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Clicker Training: Challenge Accepted

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        02-14-2013, 10:53 PM
      #41
    Yearling
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by PunksTank    
    This happens to me too sometimes. One thing doesn't go as planned so I do a bunch of different things and accomplish very little. I think we humans need to walk into the situation with a clear goal in mind. "Today Flash is going to back up 3 steps" you can add and subtract in the moment depending on how it's recieved. If he's not getting it sticking to a step or two might be all you get - if he figures it out fast then expand on it, backing straighter or faster or calmer or more steps. But changing the lesson midway I can imagine would be confusibg unless you clearly change tasks. So switching from a cone target to backing up.
    Agreed - I'm definitely going to be more focused in the future. I really appreciate the clear application for how I could shape my goals and focus :)

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by PunksTank    
    Also, I get you want to work at liberty but I think a 2 and a hald year old needs a little more focus than that. My 2 and a half year old can barely contain himself - I couldn't imagine keeping his focus at liberty until the skills are learned. Perhaps use a lunge line so he has freedom to come and go, but you can pull him back when he's just being bratty. Just because this is a fun lesson and something he should want, doesn't mean he should choose when it starts and ends. Work with him on lead, when he starts getting disengaged ask a few more solid skils and let him be. Go back later. Theres no need for him to wonder away just cause he's bored. At least that's what I do! :P
    This is a good point. I think, since I'm doing this on my own, we had so much success last year at liberty that I wanted to continue all our training from liberty. However, as is often true with clicker training, a one step back might open the door to the next 2 (or more!) steps forward.

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by PunksTank    
    Also why don't you use CT for your other horse? When I work with the rescues I go between the 3 I'm currently working with by the time I'm done with the 3rd the first is eager for more and has processed what we did last. Sounds like Snikers could benefit from CT too if he's not the eager type, it may help motivate him :)
    Honestly, I don't have a good answer for this. When I got Snickers, he was already green broke and had a good foundation on him, which I took for granted and didn't really focus on training other than to take him out and get him used to trails and conditioning for endurance. It was one of those "if it's not broke, don't fix it" type of things, and I honestly just wanted to get right into endurance and not focus on training. He's an amazing endurance horse in attitude and ability as well as listening - but we've run into problems recently whenever I'm asking him to focus on what he's doing and do it correctly. This started with trying to get him to accept the bit (we usually go bit-less for endurance) and lift his back, but it's turned into the beginning of a complete makeover. I need to improve my riding technique and he needs to learn to listen when I do, so we're taking lessons together. I have been considering doing more clicker training with him, and will probably do so. However, I'm a little nervous because he has a very different personality than Flash. I was just reading about "Horsenality" profiles, and Snickers definitely fits the right-brained profile and I think he's an introvert but need to research it a little more. Either way, he's very stand-offish and *seems* disinterested, but is actually very aware of his surroundings at all times, emotional, and sensitive. He will readily walk away from food - even his favorite beet pulp - if there is something more concerning to him, which doesn't take much. He doesn't let on much, so even though the minimal clicker training we've done in the past (he wouldn't let anyone bridle him and threw his head around, so I taught him to relax and lower his head and be bridled before I would buy him), he definitely seem as "in" to it as Flash. However, now that I getting to know him a little better, he may be very motivated by clicker training and just doesn't express it. He's "too cool" to show he's excited haha. I guess I'll just have to try the clicker training to find out! He's a very odd horse and I've never met another one like him, but he intrigues me and I have a feeling I'll always be learning more about him. He's a puzzle for me to figure out :)
         
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        02-14-2013, 11:15 PM
      #42
    Started
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jillybean19    
    Agreed - I'm definitely going to be more focused in the future. I really appreciate the clear application for how I could shape my goals and focus :)



    This is a good point. I think, since I'm doing this on my own, we had so much success last year at liberty that I wanted to continue all our training from liberty. However, as is often true with clicker training, a one step back might open the door to the next 2 (or more!) steps forward.



