Sunday, August 12, 2012

Shaping Up(date) & Bonus Trick

This past week was not my best (to put it mildly). And it was a busy one at that. I have lots of ideas for new blog posts, but the chaotic nature of my life is getting in the way of bringing them to fruition.
Finally taking a break from the chaos of this past week. As always, my dogs are there to lend support.

In the meantime, I thought I'd write a brief update on Hokey's progress with shaping. Last month, I recorded Hokey's first free shaping session and wrote a blog entry about it. In that session, I was shaping her to simply put two front feet inside an upside-down frisbee. Since then, we've progressed to 3, then 4, feet in the frisbee. Here is a demonstration of us working through the process. Again, since she is deaf, I use a hand flash as my "clicker". I have to be fast and try very hard to make sure she sees it. Here, I start by hand flashing for putting her back feet on the frisbee. Next I reinforce for movement of one of her front feet backwards so that eventually there are 3 feet in the frisbee. Finally, the fourth foot moves back - the goal - and she is generously rewarded.

As usual, Hokey catches on to the game quickly and offers the behavior consistently and repeatedly as shown in the following clip.

Soon I will be moving to a smaller frisbee.

In the meantime, I am teaching Hokey a TON of other things, including some tricks. Here she is learning to roll over. I teach this by putting her in a down then using a treat to lure her into the behavior by letting her nose follow the treat I'm holding as I slowly move it over her back. As soon as she completes the behavior, I release the treat.

And yes, I talk to her a lot even though she's deaf. It's part of the bonding process for me and I'm sure she can "hear" me, or at least recognize my intent, in her own special way.

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