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Clicker Training: Challenge Accepted

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        07-25-2013, 01:01 AM
      #261
    Yearling
    Naw, it's not something new or treat related. I should have seen it coming and left a hole in his training. He's just an ornery 3 year old that needs to learn his place, which I obviously haven't taught him (or at least I hadn't, and now I have haha).

    Though while we're talking about treats, it never fails to amaze me how food motivated this horse is. I'm positive that as long as it's edible, he'll work for it. Actually, once I taught him that there are other good foods besides hay (he did go through that "skeptic" phase where he didn't recognize treats or other foods to be edible), I've never found a food he didn't guzzle down. When I first introduced him to mash, he watched Snickers eat his for a while, took a nibble here and there, and within 5 minutes I had to take Snickers out of the paddock to finish his mash because Flash wouldn't pull his head out of the bucket. After that, Snickers asserted his dominance to make sure he got his mash, but when I added Ultramin to it and Snickers turned up his nose, Flash happily finished both of their buckets. A lot of people don't use Ultramin because their horses won't eat it - but Flash actually licks the bottom of his bucket to make sure he's got every last bit.

    I guess I couldn't ask for a better horse to do CT with haha. He's so excited to work every day because he knows there's food involved! And it never matters whether he's waiting for a meal, just ate one, or is in the middle of one - he gladly leaves his hay to work for more hay since that's what I'm using lol. I guess it must be "special" hay in his mind. Whatever. It makes us both happy - that's all that matters!
         
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        07-25-2013, 01:08 AM
      #262
    Yearling
    I guess, though, I did want to make a point that there are times you might temporarily forgo CT when there's a question of safety. I remember Punks asking about when it's ok to +P in the context of Viking getting pushy about treats, like when I give Flash a firm smack on the nose if he takes his treat with teeth. He's been getting sneaky about that lately - he starts to take the treat with his lips, and then grabs it with his teeth, so I don't have a change to just close my hand and take it way because he's already got it (and my thumb yesterday and that hurt!). After a few light flicks on his nose for taking it with his teeth, he's back to being a bit more careful when he takes his treat. Again, it's one of those things where you want a message to be communicated clearly and immediately, and sometimes an uncomfortable reaction from you is necessary, especailly when working with a 1,000 lb animal that could kill you in a heartbeat. I've got a husband to return home to, and the bottom line is that he expects me to come home in the same condition as when I left.
         
        07-25-2013, 11:00 AM
      #263
    Super Moderator
    David Archer used a sort of CT with a negative type of reinforcement in his last video - working with a warmblood that gets aggressive and kicks out
    It did seem to have the right effect on the horse but I'm not sure that it couldn't go badly in inexperienced hands
    I'm posting links to both videos of the horse so you can see its bad behavior the first time he evaluates it
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mpb9...jfQNwzoeivpzQQ

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c8zyweEwdnw
         
        07-25-2013, 09:51 PM
      #264
    Started
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jaydee    
    David Archer used a sort of CT with a negative type of reinforcement in his last video - working with a warmblood that gets aggressive and kicks out
    It did seem to have the right effect on the horse but I'm not sure that it couldn't go badly in inexperienced hands
    I'm posting links to both videos of the horse so you can see its bad behavior the first time he evaluates it
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mpb9...jfQNwzoeivpzQQ

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c8zyweEwdnw

    Those videos were VERY interesting... I'm still trying to process what I saw. Both froze on me halfway through so I couldn't see all of it and maybe I would have thought better had I seen the ending...

    The first one with the bucking horse I saw a LOT of pressure, really fast+furious type pressure. I'm not surprised the horse learned so fast, the +punishment for the wrong thing (trotting) was very aggressive shanks on his face. His punishment for not walking quietly was being chased pretty strongly at his hind end. I'm not sure his Punishment really fit his purpose. He wanted the horse to walk quietly, but he was really amping the horse up with such aggressive pressure. IMO that would gradually desensitize the horse to pressure in general, requiring really harsh pressure to get reactions - if this type of training lasted long enough. This was total -R and +P, he applied strong pressure to ask for something, the reward for the right response was a release of pressure - but the punishment for the wrong response was heavy +Punishment, the sharp shanks on the rope halter. If you notice, the horse made the wrong choice for a good 10 minutes before he even got the point he was supposed to do something else, and he got progressively more wrong before he found right. In the hands of someone less quick on their feet that horse would have easily killed them. I'm going to be honest and say, while that horse was bad and very wound up, I'm pretty surprised he didn't just kill him. I'm pretty surprised he actually stayed on the line instead of just galloping off. Maybe he knew that would just result in more chasing, but he did not look like a happy camper that whole first half. Maybe if I'd seen the end I'd have a different opinion - but this is not my training method of choice.

