I LOVE it! Playing shaping games can be EXCITING or RELAXING...you get to choose what is right for the time. They are AWESOME for developing focus for you, patience, helps with impulse control issues as it teaches them to ignore the exciting (or overwhelming to some) world around them. Being able to relax or have fun despite what is going on in their environment is really tough for some dogs...like MINE :) These games help a ton!
1- we started playing these in the house
2-then moved out in the back yard
3- now we take these games on the road and play when we're out and about on trails or walks.
4-you can play for as little as 1 min upWARDS ...really up to you and knowing what body language to watch for to ensure you END the game BEFORE they get bored of it.
EXCITING shaping game:
I CALL IT "SHAPE DANC'N with my guys which is great on so many levels to have fun and allow them the freedom to think! I say their name, they offer up a behaviour, or just look at one of them, dance a bit, then stop..to let them know it's their turn to offer something up. At first just reward everything...even if it's just standing still, then any movement, the soon enough they'll start offering up sits, downs, and all their favourite tricks in the book...reward with enthusiasm ALL of them! Remember though the structure of the game is you dance or step side to side, while they wait till you stop...then it's their turn to offer up something when you say their name or look at them.
I play it when:
* the weather is crummy,
*when I don't feel very energetic,
*when I need a injection of happiness myself...it's so cute to watch what they offer up!
*It's also a great way when you're working on a behaviour issue where they get stuck on being 'serious' or 'worried" ...if they can all of a sudden play your fun 'SHAPE DANC'N game" then you know they are working subthreshold. If they can't and they remain frozen...you need to add distance between whatever they are 'stuck" or fixated on before drama unfolds.
*It's also a great way for them to know...my owner's not worried, it's time for that fun game...so I don't have to concern myself with what had me 'frozen' in time.
RELAXING and CALMING shaping games:
Here's our "LAZY BUMS" game spin on Dr. Karen Overall's Relaxation Protocol. IT'S a great morning game for a SLEEPY morning person like myself. It's been AWESOME!!! It really does prove that providing feedback on what you'd LIKE to see more of behaviour wise and then letting them run with it works!
Goal of this shaping game is offering up, marking and rewarding relaxed behaviours, anywhere from:
* looking in the direction of a noise and NOT barking,
*laying down preferable on their hip, rather than the pounce position...my guys offered up pounce position so I just ran with that, as they were calm and not going anywhere. Otherwise I could have used a handsignal to lure them on the hip
*sitting and chilling, standing and chilling, stopping their tail from wagging
*putting their head on the ground, laying on their side,
*even offering up sleepy eyes, a big sigh, a look away from me...all calming signals...will get them a treat! Then me upping the distractions by me moving and rewarding their relaxed states, then adding a dog moving and again rewarding their relaxed states....