When the Light Goes On

This week in class we were focusing on learning how to shape. I’m from the luring-discipline myself, since when I was first starting to work with my dogs in 4-H shaping was something only really, really good trainers understood and tried to do (or so it was explained).  It was so wonderful to watch (no clickers in this class, we all used verbal markers, but I’m thinking I may break my clickers out again)!

There are six dogs in the class. Four of them ‘got it’. You could see the light go on behind their eyes as they worked with a buja board for the first time! ‘I look at this, I get a treat. Hmmm. What happens if I… touch it… like this? MORE TREATS ohmigosh I’ll put my paws on it, oh hey it moves but that’s okay I get treats!’. That was literally what Quick seemed to be saying! His tail was up and tippy-wagging, smiling and excited. He was in love, and so was I.

Two dogs were having huge difficulties ‘getting it’. They sat in perfect heels, waiting and waiting and watching and watching for their reward. Both of them are the little ladies of the class, and perfect at handling. Personally, I feel like they don’t want to take risks! After all, sits usually get rewards. Why isn’t that working? Eventually, though, they both got it. A little. But a little quickly turns to a lot!

I’m lucky with Quick. He animates easily, and communicates with me quickly about his likes and dislikes. Usually very loudly! I’m not happy with his tendency to grumble under his breath. I at first thought it was growling, but then I realized he’s not actually growling, he’s grumbling like a teenager who has to clean their room!

I’m pleased to announce the texting student paid attention this week and their dog did WAY way better. He was like a whole new dog! He caught onto the buja board in no time flat!

This week, we’ll be practicing changing direction and reminding Quick that no, really, just because someone else is handling you doesn’t mean you’re allowed to freak out and forget your manners.

Next week: Crash and Burn, baby…

2 Comments on “When the Light Goes On

    • It really is! all these ‘baby dogs’ together and learning how to learn- it’s a real joy.

      I had really never tried shaping before. Believe you me, we will be playing with shaping a LOT!