5 Rules of Shaping in Dog Training
Shaping is a dog training method that can be used for training some quite complex behaviors. In order to train a dog using shaping, you need to follow several rules. These are the rules I use when training dogs behaviors and tricks such as turning on a light or stacking rings or playing the piano. Several shaped behaviors can then be chained together as when training a dog to place toys in a basket.
Of all these shaping rules, I think the most important is to keep the shaping process fun and upbeat. End your shaping session on a positive note and call it a day if your dog is struggling or the process is getting too long. You want your dog to look forward to training so that he remains a happy and active participant.
When your dog is stuck, you have several choices on how to help him out. This video outlines three ways to help your dog. Rewarding your dog on a variable schedule is a good one since this schedule prompts behavior variability (your dog may feel compelled to try out new things) and your dog may therefore happen to perform a behavior that happens to be a desirable approximation.