Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Clicker Fun!

So, I just finished reading Karen Pryor's latest book "Reaching The Animal Mind" (awesome, awesome book guys!), and decided that I wanted to try a shaping exercise with the clicker, instead of the luring that I had done to get my guys into the correct position. One of the standard games that clicker trainers use for shaping is called "101 Things With A Box" - basically you sit in a room with few distractions, a box, a clicker and a hand full of treats. Then you start clicking your dog for any interaction with the box, with the goal of a particular behaviour (two feet in the box, pushing the box, etc).

I didn't have a box, so I used the dogs' little couch as my object, and I sat down to work with Jack Jack. First I clicked him for looking at the couch. After a couple of times of that, I asked him to actually touch the couch with his nose. Success! Then I clicked for front feet on the couch . . . all of this happened within about 5 minutes or so. Once he got that figured out, every now and then he'd put one paw on the couch and then look at me, to see if I'd reward him for that. I could literally see the wheels turning in his head! Finally I got him to the point where he'd be on the couch with all four paws, and that's where we quit for the night. In about 10 minutes I shaped him to stand on the couch with all four feet. His tail wagged madly the whole time, and his eyes were sparkling.

I worked with Grace after I put Jack Jack in the crate . . . we didn't get as far as all four feet on the couch, because she's far less willing to experiment than Jack Jack is, so I had to do more clicking for looking at and then sniffing the couch. But she had fun, and it was good for all of us.
If you have clicker savvy dogs, I encourage you to try shaping . . . it's a great mental workout AND it's fun!

1 comment:

Brenda said...

This sounds like fun! I have never tried clicker training (I use "yes!" as my "clicker", but have always wanted to try it out. It's amazing how fast they catch on to something!