Training Principle 4 tells us to shape responses and movements. An easy example of getting this one right and wrong pertains to trailer loading. Unless we shape the behaviour, we won't achieve our goal of getting the horse onto the trailer because we will only be able to release pressure and reward the horse when it is completely on the trailer.
Of course, we'd never try to do this! With trailer loading, we reward each forward movement and with a horse that is a very reluctant loader, we can even reward and release on the 'thought of forward movement'. We can see when the horse shifts its weight slightly forward and if we reward this, next time the horse may take a small step forward. Rewarding the small step will lead to a large step as the horse begins to learn where the release comes from - moving forward.
This is shaping.
Can you think of another simple example of shaping? Leave me a comment below and let me know.
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