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Clicker Training: Challenge Accepted

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        04-22-2013, 02:14 PM
      #121
    Super Moderator
    I was amazed myself when Looby had her shots and blood tests this year - year 3 with us and year one was her trying to kill the vet in panic and last year was ACE given orally
    This year even though she refused to allow the lovely vet nurse to get near her once I haltered her she settled and every time I saw her go tense I 'clicked' her - no treats at that point, she relaxed, focused on me, everything done including dental work and then she got het reward
    I don't think my Vet expected such good results
    The more I do with CT the more of a convert I become - my husband too especially after seeing how Jazzie now backs up to a click and a hand signal - yes she would back up with a lot of pressure against her chest but for some reason she couldn't get beyond the mind set that backing up shouldn't always involve all that pressure
         
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        04-22-2013, 03:16 PM
      #122
    Showing
    What on earth is wrong with bribing a horse? A thunderbolt won't strike you dead. Bribe is not a horse concept, it carries a negative human connotation. Hold you hand up if you've never bribed your kid to get the result you wanted. Those who didn't aren't telling the truth. "Oh, I'd never do that!" Let's chose a less negative word, let's provide incentive. Now doesn't that sound better?
         
        04-27-2013, 07:39 PM
      #123
    Yearling
    So, today I the combination of getting out of work early and lovely weather resulted in me actually having time to work Harry. I am planning on recommitting to clicker with him this summer. He is a bit lets say dramatic and I think I can either get him to explore new things by saying "if you don't I will beat you and be scary" so I am more terrifying that anything. Or I can get new things to be really positive an associated with food. I tried the I am more scary than anything else and honestly its not me. I find with food and me being calm he is way more willing to do things. At the end of last summer, he was doing things (walking on slash) that made him uncomfortable but he did it because I asked. He is super treat motivated but not yet mugging for treats. So, do you find it easier to use a mark word or a sound/noise? Right now I am planning on reinforcing my "correct cue" and I am just not sure which is easier.
         
        04-27-2013, 10:06 PM
      #124
    Yearling
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by rookie    
    So, today I the combination of getting out of work early and lovely weather resulted in me actually having time to work Harry. I am planning on recommitting to clicker with him this summer. He is a bit lets say dramatic and I think I can either get him to explore new things by saying "if you don't I will beat you and be scary" so I am more terrifying that anything. Or I can get new things to be really positive an associated with food. I tried the I am more scary than anything else and honestly its not me. I find with food and me being calm he is way more willing to do things. At the end of last summer, he was doing things (walking on slash) that made him uncomfortable but he did it because I asked. He is super treat motivated but not yet mugging for treats. So, do you find it easier to use a mark word or a sound/noise? Right now I am planning on reinforcing my "correct cue" and I am just not sure which is easier.
    I use a sound. I started with a clicker and I recommend that. It's harder than it sounds to respond at the right moment to the behavior. Then I moved to a cluck sound when the horses and I were on firm ground ( about 3 months).

    The reason I recommend a sound instead of a word is that I want it to be extremely distinctive. Words come out of my mouth all the time, but I only make that cluck sound when I am telling my horse "yes!"
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        04-27-2013, 10:13 PM
      #125
    Yearling
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jillybean19    
    I'm training my boy specifically to be a reiner. In general, my approach has been to use "normal" training methods to guide him into doing what I want him to do, and then clicking and treating when he responds correctly. I've discovered he gets very frustrated when he has to guess what I want - he wants to get it right, and RIGHT NOW! So, I do my research to see what other people have done to teach different maneuvers.

    In the case of a spin, I recently read this suggestion:
    Trot your horse to the left, then ask for a spin to the right (like a rollback). This will give you some momentum going into the spin, but put the weight back on the hind in order to turn around. However, after one or two quick steps, trot off in the direction you just spun (to the right) to maintain momentum. To practice a spin to the left, just reverse everything. As she gets better at this and gives you the speed and response you want, ask for a few more steps, then a few more, etc. until you're getting your turns.

    The trick to this for us is figuring out where the most effective "click" spot will be. I would say, at first, that it's probably after she does the quick turn and trots off a few steps. Then, as we've said before, don't click unless she gives you a few more quick steps. Eventually, you can start clicking in the spin since she'll connect the faster steps with the click.

    Another option is to really refine your cues. My boy knows to get his butt in gear when he hears me kiss - I imagine he'd speed up his spin (when we get there) if I kissed to let him know I want more out of him. Then, I'd just click and treat when he goes a little faster.

