The Russians are coming! (A shaping video)

dog with head in potHere’s a great clicker training video I found on youtube recently of a pretty cute dog trick. The dog has been trained to stick her head into a pot. I like this video because, although it is short, it shows all of the steps of the shaping process that was used to train this trick using clicker training.

The training process clearly demonstrates how you can use a simple behavior (touching a small square target) to train something more complex (having the dog stick her head into a pot). By starting out with a behavior the dog already knows (touching the target) the learning process is nearly errorless because this original behavior can be used and shaped into the new behavior. Watch in the video how the trainer gradually lowers the target into the pot and also, importantly, how the trainer gradually fades out his hand.

Many dogs pay attention to not just the target, but also that the target is connected to the trainer’s hand. If he had dropped the target into the pot and abruptly taken his hand away, the dog might have gotten a bit confused at first. Instead, the progression of teaching steps are nearly seamless and carefully guide the dog toward the final behavior. For more ideas of behaviors you can teach to dogs (and horses, fish and other animals) using targeting, check out this post.

Watch on Youtube: The Russians are coming!

I always like clicker training videos that clearly show all the steps that went into training a particular behavior. If you know of other great videos that do a good job of breaking down the training process so that it’s easy to see the steps the trainer used to teach the behavior, let me know. I like sharing these kinds of videos because I think they help clicker trainers learn about good shaping and get new ideas for how to train fun behaviors.

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