Fun Shaping Session!


Honored Member
Staff member
Today, Mud and I had a fun training session, all shaping. Our last session she started learning to scratch on command, while laying on her left side. I'm trying to do as much as I can to teach her she has back legs, because she STILL has issues with pivoting--she just can't seem to grasp that she has a rear end. I am trying to use Silvia Trkman's method to spiff up her heel, but she needs to know she has back feet first.
Anyway, today I started out with the coin in the bottle trick, starting with large wooden nickels and a fairly large bowl, and very quickly moving to a quarter and a very small bowl. When we started with the easy stuff she showed me right away she knew exactly what was going on. ^^ Lol! So I made it harder pretty fast because she was ready for it. Haven't tried an actual bottle yet, but I think getting it in the bottle will be a matter of practice.
Then, she was laying on her right side and I was just waiting for a behavior. Had a little lightbulb moment where I could tell the rear leg awareness tricks are making an tiny impact--even though she was laying on a different side and it's been quite a while since we've worked on any rear-end awareness stuff, she started targetting one of her rear legs, and lifting that leg at the same time. Then she started just moving that leg to see what it would get her.

One of Kikopup's videos popped into my head, where she was discussing how some of the more traditional service dog trainers teach dogs to tuck their tails by stepping on them. She taught Splash to grab her tail with her mouth and tuck it that way, because she had very little mobility in her tail.
Low and behold, Mudflap read my mind and all of a sudden targetted her tail. In just a few tries she was grabbing her tail in her mouth. YAY! Not sure if I am going to teach her to tuck her tail like Splash, or just get her tail, or bring me her tail....haven't decided. I really thought this trick was going to be kind of complicated--I've always thought teaching dogs to target or grab a part of their own body was a bit outside the box for them and would be a little tricky(no pun intended). Evidentally Mud doesn't agree. ^^

And of course, my memory card was full on my video camera....did I think to actually check that instead of just hitting record and getting to work? NO. I just hit the button and off I went. So I have NONE of this to share with y'all. :ROFLMAO: Way to go me.


Experienced Member
Thats really cool!! It's great when they cotton on quick.
Oka has little rear-end awareness. I've been doing pivots for a while and whilst she is better, in the beginning it was awful!! She would look at her front feet everytime she moved her back ones. So for a few sessions she thought that looking at her front feet was what i was after :confused: I think i got it on video too - just shows how slight mistiming and the dog making an assumption has a big impact on what they learn!


Staff member
I do believe I'll try the tail thing with Ollie! Looks like a fun trick!

I LOVE a great shaping session!


Honored Member
Staff member
For most of the tricks I've taught with shaping, she had some kind of verbal clues from me--like when I first started teaching her to pick up random objects. She associated "Get it!" with her toys, because she will stay when a toy is thrown if I tell her, and then she's released with, "Okay, GET IT!!" So, when she started touching or mouthing the object, I started saying "GET IT!" and she picked it up right away.
With this one, although I wasn't completely silent, I didn't use any verbal cues of any kind to encourage her to get her tail. She just had to think to figure it out.
We had another session last night, which didn't go as well. She wouldn't get her tail because it was too busy wagging, lol! :LOL: She did try to get her back leg a few times, and was targetting her back leg but finally started targetting her tail later in the session when she calmed down a little. So we'll try again today, maybe right after she takes a nap or something.