‘Shaping’ and ‘Chaining’ an exercise with Dogs & the differences & how to go about the process.

‘Shaping’ is the focus of teaching a dog how to carry out a task by breaking down the process in stages.

For example, if you want the dog to get into a vehicle you can take your dog by their lead to approach the vehicle, then you may wish to enter the vehicle yourself whilst working with the lead to gently encourage the dog to go into the vehicle. You might want to use your dogs favourite pieces of food if this is helpful, some dogs respond very well with the use of food in such situations, others may not so well if they are fearful or anxious. If this is the case then take even more time and patience in the introducing your dog to the process of how to be close to stationary vehicles in a quiet place without any distractions or anythings going on potentially causing the dog harm.

Once the dog has entered the vehicle, the next stage could be to fit the travel harness to the dog with the dog being in a calm state of energy, then the dog to lay down before you start the vehicle.

The idea is to break the end result into manageable stages/tasks so the dog understands what is expected of them and allowing for them to learn the process as a whole.

‘Chaining’ exercises are for teaching a dog to do multiple exercises in a row to reach a desired outcome.

For example, if you want your dog to bring a an object such as a gun dog training dummy to you and release it into your hand the first step is for the dog to pick up the dummy, then to bring the toy to you, and then to release the dummy when you hold out your hand.