    Honestly, I don't have a good answer for this. When I got Snickers, he was already green broke and had a good foundation on him, which I took for granted and didn't really focus on training other than to take him out and get him used to trails and conditioning for endurance. It was one of those "if it's not broke, don't fix it" type of things, and I honestly just wanted to get right into endurance and not focus on training. He's an amazing endurance horse in attitude and ability as well as listening - but we've run into problems recently whenever I'm asking him to focus on what he's doing and do it correctly. This started with trying to get him to accept the bit (we usually go bit-less for endurance) and lift his back, but it's turned into the beginning of a complete makeover. I need to improve my riding technique and he needs to learn to listen when I do, so we're taking lessons together. I have been considering doing more clicker training with him, and will probably do so. However, I'm a little nervous because he has a very different personality than Flash. I was just reading about "Horsenality" profiles, and Snickers definitely fits the right-brained profile and I think he's an introvert but need to research it a little more. Either way, he's very stand-offish and *seems* disinterested, but is actually very aware of his surroundings at all times, emotional, and sensitive. He will readily walk away from food - even his favorite beet pulp - if there is something more concerning to him, which doesn't take much. He doesn't let on much, so even though the minimal clicker training we've done in the past (he wouldn't let anyone bridle him and threw his head around, so I taught him to relax and lower his head and be bridled before I would buy him), he definitely seem as "in" to it as Flash. However, now that I getting to know him a little better, he may be very motivated by clicker training and just doesn't express it. He's "too cool" to show he's excited haha. I guess I'll just have to try the clicker training to find out! He's a very odd horse and I've never met another one like him, but he intrigues me and I have a feeling I'll always be learning more about him. He's a puzzle for me to figure out :)

    Flash sounds a LOT like my 2 and a half year old colt - and Snikers sounds JUST like my mini (minus the neurological issues xD). I think you're ignoring own teachings xD CT works for everyone, it's what you focus on that makes the difference. He probably doesn't need to learn to back up or stand still like Flash does - but you could use CT to help break him out of his shell, as well as futher your ground relationship with him. It sounds to me like Flash is your ground, fun horse and Snikers is your mounted work horse. I think you need to put them both at a happy balance between the two. Though personally I'd wait another few months and get a vet clearance before backing Flash again - I'd also probably work on line-driving before mounted work.
    My black mini (Sugar Plum) is very mellow and doesn't seem to enjoy people, but she tolerates us well enough, she knows she is no match and allows us to do as we please - but isn't ever happy about it. She's never acted out. She seems alot like your Snikers. Just today working on CT with her - more than the skills she learned (Which were minimal - learned how to take a treat + how to touch a target) what she really accomplished today was breaking out of her shell. I worked with her a total of 3, 5-10 minute sessions. By the time I walked into her paddock the 3rd time she came right up to me, she was eager and started to actually try - every skill she actually learned she learned in the 3rd session, the previous two I spent just trying to get her to eat food from my hand and staying by me, she'd rather be away if my focus is on her. When I brought her in I was grooming the pony in the stall across from hers, we let her loose in the aisle at this time of day because she's a terrible stall walker and it helps her be calm to be able to walk the aisle. She stood with her head over the door of the pony I was grooming, one she typically doesn't fraternize with - so I smothered her in attention. This is why I use CT for this pony. I could make her into doing anything I want, but seeing her break out of her little shell made it all worth it. I think Snikers will be much like her. I think it would be worth it for you to develop a ground relationship with him too. But of course, don't give up your lessons - that's Very valuable. And don't make every time you spend with him work, spend some time just sitting in his paddock, bring a book or a sketch pad - or the tack you make.

    Back to Flash - he sounds just like my terrible pony!! My Punkin came to me as a violent 'liability' pony who we couldn't rehome, so I kept him ;) doing CT in his stall I had him targeting, backing up the 18ft his stall would let him back up, chasing and kicking footballs. Then we took it to the aisle of my barn, now he'll fetch the football and get his halter off the hook for me and many other tricks. But when I take his training outside his mind is going a mile a minute. He's looking for grass, he's listening to sounds, he's jumping at trucks going by, he's doing what I'm asking but forgetting half way. THIS sounds like Flash to me. When I tried to work with him at liberty in his paddock it led to me spending a lot of time trying to get him to come back to me and a lot of wasted time. It also taught him that in the barn he was allowed to just ignore me - which he had never done before. So I started putting him on a lunge line. CT is fun - but it's still a lesson and he needs to pay attention to me. I noticed a remarkable improvement, the moment he realized he couldn't just walk away or stop and graze anymore he started focusing on me again (suddenly I became the best option again). I think Flash would do best on a line, once the skills are solid and his attention is back on your it's worth taking them off-lead, but starting off-lead is probably prolonging the training, it really doesn't need to take so long.

