Is That Buffy Playing Basketball? How did you train that?
With more complex behaviors, a technique called “shaping” is used. This allows us to breakdown the overall behavior into smaller steps or achievable goals or as they are formally called, “successive approximations”.
To make this more understandable, check out my video of Buffy playing basketball. I wasn’t able to teach that behavior using one step – I had many steps that went into training that. If you read my blog last week about training plans, this is one behavior that had many steps.
Buffy had to be introduced to the hoop, how to hold the ball, move with the ball in her mouth, position the ball over the hoop, and learn when to let go. Many steps! That’s why it is called shaping – we are slowly shaping the behavior into what we want it to be. Each step is created to be achievable and gradually we can reach our final goal.