Shaping a Prop Behavior Without Prompts

Thank you Pam for sharing your training video and this helpful information…

During my certification as a KPA-CTP, I used free shaping (no prompts) and clicker training to teach my workshop dog Mattie (mini Aussie Shepherd, 4 years old) to go through a tire jump purchased from Affordable Agility. Although Mattie was clicker savvy at that point after a couple of months training her foundation behaviors, she had zero experience with jumps or any agility equipment. My aim was to free shape the behavior without body signalling or prompts from the handler, get the behaviour on verbal cue, gain stimulus control, and then place the tire jump in a small 5-part behaviour chain in this initial training session (I could do this in only one session since Mattie’s clicker foundation behaviours were well-understood).

Later in my training course, the tire jump was put in a 10-part behaviour chain, and Mattie paid attention to the verbal cue to find the tire jump in the course and jump through only on verbal cue, allowing the jump (or any other obstacle/prop for that matter) to be out on course, but only acted upon when actually cued for that behaviour (regardless of what the handler’s body might be doing or where the handler is located) – having stimulus control with fluent behaviours was a rigorous requirement of my certification.

Hope you enjoy the video. Mattie is one enthusiastic, butt-wiggling, cutie and a pleasure to work with. I also appreciate having this video as a free shaping demo for my students during orientation class in the beginner’s clicker foundation course I offer.

Thanks for the practice tire jump Affordable Agility. It was easy to put together and quick & easy to vary the jump height within a shaping session without Mattie noticing or it affecting the goal behaviour.