I’m taking this really fun online class with my dog called the Tricks Challenge. Baby Blaze (18 months and 90lbs) is learning to lift his paws. It originally started out as a trick but he doesn’t seem to be aware that he has paws or that he can use them. I think this will be very useful in the show ring and with his service dog behaviors so I’m going to keep working on it.
We’re using a technique called Shaping. Shaping is where you incrementally get closer to a behavior by making small modifications. The best explanation I ever heard was with dolphins, they don’t just put a ball 20 feet in the air and hope the dolphin touches it. Nor do they force the dolphin to touch it. They probably start by having a ball floating in the water and reward the dolphin for getting close to it. Over time the dolphin learns that touching the ball gets the reward, then they slowly raise it.
I’m using the same technique with Blaze, if he moves a paw he gets a reward. I personally use clicker training. After just 5 minutes, here is the result:
You guessed it, a sleeping tired dog. Thinking is hard work!!
Here is his video