    In the video of the mare I was really saddened. He was connecting the sound of the click to the horse being "attacked". He gave that horse no place to go, but kept hitting her hind end. I think he was trying to make her face him. I think she was suppose to learn to face him at the sound of a click. Maybe she did in the end of the video, I don't know. In this case the click was the 'cue' not a bridge of any sort. But he would repeatedly slap her hindend, when she was already facing him and when she had nowhere to go but into him! Then when she did leap over her water tub into him he got upset with her and got after her more and more. He provided her with no right answer.

    If his timing of his click was connected to the release of the pressure, not connected to the pressure itself it may have worked better, making the horse connect the sound of the click with the release of the pressure - thus thinking of the click as a good thing. But in the case the click was a cue and if not obeyed she'd be struck, and in the initial part of the video she wasn't given an option to do the right thing before being struck.

    This trainer uses a heavy case of -R and +P, but I didn't see any +R or -P in there. I'm not opposed to -R, or +P in dangerous situations that absolutely need it, but in his case I just feel both were excessive, they had the horses seriously overstimulated and gave the right answer very hard for those two horses.
    I just don't think I liked those videos,but perhaps the ending of both would have made me feel differently so I'll reserve judgment. Curious to hear other opinions.
         
        07-26-2013, 01:31 AM
      #265
    Yearling
    Alexandra Kurland talked about the dilemma of using pressure when you are training in the "poisoned cue" video and she made comments very similar to what Punk and Jilly have said above. The whole question is something I try to keep in mind as I design my training sessions with my horses, and try to see every try and tiniest movement in the right direction. For example, training our 3 yo Millie(we think she is an Appendix) yesterday as I cued her forward, I rewarded her for leaning forward. It was small but moving toward the right answer. She was soon moving forward nicely, but I had to remind myself not to get to eager for progress and get frustrated with her and start adding more pressure.

    Thanks everyone for your thoughts on this and if you get the chance, watch that video!
         
        07-26-2013, 11:44 AM
      #266
    Super Moderator
    The horse at the end of the video where he's 'assessing' it is very calm and obliging.
    Its interesting to see how different people use different approaches so you can see results and then form your own opinions
    I thought in both there was a touch of the same methods Clinton uses which for me can be too confrontational for a lot of horses - and hype them up more than the average person can deal with
    You have to be very fast in your responses and also present a very strong 'alpha' type personality to be able to stand your ground
         
        07-26-2013, 12:07 PM
      #267
    Started
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jaydee    
    The horse at the end of the video where he's 'assessing' it is very calm and obliging.
    Its interesting to see how different people use different approaches so you can see results and then form your own opinions
    I thought in both there was a touch of the same methods Clinton uses which for me can be too confrontational for a lot of horses - and hype them up more than the average person can deal with
    You have to be very fast in your responses and also present a very strong 'alpha' type personality to be able to stand your ground

    I have to agree, both of those horses were pushed all the way to the breaking point before they came back down to any sort of calm. I feel like that was a very stressful situation for everyone involved (even my heart rate was up just watching the videos).
    I prefer to teach rather than dominate. We want our horses to exist in some sort of "calm submission" - but those two things just don't come hand in hand.
    I like to teach a skill, if my horse gets frustrated then the weights on the balance scale are getting tilted in the wrong direction. They need to go back a step and learn more thoroughly the last step before moving on. I've never had to deal with a situation of a horse being dangerous with me (while using CT), because if I see a horse reaching their threshold I back up a step - and build a stronger reinforcement history with the correct answer. When a horse reaches their threshold it won't always present as a horse getting physically tense or agitated, it may present as a horse being unwilling to work.
    I think rather resorting to +P or very strong -R we need to be better teachers. I feel like we need to use our intelligence and understanding of how things learn to better teach our animals, rather than our use of tools to force animals. In both cases the animal does what we want. In the +R case the animal works willingly and eagerly, there's something in it for them. In the -R/+P case they do it because they have to, but are usually working in a state of frustration or agitation, not as willingly.
    I don't need to dominate my horses, they already do what I want without any sort of physical altercation.