    On a final note - you can teach this from the ground. My boarder has me working with her horse and swears by Parelli, so I had to learn a few things about it from her before she was comfortable with me working with her horse for her. (I'm not entirely new to it, but I think I feel about Parelli the same way a lot of people feel about CT lol.) Anyway, one thing she had me do was to use the horses "zones" to move away from pressure. I did notice that her horses pivoted really well when she used the front zone (head/neck/shoulder) to move her horses away from her. I did try it with my boy, and, being as responsive as he is when I lift my hands, he did a nice roll-back lol. If you're quick on your feet, you could ask for more from the ground and reward for quicker responses, then have it translate into the saddle!
    Jillybean, thank you for the help. I am very excited to try the mounted methods you suggested! I have slow feet so I will not be trying the ground method because I am too slow on the ground.
    Posted via Mobile Device
         
        05-21-2013, 12:01 AM
      #126
    Yearling
    Quick update:

    Flash is very reliably moving off my leg cues. I put a bit in his mouth, but have yet to pull on it. After being trained with the cordeo, he actually picked up on the leg cues more than the weight of the reins on his neck, so I can literally ride him with no hands (including using a leg squeeze to say "woah")!

    We worked at a trot for a few days in the round pen and I only clicked and treated for him trotting slow and collected. One of the first things I taught him was to tuck his head, so he automatically tried doing that and now he's collecting very well with his head on the vertical. Shortly afterward, I asked him to step it up to a lope and he's doing just as great - nice, collected, head tucked, and slow. Moreover, because I wanted more space, I started free-longing him in the arena, and he's going in perfect circles around me and keeping his attention on me! My vet was very impressed when she saw me longing him in the arena without a line and getting great behavior from him.

    It literally took him three 15-minute rides from the point where I asked him to trot with me on him for the very first time to him moving off my leg cues and travelling around the arena doing serpentines as well as going around the outside rail (which is still new to him).

    Today, a trainer was out there that is very well respected in our area. He doesn't use clicker training, but is familiar with it being used with horses and uses his own form of positive reinforcement (I'm not sure about the details). He was ver impressed with Flash and can't wait to see what he does in the future.

    I'm so proud of my baby! I'll post a video sooner or later. But for now, I'm off to bed until next time!
         
        05-23-2013, 11:53 PM
      #127
    Yearling
    Update with videos!

    Since I have limited time until schools out next Friday, I decided to focus on Flashs longing skills, particularly those that will help when were riding. Weve been free longing in the arena both ways at a collected trot and lope. Hes improved considerably since his lightbulb moment on Tuesday when he figured out that were doing the same thing both ways and that Im asking him to collect around the entire circle rather than just in one spot on the circle. Even his bad side (going to the right) is looking pretty good!

    Im only clicking and treating for him going completely around the circle and then some since this is still new, but were trying to lengthen how long he does it. Unfortunately, trying to record at the same time complicates the process, so this is less impressive than what he does when Im focused on him and using my body language correctly. However, they still do a decent job of showing how great hes doing!

    Afterwards, I cooled him down by riding bareback with just the halter on him (no reins), and hes really got leg-reining down. I think these little mini-rides are doing wonders for him and we can go in figure 8s, speed up, slow down, etc all with just my leg and voice cues. Ill have to get a video of him riding soon to show him off. Im so proud of him. :)


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        05-26-2013, 01:08 AM
      #128
    Foal
    I've been reading this thread all day .. stopped for a nap with my dog at some point and jumped back in :P

    This is all amazing stuff - I have successful experience with operant conditioning both with and without a clicker with a few different animals, including my dog, and a foster African Grey Parrot. I house sit for a woman who has trained her cats to do things most people don't realize cats would ever do on cue, and helped her teach them how to lie down on command. Their most recent trick is to speak on command - which is mighty hilarious from a cat. I'm certainly a fan of CT, as i've seen it work with such animals as dramatically different as parrots and dogs :)

    It's exciting to know that it can be just as successful with a horse, and plan on leasing a horse in the near future for the first time, and hope to practice some clicker training with him.

    I do have a question as far as age of horses go. For everyone actively posting here with there experiences... do you find it more or less difficult to CT a horse who has 'been around the block' so to speak, and does not push their limits, or try as many new behaviors, as compared to Jillybean's Flash, who is completely new to all forms of training, and more likely to offer new behaviors to capture and shape? Is age a factor in how you approach CT with a horse, or is the individual personality of the horse still more prominent?
         
        05-26-2013, 10:26 AM
      #129
    Yearling
    Anatopism - welcome to the thread and I'm so glad yo've had such wonderful CT experiences! It's an exciting world of training when it comes to horses :) I did have a few thoughts reading your post:

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Anatopism    
    It's exciting to know that it can be just as successful with a horse, and plan on leasing a horse in the near future for the first time, and hope to practice some clicker training with him.
    Just throwing caution to the wind here - because you're leasing the horses, you may run into a few issues. I don't know if you plan on leasing your horse for the rest of its life, but if not, that means it'll eventually go to someone new. While I prefer CT, I don't know that I'd CT a horse that I didn't plan on keeping because I don't trust that the person who got him after me wouldn't continue that training. You'll have to talk to the person you're leasing from about this.

