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Clicker Training: Challenge Accepted

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        01-04-2014, 09:44 PM
      #351
    Yearling
    OK so another update (I love being on break and having a better situation where I can work Flash daily!). Today, we mostly worked bareback on stopping, side passing both directions, and backing. Though I was afraid side passing more would encourage him to do it more often when I wasn't asking for it, it seems our lesson with reinforcement of sidepassing the correct direction on cue and also reinforcing stopping and holding still really stuck. Like the part Tiffany pointed out, I really do think the extra work taught him to pay attention to the cues I give him. Yay for stimulus control!

    Anyway, he's now sidepassing BEAUTIFULLY to the left and always goes the correct direction. Unfortunately, we had some trouble to the right now, so we'll need to focus on that a little. It took me a minute to diagnose our problem, though. He wasn't as coordinated as I'd like and was going forward or turning as he was side passing, and I'd try to adjust him. But, he was getting confused with my adjustments. As it turns out, he was reacting to my bum moving! When I taught him the cue to side pass, I was giving him a spur and dropping my hip on the opposite side to push him over as well as open up the direction I wanted him to go (i.e. To sidpass right, I gave a little spur on the left and dropped my left hip, shifting my weight more to the left). As with our initial work when I was teaching him to ride in the first place and really emphasizing the use of my leg (as I've always been a hands-only rider), it turns out he connected my seat and leg cues to what I was asking him to do rather than just the reins. In fact, once I corrected myself and made sure I was keeping my weight to the left even while holding him back with the reins from moving forward or asking him to keep his front and back together, he immediately responded correctly. In fact, I he even side-passed when I dropped the reins altogether! He's making me a much better rider!

    Afterward, we did some leading at liberty just for fun. I ran around the arena and he followed (he got really excited after a bit and began loping around with me), then we'd stop and I'd ask him to back up with me. He was nickering bunch each time he heard the click and even dropped (which by the way, he ALWAYS drops at least a few times when we're doing clicker training and occasionally "stands" straight up if you get my drift - have I mentioned how much he enjoys CT? Silly geldings not knowing what that's actually for.). We did a few yielding exercises at liberty as well, including the pivoting we've been working on and he was a superstar. We have so much fun!
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        01-16-2014, 11:01 AM
      #352
    Yearling
    I have been working on loading into the trailer this week. Every horse loads, just a little reluctantly. Yesterday, everyone just trotted right in!

    Millie is still afraid of backing out so we will work on that after independent loading is more solid.

    Chalk another success up to CT
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        01-16-2014, 12:12 PM
      #353
    Super Moderator
    I made a really bad mistake last week when I was putting antiseptic on an ouchy that Looby had on her nose - it was really sore so it must have stung and she ran back. I stupidly lost patience and pulled at her and got cross and that was the end of that
    I left her an hour and went back to try again - she was nervous which made me feel awful after everything we've achieved but a bit of CT and she relaxed really quickly, had the first aid done happily and then followed me around her stall while I pretended to do stuff.
    Lesson learnt!!!
         
        04-10-2014, 01:23 AM
      #354
    Yearling
    Its been ages since anyone posted here. I guess everyone is caught up in springtime crazies like me?

    I have been dealing with barn & herd sourness, as I increase time and distance on solo rides with my horses. This is one thing I have not found CT to help with.

    Now, everyone is settling in nicely. April left the yard pretty well today, and her trot was loose, had good rhythm, and was even a little stretchy. I clucked when she dropped her head to the position I wanted to get her stretching out. Usually when I cluck, she will stop dead in her tracks for her treat, she gets her treat and then we go on. Today, she did not stop! She just kept going. She was really paying attention to when I clucked, so I really focused on her head position and only clucked when it was perfect. It was amazing! She was putting all the little pieces together for long and low, getting her head just right. She didn't want to stop until we had gone about a half mile. Then, she stopped and turned for her treat. I gave her a jackpot! She seemed so pleased with herself. So, we started trotting again, and she held it together for another 1/2 mile.

    I am so proud!

