Dog training via Free Shaping involves using a marker word such as “yes” or a clickerÂ (dog training tool that clicks when the button is pressed) to indicate the dog completed a desired behavior and will receive a reward. It can be used to teach a new behavior by marking and rewarding smaller components of the desired behavior. The “free” indicates that the dog is not being cued as to what is the desired behavior.
The dog figures out on his own by exploring his environment and trying new behaviors. The dog is proactively thinking how to obtain his reward. While shaping behavior sometimes takes longer than luring the dog with a treat into a desired position; it can cause the dog to be more enthusiastic and creative about the training process. And, what the dog figures out on their own tends to be more deeply practiced and retained.
Watch Kaboom, a Belgian Malinois discover what might result in a click and treat. His training up to this point has been largely done through luring. He is now learning that he can explore and practice new behaviors to earn a reward. Â In this video, he learns to go back and forth from the NePoPo Klack Klack board and the Alley Oop free standing target.
To train your dog, follow this process: 1. Charge the clicker (give it meaning by clicking it and giving your dog a food treat), 2. Click and treat when your dog performs a desired behavior, 3. Shape or lure the desired behavior, and 4. Once your dog understands the desired behavior, name it just before your dog does it so that it is now on verbal cue. For more information on dog training and clicker training via Free Shaping, contact Michigan Dog Training in Plymouth, Michigan at 734-634-4152.