Shaping the Spot Behavior with Dismissal

Ron Watson Dog Training, Spot and Pedestal

What Is DOC?

  • Dismiss – Say, “Go Do Dog Stuff…”
  • Observe – Watch the Dog
  • Capture – Mark and Reinforce Desirable Behavior

DOC is our Environmental Management Protocol. It is designed to help handler’s learn to passively handle their dogs. Dismiss the dog and then let her hang out there on her own in the environment and shape behaviors you would like her to use while on her own. Spot can become a default behavior that can be shaped for Environmental Management.


DOC for Action

Once there is Desire for the Spot or Pedestal and/or Desire for Duration, dismiss the dog, observe her casually and wait for her to go hit the spot.  Mark and reinforce. If you’ve done our job in building the spot so far, the dog should be waiting there right now…

Add value to Action, by marking and reinforcing as the dog gets to the spot, or marking and reinforcing the sit or down – Shaping the Spot.


DOC for Duration

Add value to duration by walking over and paying the dog for lying down patiently. Don’t use a marker and move easily. Eye conctact can be marked during the down in order to ensure that the dog gets feedback and is likely to continue lying down during the handler’s approach, but the idea is to not mark at all so the state of being down is reinforced. Redlight/Greenlight could also be used in case of a break in Duration.

Again, the idea is to reinforce the state of being motionless, an absence of action. Repetitive action works against Duration. Marking duration can be counter productive. If the dog is not staying well while approaching to deliver reinforcement, you might want to go back a step or three and get better at Releasing your dog.

Clicking marks action. Duration is an absence of Action. Don’t mark and let the cookies speak for themselves – Reinforce the State of Being.

DOC for Generalization

When the dog is dismissed you are free to do whatever it is you please in order to generalize your position (and activity). Dismiss the dog and sit down. Observe her, mark and capture the moment she hits the spot if you’re looking for Action, or just quietly capture her being in a lying down position and drop a cookie on her for Duration. Dismiss the dog while doing dishes? Be ready to capture the Spot. Dismiss while holding discs. Wait for the spot and mark it…

We hope you get the hang of the DOC handling concept, not just for Spot training either. It’s really elegant and is extremely flexible. Feel free to ask questions about DOC below.

Shaping the Spot with DOC