    I hope to hear from you all soon! Punk, Jaydee, Jilly?
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        04-11-2014, 10:37 AM
      #355
    Super Moderator
    The weather's picked up here and dried up so I really must get started again - I need to get a new saddle for Willow but I'll use the one I have until I've got her working well enough to try some out - I found a really good saddle fitter so feel more optimistic now.
    Looby was once again the perfect horse to have her teeth, shots and Coggins done last week - no ACE or restraints - just a some CT when she got a little tense at one stage. I feel so proud of her when I think of what she was like
    I've bought a Stubben hackamore for Honey - it fits her better than the English one and I think I won't even bother with the bit at all this year
    I've never tried using CT from the saddle
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        04-11-2014, 05:42 PM
      #356
    Yearling
    Isn't it amazing? I am so proud of my mares and how far they have come. Glad you found a good fitting bridle for Honey. I switch April to a bosal when the bit seemed to bother her and her dental appointment was still 6 weeks away. She is actually much softer in the basal than her bit! I'm sticking with it too.

    I like CT in saddle for teaching long and low stretching with April. Especially lately. She gets what I am asking and seems to Luke how it feels too
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        04-11-2014, 10:24 PM
      #357
    Started
    Whew glad to hear things are going well for everyone :)

    Things have been going awesome here, very busy though! We bought a new farm and are moving the horses at the end of the month - Tank, Revel and Punk. Then in the Fall I'll be taking in 2 minis and my Gypsy colt will finally be coming home :) So very excited for that!




    Our clicker work has been going great! Punk's learned a few new fun tricks:







    Tank is learning about all sorts of new novel stimuli, can you believe she used to be spooky? :P I can't! We go for walks daily now, no spooks at all *knock on wood* she confidently targets anything I ask her too. If she tenses up looking at something (even if I'm not sure what it is) I can just tell her to "touch it" and she'll go right over and target it until it's not scary anymore! We did a little riding in the snow, but have been more focused on counter conditioning. Since we're moving at the end of the month I wanted her as comfortable as possible with new things and situations to make the transition easier.


















    So happy with my Clicker Training results :)
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        04-12-2014, 11:43 AM
      #358
    Super Moderator
    The difference in Tank is just amazing - while I'm acceptable to the idea that sometimes a good hard slap is needed for some horses in some situations your horse is living proof that the gentle approach works really well and the result can be so much more positive
    I'm going to try the CT approach with Honey and Willow this summer when they're doing ridden work - they both have hang ups that can't be sorted with 'negative reinforcement' and too much pressure
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        04-12-2014, 12:48 PM
      #359
    Yearling
    I agree Jaydee! There are some critters that just need positive reinforcement for their learning. There are also some learning that just lends itself to CT too, like Millie and the clippers right now. She is becoming a little more okay with them everyday with CT.

    Punk, tell us about the new farm! You must be very excited.
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        04-12-2014, 11:34 PM
      #360
    Started
    Thanks guys - I couldn't be happier.
    I haven't met a horse yet who would benefit from a slap (or any aversive). I find positive punishment is only good for interrupting unwanted behavior, not for fixing it. It's much easier to teach a contradictory behavior or train the abscense of the unwanted behavior. Until they have something else to do the unwanted behavior is just surpressed by punishment and likely to show up when they think it's safe to do so - resulting in "sneaky" behaviors.

    I've been starting to go back and work with the colt I'll be taking home. I got him over his aggression a year ago, but stopped working with him and it resurfaced over the winter. He was kept inside a lot due to weather and started getting worked up when someone cleaned his stall with him in it. This was treated with well timed. Very thorough positive punishment. He responded with more aggression. It got to the point where he would get whoever was in his stall pinned in a corner, striking and biting, they would fight him off with a pitchfork. Despite the good timing and the severity of the punishment it only made him worse. The past few weeks I've just been working on him standing calmly in my presence, allowing me to touch and brush him everywhere and leading quietly. His aggression melted away. He needed a clear "yesn this is what I want from you" - and it needed to be worth doing. He's doing everything at liberty now but I'm slowly adding halter cues. I only see him twice a week and only get a few minutes with him so its slow until he comes home in the fall.

    My new farm is a dream come true! Big pasture, an outdoor ring plenty of room for my 3 (going on 6!) Horses :) I'm so very excited! I might even be getting a cat to clicker train. ;)

    I'm eager to hear more updates from you all :) happy to see people enjoying clicker work!
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