Building Place & Freeshaping
The place command is referred to differently by different trainers. The way it is going to be defined in this course, is that it means to have all 4 feet on an object, like a dog bed, or a kuranda bed style board. The positions of Sit, Stand, & Down are not important. Just that the dog is on the object, and is not restrained physically onto the object.
I encourage people to generalize this concept with their dogs, and throughout the next couple Mod’s we will get into that specifically.
Free Shaping Lecture
1 min 19 sec
Free shaping is different from the traditional luring exercises that are seen from handlers. In free shaping, rather than guiding the dog to, or into the behavior, we wait for our dogs to offer the behavior, or in all reality, a successive approximation or baby step towards the behavior and then we mark and reward.
This allows us to capture complex behaviors through these baby steps,but more importantly, it allows our dogs to think for themselves and to deal with problems as they see fit.
I LOVE free shaping with my dogs.
Free shaping can be some of the most fun you have with your dog, and it can lead to some EXTRAORDINARY behaviors.
Free shaping helps nervous dogs become more confident, and hyperactive dogs get a positive outlet for their energy.
When starting with free shaping, keep your sessions short and sweet, and don’t let your dog work so long that they lose interest.
Free Shaping Demo with Sonny
3 min 22 sec
Sonny has already done some place command previously, so I wanted to demonstrate with him how this process can look. A dog who has never gotten on top of an object like this, might hesitate a bit more than Sonny did. Which means you’d need to mark and reward for smaller steps in the right direction.
Free Shaping Demo with Mijo
2 min 36 sec
Mijo is a very young dog in this video, which is great, because you can see the difference in how he performs in this training session compared to how Sonny did in the previous free shaping video. He’s a lot more hesitant, simply because he is a young dog, and he hasn't worked with me a lot.
What does this mean for our training session? It means we’re going to take it slow, and mark & reward him for any little baby step in the right direction at first. Then we can start asking for more as we go into future training sessions.
In both free shaping videos you should take note that I am throwing food on the ground after I initially reward both dogs. This lets them leave the object, and practice getting back onto it repeatedly. It’s important that our dogs know how to get onto the object with consistency and confidence before we start asking them for longer and longer duration.
1 min 17 sec
When we start looking for more duration in a behavior, it’s important to make sure that the dog gets the majority of their rewards IN THE BEHAVIOR! If the majority of the rewards are being delivered once we release the dog from the behavior, it will be increasingly difficult over time to keep them in the behavior.
Not only do we want to pay our dog while they’re doing the actual job we want to build duration for, but if you notice, I reward Sonny quite often. I don’t want to let him get bored and step off the object. So make sure we are not only rewarding our dogs while they’re on the object, but we are rewarding them regularly with very small time periods between each reward.
Luring to Place
2 min 24 sec
Luring is a well known and extremely useful technique for getting a dog into a specific position. Luring generally leads to a precise result, in a relatively short period of time. Part of the reason for this, is that with luring we aren’t waiting for our dogs to spontaneously offer us the behavior we want. Instead we are guiding them into the exact position or behavior we are looking for.
Luring still requires us to reward successive approximations of the end result we want, but it usually gets us to the end result without as much waiting, and without in some cases, as much frustration from our dogs.
Both techniques have their place, and it’s important that we can use them both when necessary.
If you are unfamiliar with luring as a concept, you need to familiarize yourself with it, and internalize it as a skill. Luring is one of the most powerful tools we have when it comes to using food rewards with our dogs.
Advanced Proofing with Sonny
3 min 42 sec
This video shows some important things, so take a close look!
Firstly, you will see how to progress towards bigger distractions with the use of food rewards. I start off simply by walking around Sonny slowly, but eventually you will see that i am squatting down to change my position, I pat my legs to try and entice him off, and move around the room more erratically and with greater speed.
It’s important that we don’t jump right into this stage of the training, but rather build our dogs to the point that they can handle these types of distractions.
*If you’re finding that your dog is failing with these exercises often, it’s time to go back and re-work some of the more basic duration drills.*
This video also shows when and how to add the command. When we add a command to a behavior, we are using Classical Conditioning. This requires that the verbal cue predicts that a behavior is coming, like luring.
So make sure that you are giving the command, BEFORE you start the luring process.