Shaping Challenge

Do you want a challenge to increase your dogs mental stimulation?  Shaping can do that for you.

August’s shaping: teach your dog “Sit Pretty”.

What do you need?

1. Your Dog
2. Clicker or verbal cue like yes.
3. Treats and / or tug toy
4. A wall, corner, or target.

Sit pretty really works on core strength, and should be done in steps to ensure the muscles are developed to maintain the behavior without injury.

One possible method to teach: You can pair a behavior that the dog knows with what you want. Sit your dog in a corner. Then ask him/her to target (touch with nose) something above their head. The dog should lean against the wall, and push to reach up to touch the target. After knowing that your dog will successfully complete this behavior add a hand signal.

As your dog reacts to your signal, gradually fade the target, till they will go into the pretty position in the corner without the signal.
Once the behavior is perfected try it against one wall, and see if the behavior is maintained. Next, put the show on the road, and ask for a sit pretty without support. Finally, add your verbal cue to the behavior once you have exactly what you want. To do this you’ll say the new Cue (I use Pretty) followed by the hand signal.

Things to remember:

1. Set your criteria before starting
2. Reward the steps at the beginning, if your dog picks up a front foot, if you dog hits the nose target etc.
3. Set your dog up for success
4. If you want to build duration, reward while they are sitting pretty at a high rate, and then incorporate a release cue.
5. Break up your sessions, keep sessions short and give him/her breaks within the session
6. Above all else, have fun with your dog!

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