Shaping dog behaviour is an advanced training method that builds on Capturing.
It is referred to as an advanced training method because it needs the trainer to pay vigilant attention to the dog’s movements and have superb timing when rewarding him/her. It is also a higher-level training system because the end result is a complex dog command. The nice thing about it is that it breaks down the complex behaviour in smaller, easily achievable parts for the dog/trainer team to succeed.
It is an extremely powerful method allowing you to train your GSD to do incredible things like:
It is a positive method enabling you teach a complex behaviour without any negatives. It can be achieved using a combination of clicker training with dog shaping or use a marker word/food treat.
Shaping dog behaviour uses Capturing to train advanced behaviours the dog would not normally produce on its own. Capturing is a training technique method in which you wait for the dog to perform the action (e.g. sit) then reward it when and as it happens. The use of rewards make the behaviour happen more frequently, enabling you to then add a word command and/or hand signal to it.
In shaping, instead of capturing the full behaviour (“sit”) you capture the successive steps towards the final behaviour.
Here is an example to train your dog to ring a bell:
Shaping can be a very efficient technique as it takes advantage of the fact that behaviour is variable.
This means that your GSD will repeat the behaviour with slight variations each time.