Featuring Jen Larson, KPA-CTP & Clara Scott, CPDT-KA
Concept by Courtney Emken

As dog owners, it’s vital that we know different ways we can positively train behaviors in our dogs or any pets. We are going to cover a few different positive training methods that you can use at home, in a training class, or wherever you happen to be! In this brief overview we specifically concentrate on capturing behaviors, luring behaviors, and shaping behaviors.

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– Today we’re gonna be talking about ways we can create behaviors with animals. So one thing we can do is just capture naturally occurring behaviors. So that just means that when a dog offers behavior, like if little Noodle here, if we wanted to get him to sit we would mark and reward him every time he would sit naturally and so that would be capturing a behavior. But there’s a couple of other ways we can get behavior.

– So yeah, there are a couple other ways to get some new behaviors too. So one of those ways is through shaping. So shaping is a process where you’re marking and rewarding successive approximations to some end goal behavior. So you’re actually building the behavior from the start. So a nice example of a behavior that we might wanna shape with a dog would be going to a mat. So we might put the mat down and then if the dog looks at the mat, we would mark and reward them for looking at it and then maybe they’ll take a step towards it, we mark and reward that and kind of so on until we get to the point where they’re either sitting or laying down on the mat. So it’s kind of setting up those building blocks to the end behavior. Another way to get behavior from an animal is through luring. So luring is when you’re using either a treat or a toy or something like that to guide the animal’s body into position or get them to do what you want them to do. But with luring, it’s really important to remember to fade the lure quickly. I would say within the first couple of repetitions because you don’t want the animal to get dependent on the lure in order to perform the behavior and a common misconception that I run into all the time with positive reinforcement training is that it’s all about luring and you’re just, you know, if you don’t have treats the animal won’t perform the behavior and that’s absolutely true if you rely on the lure too often, but with positive reinforcement training that’s now what we do. We get the behavior and then we reward the behavior afterwards. So just always fade that lure pretty quickly.

– It’s important that we kinda know a couple of different ways we can train a behavior, that way if we’re training an animal and they’re not offering it naturally, and we can’t capture them, we can either lure them or use shaping to get the behavior that we want. So you can use this at home or you can use it in a training class wherever you happen to be.