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Shaping, Luring, & Capturing in Dog Training with Examples | Pupford

September 15th, 2023

Filed under Training

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Dogs are considered to be our best friends for a reason. They are loyal, friendly, and protective. However, being a dog parent comes with responsibilities. Training is one of the most important responsibilities a dog parent has.

It's important to remember that our furry friends respond best to positive training methods that tap into their motivations. In this article, we'll break down three core training techniques; luring, capturing, and shaping.

By focusing on rewards unique to each dog, we can reinforce their desired behaviors and encourage them to make the right choices. Unlike other methods that rely on physical control or correction, positive training methods prioritize our dog's well-being and encourage them to learn at their own pace.

Training helps the dog understand what is expected of them and how to communicate with their parent. We can create a positive and supportive learning environment for our beloved pets.

There are several techniques to train a dog, but in this article, we will focus on the three core dog training techniques: luring, capturing, and shaping. We will discuss what they are, how they work, and when to use them.


using luring with treats to train your dog

Luring is a technique that guides a dog into performing a desired behavior. As pet parents, we all want to see our furry friends happy and well-behaved.

Luring is a simple yet effective technique that can make training a joyful experience for you and your pup.

This method involves using treats, toys, or your hand to physically guide your dog into the desired position. Instead of applying pressure or force, luring encourages your pet to move its body voluntarily, creating a new neuron connection for deeper learning. Reinforcing good behaviors with positive rewards further strengthens the bond between you and your four-legged friend.

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Luring is an excellent tool for teaching new behaviors to your pup.

  • To lure your dog into a new behavior, hold a treat close to their nose
  • Then, move your hand in the desired direction
  • For example, to teach your dog to sit, move your hand over its head toward their tail
  • Your dog will likely follow the treat and lower their bottom to the ground
  • Once your dog performs the desired behavior, mark it and give them the treat as a reward

The beauty of luring is that it makes the training process enjoyable and interactive for your pup, creating a positive connection that will encourage them to participate more eagerly.


Luring is a quick and easy way to teach your dog new behaviors.

The repetition of this process reinforces the behavior and encourages your pet to learn more.

However, it's important to remember that luring is only a starting point in the training process. Next, you'll need to transition to using hand signals to reinforce behaviors without using treats. Then, with patience and timing, you can smoothly transition from luring to hand signals and continue to build a happy and healthy relationship with your doggo.


when your dog performs something you like be sure to capture it with a treat

Capturing is a technique used to reinforce a behavior that a dog naturally performs. The idea is to wait for the dog to perform the behavior and then reward them immediately.

Capturing is an effective method because it takes advantage of behaviors the dog is already performing, making reinforcing them easier.

Do you ever wonder what else your pooch is capable of? Capturing is an effective way to find out. It involves observing and taking note of the behaviors that your dog naturally does on their own and then using positive reinforcement to turn them into skills that you can ask them to do later on.


If you have ever struggled to teach your dog behavior using luring, capturing may be the solution you are looking for.

Capturing allows you to train your dog on challenging behaviors that are difficult to teach using luring, such as the "Place Behavior" or a "Head Tilt."


Capturing may seem like a passive approach to training, but it requires active observation and keen attention to detail. Start by casually watching your dog without drawing attention. Then, when your dog naturally sits, mark the behavior with a clicker (if using one) or a verbal marker like "Yes," and offer a treat reward.

Repeat this process several times, and your dog will start to offer the behavior on their own, expecting a reward. You can then add a verbal cue like "Sit" to this behavior, making it a reliable behavior your dog will obey.

Related Reading: SMART x50 Dog Training


Capturing may be simple, but perfecting your timing and seeing results takes practice. Here are some tips to help you capture behaviors effectively:

  • Allow your dog to offer behaviors independently; do not prompt them
  • Choose simple behaviors that your dog already does, like "Settle" or "Stretch," to start
  • Keep training sessions short and fun for both you and your dog
  • Remember to mark and reward the behavior every time to reinforce it effectively

Capturing is an empathetic way to discover your dog's hidden talents and turn natural behaviors into trained skills. With practice and patience, you can train your dog using this method and create a stronger bond between you and your pup.

🐶 Expand your dog training knowledge with a (free) guided online video course, 30 Day Perfect Pup. Sign up here! 🐶


use shaping to teach your dog more difficult behaviors like roll over

Shaping is a technique used to teach a complex behavior by breaking it down into smaller, more manageable steps. The idea is to reinforce each step until the dog learns the entire behavior. Shaping is effective because it allows the dog to learn complex behaviors at their own pace, without any pressure or stress.


Shaping does require patience, attention, and excellent timing skills from the trainer. Like learning to drive a car, your dog must master each step before performing the behavior fluently. Remember how satisfying it felt to figure out each step and finally be able to drive? Your dog can experience that same feeling of accomplishment through shaping.

Shaping is a training technique that rewards your dog's incremental progress toward a desired behavior.

  • Start by accepting any movement toward the final behavior you want to teach
  • Mark and reward your dog several times to reinforce the behavior
  • Once your dog expects to be rewarded for the beginning behavior, pause and wait for them to go one step closer to the final behavior
  • Mark and reward your dog several times to reinforce the intermediate behavior
  • Repeat this process until you are getting the exact behavior you want from your dog
  • Add a nonverbal cue for the behavior, such as a hand signal or body posture
  • Finally, add the verbal cue for the finished behavior to help your dog associate the behavior with the verbal cue


Training your dog can be a magical experience but requires the right approach. Shaping is an advanced training method that can teach your dog complicated behaviors but requires patience and a positive attitude. The key is to break down the behavior into small, achievable steps that build up to the desired result.

Above all, be patient and allow your dog to move at their own pace.

Luring could create unnecessary stress and pressure, which is counterproductive. Instead, by using shaping, you empower your dog to interact confidently with an object or move its body in a new way. Finally, keep training sessions positive and rewarding; your dog will master even the most complex behaviors!

🐶 Expand your dog training knowledge with a (free) guided online video course, 30 Day Perfect Pup. Sign up here! 🐶


luring shaping and capturing are all successful dog training techniques

In conclusion, the three core dog training techniques: luring, capturing, and shaping, are effective methods for teaching new behaviors.

  • Luring is an effective technique for basic obedience training, such as sit, stay, and come
  • Capturing is an effective method for reinforcing natural behaviors
  • Shaping is an effective method for teaching complex behaviors

It is important to remember that each dog is different, and some techniques may work better for certain dogs than others. It is also important to use positive reinforcement techniques such as treats and praise, rather than punishment or physical force, as this will build trust and strengthen the bond between the parent and the dog.

Training a dog takes time, patience, and consistency. However, the benefits of a well-trained dog are immeasurable.

A well-trained dog is a happy dog; a happy dog means a happy parent. So, if you are a dog parent, take the time to learn these core training techniques and apply them consistently to your training sessions. Your dog will thank you for it.

And don't forget to sign up for our 100% free online course, 30 Day Perfect Pup, to improve your training skills further. Sign up here!

Let us know in the comments what luring, capturing, or shaping training you use with your dogs.

🐶 Expand your dog training knowledge with a (free) guided online video course, 30 Day Perfect Pup. Sign up here! 🐶


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