Shaping a behaviour is the process of teaching a behaviour where you reward incremental successes until your get to the point the dog is actually performing the whole behaviour. In this instance I am teaching Seven to put his head through the collar. If you have never tried any shaping exercises with your dog or puppy before, this is an easy one to try.

When I noticed my puppy turn his head away from the collar as I went to put it on, I decided to start teaching him to love wearing his collar right then and there. I held the collar out and put a treat behind it, he nudged the collar forward to try to get to his treat and I marked that with a yes (or click) and he got the treat. Timing is important as we want him to know exactly what he is being rewarded for.

I continued this way until he put his head through the collar to get to the treat. Then I held my hand with the treat in it and the hand with the collar in it separate from each other. He then had to make a decision on how to get the treat, and that was to acknowledge the collar and put your head into it. Watch the video and you will see this unfold.

Try this easy shaping exercise for fun, it’s a great way to teach your dog to problem solve!

Janice Gunn

Check out Janice’s other obedience training tips