Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Branching out

I'm definitely going to expand my horizons in obedience training this year. I haven't participated in formal obedience training for 20 years and so much has changed. Crystal on The Reactive Champion has great discussions on Ian Dunbar's seminar and her references to shaping in obedience training got me interested in trying new training methods. I entered both Cheddar and Benny in shaping classes taught by Diane Craig at Arrowhead Dog Training Academy. After 1 session, I can see where Benny the Brittany "gets" it alot easier than Cheddar the Anatolian. Anatolians are SO independent. For thousands of years, they used their own judgement in protecting livestock with minimal instruction from the shepherds. WAIT! As soon as I typed that, I realized that shaping is perfect for Cheddar as she is used to figuring things out on her own and shaping allows her to do that! Oh cool. I would say that the light went on quicker for Benny though. Wondering what people think about this.....People often assume that the more compliant, easier to train dogs are more intelligent. Does ease of training and compliance equal intelligence? Also, I'm working on incorporating training into daily life and not just one or two ten minute sessions separate from everything else. All for now...Anne


  1. I *love* shaping and find it just a bit addictive! I'll be interested to hear more of your reactions as you experience it more.

    I think there are many kinds of intelligence, and ease of training is only one kind. The independent thinkers are also quite smart... they have to be! Those are the problem solvers, and you're absolutely right- shaping was practically invented for them!

    I haven't read it (yet), but you might like "When Pigs Fly" by Jane Killon. She has bull terriers, another independent (some say stubborn) breed.

  2. Good for you, Anne. Welcome to the world of shaping.

    Quick Clicks - Fast and Fun Behaviors to Teach You Dog With a Clicker 2nd Edition by Mandy Book & Cheryl Smith would be a great book to invest in. It is all about shaping and breaking behaviors small parts.

  3. rystal and Robin Sallie, Thanks for your comments and I'm definitely going to look into both of the books!