    In fact if you look at my video I posted earlier with Tank, I am using a mild amount of -R with the use of a swinging rope to get her to move out and around (and you can see I can use just the same mild amount of 'pressure' of the swinging rope, to get any gate I want with verbal cue - I never have to increase the pressure to get more out of her, she increases her own criteria). But she was also being guided where I pointed with my hand. She got +R when she stepped over a pole (in this first lesson I didn't care which gait or how well she stepped over it, she just needed to go over). Once she got the situation and what was expected of her I should have left on the great note, I decided to push it and work in the other direction too. The change of direction confused her (like I said in that video this was her first time doing any work in this paddock, and her first time with poles - so there was a lot of new stuff for her). She got frustrated and stormed off. I had 2 choices right then +P or -P. I could have chased her around the paddock wildly until she realized that leaving me results in lots of hard work - this probably would have resulted in a much less willing partner, it would have worked her up far beyond her threshold, and would have taken away her ability to choose the right answer, because there is no choice anymore. So I chose -P, I stood still and waited, her leaving me resulted in not getting anything! She knew immediately that she could leave but leaving earns her nothing, coming back earns her +R and more work, but the work is coupled with +R, so she wants it. You'll notice in the video she wasn't gone more than a few solid seconds before she was back at my side ready and eager to do the right thing. She carried on the rest of the session doing the right thing. The whole session was a total of 10 minutes but she learned to lunge in her new paddock (at liberty) over ground poles and at different gates and in different directions. I didn't need to use any sort of force or aggression.

    Here it is:

    So now I'm watching an analyzing my own video, I am using both +R and +P, but my +P is done through +R xD for example, at about 2:10 Tank makes the wrong decision to go around the pole rather than over, I asked her to trot (with only a verbal cue) I used it to say "if you don't want to go over you have to work harder" but her trot is a heavily reinforced skill while lunging, so while it was a +P of "work harder for being wrong" it was also a skill she really knows how to do well and rather than her resenting it as having to work harder, it gave her confidence because she made a "Right" choice. She gets frustrated if she makes the wrong choice too many times (constantly missing the pole and not getting her reward) so if I give her something she does know how to do, while she doesn't need to be rewarded for it it brought her mind back to "oh ok, I know how to do that, let me try one more way to see if this works" I just used trotting because it kept us moving forward.
         
        07-26-2013, 12:34 PM
      #268
    Showing
    Punk, as I watch you I'd like to put hobbles on your ankles to keep you from moving. Lol. To start, you clicked as you both stopped and she entered your space. What did you do? You backed up. Look at the video and see how many times you take at least half a step backward. That makes her the dominant one. Try not talking to her. And hold your treat hand to the side so she has to turn her head away to get it. She's a pretty big horse is she should suddenly decide to mug you for a treat.
         
        07-26-2013, 12:45 PM
      #269
    Started
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Saddlebag    
    Punk, as I watch you I'd like to put hobbles on your ankles to keep you from moving. Lol. To start, you clicked as you both stopped and she entered your space. What did you do? You backed up. Look at the video and see how many times you take at least half a step backward. That makes her the dominant one. Try not talking to her. And hold your treat hand to the side so she has to turn her head away to get it. She's a pretty big horse is she should suddenly decide to mug you for a treat.
    You're absolutely right - as I watched the video I saw the same thing, I moved way too much!! I'm not concerned with her thinking she's dominant, she always looks away for her food, but you're right, I'm moving way too darn much! I think in the beginning I found it easier to guide her by walking the inner circle, but when she got confused with the change of directions, so did I and I couldn't figure out where to put my body!
    Often though, when I backed up when I gave her the food it wasn't 'backing out of her space'. After she got her food I would back up and line myself up with her drive-line to move her forward again, this is the 'cue' I use to get her to move out while lunging at liberty. But I could have moved her over and forward a little so that I would be at her drive-line.

    But I still think you're very focused on "who's dominant", I'm not a horse, she doesn't think I'm a horse. While I try to use body language to make what I want more clear, I don't fool myself into thinking that if I act like a horse she'll obey me. She doesn't do what I ask because I'm dominant and she's submissive, she doesn't do it for fear of what might happen if she doesn't. She does what I want because there's something in it for her and because not doing what I want earns her nothing. I use +R and -P, in those cases it doesn't matter who's dominant or subordinate. She can trample me into the mud if she felt the need, but she won't be getting anything at all she wants out of it.
         
        07-27-2013, 10:55 AM
      #270
    Showing
    Get a disposable paper plate and stand on that. Ask you horse to do what you are working on but keep your feet on the plate. It will really make you think about your tactics. Her respect space should be at least longer than your arm so that when you offer a treat you have to bend a little to reach her nose. Have her walk a part circle, change hands with your tools, then have her go in the opposite direction. Keep those feet on the plate. It will start to make more sense to her. Don't ct but just work her back and forth at the walk. Ct at this time will be a distraction. Keep her focused on reversing direction. Once it's going fairly smoothly, bump the halter a little with the rope to indicate stop. Then you can approach her and offer a treat.
         

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