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shaping vs. luring

February 6th, 2011, 10:48 AM
Is it possible for some dogs that they learn better through luring a behavior instead of shaping.

I find with Enzo he wont try a million things to find out what i want, but if i lure him in to position for the first couple tries then he will start to offer that behavior himself, at which point i can add a command or hand signal.

February 6th, 2011, 11:51 AM
I do both. If it's something simple I want her to do, then I let her figure it out. Otherwise I'll do a bit of luring. I used both when I taught her to spin. I'd wait and when she started turning her head away from me, I'd click and treat, then to get her to move a bit more I'd lure, then lure some more so she'd start to turn and then turned that into the hand signal for a spin. She's awesome at it! Depending on which way I move my hand she'll spin in that direction.

February 6th, 2011, 12:56 PM
I think it has to do with the individual dog.

They have done tests with wolves and dogs. When faced with a challenge the wolves worked to figure things out for themselves where as the dogs typically gave up much earlier and looked to the person for help.

If your particular dogs breed was created to work cooperatively with a person then one strategy might work better than a breed that was created to think independently. Some dogs might be a mix of both.

February 6th, 2011, 04:53 PM
I too use both. Luke doesn't have the greatest attention span, and well...patience is not one of his virtues :D So if it's something he'd find complicated, I will lure the behavior as much as I can, and usually he gets it pretty quickly. For normal behaviors that a dog normally does on it's own in everyday life, like sit, down, come, etc...I suppose you could say I shape...although I never thought of it that way when I did it. I see it as constantly reinforcing the natural behaviors I want them to later do on command...thus instead of luring a pup into a sit for example, I will praise/treat EVERY time they sit on their own, adding the command. I find this sort of training can work really well on dogs that are more stubborn and would rather THINK they are coming up with the decision on their own, even though you're really manipulating it in a way :thumbs up Of course there are some things that you have to actually show them before they can understand what it is you want. For that..I lure. Luke would never have the patience to sit and go through all the commands and movements he knows waiting for me to click on something. He'd get fed up, tell me so, and stomp off like the spoiled little brat he can be lately :laughing:

February 6th, 2011, 08:07 PM
Luring to teach a simple behavior, then add a cue word. Once behavior/cue is learned, remove the lure or you risk turning it into a bribe.

Shaping is used to put together a more complex set of behaviors. Here are a bunch of videos that demonstrate how it's done for all sorts of stuff.

February 6th, 2011, 08:37 PM
thanks for all the info.

I was waiting for a response from you LP, i knew you would have some good videos or articles :D

Enzo just didnt seem to have the interest in trying different things to get a click.

February 7th, 2011, 01:16 PM
I find that when it comes to shaping a lot of people give up on their dogs waaay to easily, and then proclaim that their dog just can't do it. If you cave in thinking your dog can't do it, you're actually creating a dog that won't do it. It doesn't take too many repetitions to do that, and it takes many more repetitions to undo that damage. They learn to wait things out because they know mom will always come to help (be it to actually help or out of sheer frustration and lack of patience). They actually learn they don't have to think. The more you help out or lure, the harder it is for that dog to actually learn to learn and try things out by themselves.

These are the dogs that will take the longest time to try to figure out a task, not because they don't want to or because they are "slow", but because they don't know how to as they have become so heavily dependant on their human.

This applies to all dogs, makes no difference what breed they are and what they were bred to do originally. It is a basic survival instinct for dogs to try to get what they want and to figure out how to do it(unless we're dealing with one of those dogs that is completely unmotivated by food, toys, and affection). Think of this as a simple test. If your dog is playing with his favourite ball and it rolls under the couch, does he circle the couch and try to paw at the ball to try to get it, or will he cry for you to come help. Shaping works on chickens, sheep, horses, and dogs with the same basic principle. If any thing, the success of shaping more often comes down to the timing and skills of the handler in recognizing which steps to treat and for how long and their dedication to stick to it.

February 7th, 2011, 01:52 PM
I have tried some shaping with Leo (Dachshund, not the most trainable breed) he will just stare at me if I try and make him figure it out. Then he will just lay down and look bored. If I use luring he is much more enthusiastic, he likes being shown what to do so he can do it and get the reward haha
I think it is personality and in some ways breed dependent, some dogs are more predisposed to want to work for you while others rather work for themselves...