    I imagine that a horse that has been trained using "traditional" methods would adapt back and forth easier to whatever the next person's methods are, but continuity and consistency in training and handling is so important to horses. On one extreme end of the spectrum, with a young horse still at a critical training stage and only ever having been exposed to clicker training, it can actually get dangerous if I don't have my clicker with me and we try something new to him or even just something that he hasn't practiced enough because he'll try more and more behaviors thinking he hasn't figured out what I want yet and get frustrated because he just can't get it right. He doesn't understand the release of pressure as a reward because he was simply never taught that way. Not only would we have to start from square one like a new horse in training, but I imagine it would be much more difficult than beginning with a "blank slate" because he already has formed his ideas about how the world and training works using CT. I guess this is one downside of using CT before teaching a horse how negative reinforcement works, but Flash is my forever horse and I don't even know if anybody but me will ever even work with him much less own him.

    I doubt you will run into such extreme consequences of using a clicker training with your horse, but it is something to think about. You'll have to decide what's best for your horse and its situation. (Even outside of clicker training, this is one of the difficult things about anyone using a new horse whether a lease or just borrowing for a ride - everyone rides and trains differently and I trust very few people to work with my horses, including the traditionally trained ones!)

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Anatopism    
    I do have a question as far as age of horses go. For everyone actively posting here with there experiences... do you find it more or less difficult to CT a horse who has 'been around the block' so to speak, and does not push their limits, or try as many new behaviors, as compared to Jillybean's Flash, who is completely new to all forms of training, and more likely to offer new behaviors to capture and shape? Is age a factor in how you approach CT with a horse, or is the individual personality of the horse still more prominent?
    This relates back up to what I said earlier about having a horse that's only ever been trained using CT - you may actually have an advantage by teaching CT to a horse that's "been around the block". It does take some transition time to re-wire their brain to understand that offering behaviors is a good thing, but it can be done fairly easily. Most people who do clicker training (or own horses in general) don't start with babies like I do. I've been helping my dad train horses since I was 10, so I wanted to start with scratch with my first horse and so bought a baby that'd only been halter broke. In fact, not only are most people working with horses that have "been around the block", but some of the best success stories (ask PunksTank) are about horses that have been around the worst blocks and aren't only wired to respond to "traditional" training but mainly behave the way they do out of pain and fear. You couldn't get farther than that from CT, where a horse learns to feel comfortable not only doing what he's been told, but also comfortable enough to try new things!

    Since operant conditioning is a natural thing to all living creatures, you're just opening the door for them to behave a new way with you. When I was thinking about purchasing a green-broke 7-year-old Arabian, he had major bridling issues that would have been a deal-breaker. He got super stressed every time they even reached for his poll and would shoot his head up in the hair to avoid them putting the bridle on. After they spent a week trying to fix the problem, I told them to stop working with him on it and let me try. I successfully taught him the concept of clicker training, to lower his head when presenting the bridle (helping him to relax and focus on me), and then to accept the bridle without issue. Though this is the only thing I ever worked with him on clicker training, every time the problem reappeared, I simply brought out the clicker and the bridle was on in a few minutes, so he clearly remembered and understood the concept. I chose not to clicker train him beyond that because it was just easier to work through the system we had, but thinking back, I might have gotten along with him a lot better if I'd kept it up (he had a very worried and stressed personality that took his attention everywhere and he rarely relaxed and focused on his job).
         
        05-26-2013, 11:18 AM
      #130
    Foal
    Thank you for your thoughtful and informative responses :) I will need to try out CT with my friend's mini. I'm not sure how old he is, but he is pretty shy, and it takes them a while to get him to come up to them. They've used their dog to try to herd him back to them, but it usually just results in the horse getting tired and frustrated enough to just give up. I'd like to be able to practice gaining his trust, in order to have him be more enjoyable to work with - I'd rather come to tasty treats than a big dog chasing me around :/

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jillybean19    

    Just throwing caution to the wind here - because you're leasing the horses, you may run into a few issues. I don't know if you plan on leasing your horse for the rest of its life, but if not, that means it'll eventually go to someone new. While I prefer CT, I don't know that I'd CT a horse that I didn't plan on keeping because I don't trust that the person who got him after me wouldn't continue that training. You'll have to talk to the person you're leasing from about this.
    He's an 'older' horse (I don't think the woman told me his actual age) that is part of a farm with a strong focus on 'natural horsemanship'. He is one of a handful of horses that they offer for full or half lease. He appears to be one of their best (or the best) beginner horses they have, and I'm hoping this means he has all the basics down, and that I be able to teach him things like responding with more subtle queues than he's used to, rather than working on a more complicated behavior from the ground up.

    They require lessons at the beginning of each lease, and depending on the level of the rider, may require them a little while longer into a lease - which I plan to do. What I was looking for is a place that I felt would be more open to working with me in less than traditional ways, as my ultimate goal is to own a horse that does not require tack to safely ride. If they are more rigid/set in their teaching style, or require a specific lesson plan before "experimenting" so to speak with something like CT, or never allow CT, I'm OK with that too. I don't want to encroach, as my primary goal with this lease is simply to become more knowledgeable about husbandry and tack, and simply learning from the horse itself.

    But I do plan to ask first for assistance with their trainer, rather than jump into it. :)
         

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