Originally Posted by Curly_Horse_CMT
Loosie: my horses dont work for me, they work with me. I dont make them obey me, I ask them. We work as a team, not as a boss and a employee, so to speak.
I think this is a very good point! Agree fully and find it interesting that my comments came out sounding in contrast to this. Actually, in my more pedantic days, I hated hearing the term 'working a horse' and would only talk about 'playing' instead. OK, a pedantic mindset issue, but it's about attitude & intent, in the same way as your above comments & I believe this is imperative.
What I meant was +R means the behaviour works
for the horse - leads to desirable outcomes, is effective. Things that aren't reinforced (either positively or negatively) can be thought of as not working - not effective - for the animal. I personally do all I can to make sure that partnership and friendship and *games* are effective for the horse, rather than them just feeling like an employee in a 'job' that must be done.
So I guess you see food treats as 'pay' but you don't see praise & other +R in the same way? I think the difference is to do with our species. Humans desire praise & recognition whereas horses don't tend to care for it(tho it can be a learned bridging signal or secondary reinforcer). OK you would expect 'real'(strong) 'pay' from a boss, but if a friend or partner gave you no praise or recognition, you might not be all that keen to work - or play - with them either. Just because p & r 'works' between human friends doesn't mean it is equally as effective for other species.
The way I look at it: when my horses load in the trailer, I use positive reinforment such as a kind word, patting and then we end the session on a good note.
That's OK, but just wanted people to understand that these things are weak reinforcers, if they are that at all - often they are just 'noise' to the horse. Again, never say never - if they work, they work, regardless of strength.
Our horses have gotten nippy when too many treats were given, so they get grain at the end of a work session. I guess we can just agree to disagree lol
You can read my comments on the c/t thread for more on this if you wish, but essentially, it's what
you teach rather than the tools you use and people often don't fully comprehend exactly what behaviours they're reinforcing. I actually find c/t a very effective way to teach good manners and modify the behaviour of a nippy, rude or pushy horse.
Yes, we can certainly agree to disagree
I certainly don't think anyone should do what I say just because I said. :P We all need to come to our own conclusions. Just giving my behavioural knowledge as another perspective for people to make more informed decisions. Likewise I like to read & think objectively about other's opinions too, even if on the surface I might think I disagree. I think it's very important to stay open minded, to make the best decisions in the face of further info. I agree with the quote "If you're green you're growing, but if you're ripe you're rotten"