Learning Methods for Dogs

Four Ways to Teach Your Dog

The luring technique requires the handler to maneuver a treat around in such a way that the dog, in his attempts to get the treat, will give you the behaviour you are waiting for, or some version of it. You reward as or immediately after the command was obeyed, depending on whether it’s a new behaviour or an established one. It is important to fade luring on any cue as quickly as possible to avoid reliance on treats.

The modeling technique involves physically manipulating the dog into the desired position. (e.g. Pressure on the back-end to encourage a down). If using modelling it is important to remember to incorporate the luring technique at the same time, to avoid the training session being negative, repetitive and boring for the dog.

The capturing technique is used when the dog offers the desired behaviour in its finished form (or very close to it) without any cues on its own (e.g. Laying down. All dogs lie down eventually). You must click/mark and reward. This method takes a very long time, but over time you’ll have a dependable behaviour that you may begin to put on cue.

In shaping, you click for small approximations of the eventual desired behaviour. When the “small approximation” is being offered, handler must raise the criteria and begin looking for something a step closer to resembling the eventual behaviour. Over time and many repetitions with increasing expectations you will eventually have shaped the behaviour into the finished product. With the shaping method, you will see most definite indications of thinking an processing.

Heather McFarlane
Mindful Mutts and Mongrels

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