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Shaping is the art of breaking a behavior into smaller steps, rewarding your puppy for each correct movement towards the overall behavior until finally, the end-desired behavior is achieved. This is really fun to do with puppies and it teaches your puppy to think so give it a try! 


Place a new novel object on the floor in front of your puppy. A short box works well. The overall behavior for this first game is for your puppy to get in the box. As soon as your puppy looks at the box, mark “YES” and give them a treat. Wait for them to look at the item again and mark “YES” then give a treat. 


After about five times, wait for your puppy to move towards the item. Once they do, mark “YES” and give a treat. Repeat four to five times. Then wait for your puppy to touch the box. Again, mark “YES” each time they do. Repeat four to five times. Next, wait for your puppy to put one paw in the box. Then two, three and finally four paws in the box. When they are in the box give them several treats and excitedly tell them how awesome they are for completing the task! 


You can teach your puppy to do all sorts of fun things by simply using shaping. It does take some patience but alleviates any frustration because technically you didn’t tell your puppy to do a thing! Perhaps you want your puppy to pick up an item in their mouth….great! Simply adjust the steps to include rewards when their mouth touches the item and then jackpot the reward when they hold it in their mouth. 


See what you can get your puppy to do this week! I’d love to see your work. Tag @baxterandbella on instagram so we can watch the fun you are having with your dog and shaping!


Happy Training!

Amy & Team


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