bowl sometimes at the side and sometimes away – so he begins to understand it is reaction to the bowl with a behaviour and not the bowl itself xx


    ooooh ok that will be great!!! :-*


    just want to add to this that there is no need to rush, or to move the exercise on before the dog is ready as this is what i was doing, i was going to fast so gracie didnt have time to test the behaviours,
    so ie nose to ring i went look at ring click reward, look again click reward, go to ring click reward, go to ring again click reward, touch ring with paw click reward, touch again with paw click reward, nose to ring click reward then paw to ring and i didnt click reward, when i should have done
    maybe someone can explain this better for me,but basically doing that make gracie go off on a bug hunt as she lost her motivation, because i was going too fast and making it harder for her

    is this right bev??


    yeah you have to allow the dog to test the behaviours – and work out the final wanted behaviour by denying clicks for what they been doing in order for the dog to think ok mmmmmi am close but not quite there – this is where the abacab helps as the human get’s to work this through



    my little paw is raised too on this one – trying to locate bonnie … moving it on too fast 🙁 

    results in

    1. frustrated human

    2. confused unmotivated dog

    Claire x


    me and my dogs always confused lol!!!

    i did free shaping to learn xing retrieve! (not a breed quality)

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