    Don't get me wrong - I think everything you're doing is GREAT - I'm seriously impressed and I'm no expert, I've only been doing CT a short while. I'm just saying how I would do things to speed things up and to prevent some bad habits :P Just from stuff I've learned from my own mistakes xD
         
        02-14-2013, 11:49 PM
      #43
    Yearling
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by PunksTank    
    Flash sounds a LOT like my 2 and a half year old colt - and Snikers sounds JUST like my mini (minus the neurological issues xD). I think you're ignoring own teachings xD CT works for everyone, it's what you focus on that makes the difference. He probably doesn't need to learn to back up or stand still like Flash does - but you could use CT to help break him out of his shell, as well as futher your ground relationship with him. It sounds to me like Flash is your ground, fun horse and Snikers is your mounted work horse. I think you need to put them both at a happy balance between the two. Though personally I'd wait another few months and get a vet clearance before backing Flash again - I'd also probably work on line-driving before mounted work.
    Yeah, you're right on with all of this, but I was wondering why I would need to wait a few months and get vet clearance before backing him again?

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by PunksTank    
    My black mini (Sugar Plum) is very mellow and doesn't seem to enjoy people, but she tolerates us well enough, she knows she is no match and allows us to do as we please - but isn't ever happy about it. She's never acted out. She seems alot like your Snikers. Just today working on CT with her - more than the skills she learned (Which were minimal - learned how to take a treat + how to touch a target) what she really accomplished today was breaking out of her shell. I worked with her a total of 3, 5-10 minute sessions. By the time I walked into her paddock the 3rd time she came right up to me, she was eager and started to actually try - every skill she actually learned she learned in the 3rd session, the previous two I spent just trying to get her to eat food from my hand and staying by me, she'd rather be away if my focus is on her. When I brought her in I was grooming the pony in the stall across from hers, we let her loose in the aisle at this time of day because she's a terrible stall walker and it helps her be calm to be able to walk the aisle. She stood with her head over the door of the pony I was grooming, one she typically doesn't fraternize with - so I smothered her in attention. This is why I use CT for this pony. I could make her into doing anything I want, but seeing her break out of her little shell made it all worth it. I think Snikers will be much like her. I think it would be worth it for you to develop a ground relationship with him too. But of course, don't give up your lessons - that's Very valuable. And don't make every time you spend with him work, spend some time just sitting in his paddock, bring a book or a sketch pad - or the tack you make.
    This is what I'm working on with him now, especially since I can't seem to replicate what we did in our lesson just yet so I'd rather not ride and just wait until the next lesson. There are some things I can work on without actually getting on him like posture. Our relationship is... interesting. He definitely trusts me more than anyone else and seems more or less comfortable with me, but sometimes he just get this annoyed expression if I'm asking him to do something he doesn't like, but we'll see what happens. I think I'm going to just alternate clicker sessions between Flash in the arena and Snickers in the pasture (they have their own pen).

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by PunksTank    
    Back to Flash - he sounds just like my terrible pony!! My Punkin came to me as a violent 'liability' pony who we couldn't rehome, so I kept him ;) doing CT in his stall I had him targeting, backing up the 18ft his stall would let him back up, chasing and kicking footballs. Then we took it to the aisle of my barn, now he'll fetch the football and get his halter off the hook for me and many other tricks. But when I take his training outside his mind is going a mile a minute. He's looking for grass, he's listening to sounds, he's jumping at trucks going by, he's doing what I'm asking but forgetting half way. THIS sounds like Flash to me. When I tried to work with him at liberty in his paddock it led to me spending a lot of time trying to get him to come back to me and a lot of wasted time. It also taught him that in the barn he was allowed to just ignore me - which he had never done before. So I started putting him on a lunge line. CT is fun - but it's still a lesson and he needs to pay attention to me. I noticed a remarkable improvement, the moment he realized he couldn't just walk away or stop and graze anymore he started focusing on me again (suddenly I became the best option again). I think Flash would do best on a line, once the skills are solid and his attention is back on your it's worth taking them off-lead, but starting off-lead is probably prolonging the training, it really doesn't need to take so long.

    Don't get me wrong - I think everything you're doing is GREAT - I'm seriously impressed and I'm no expert, I've only been doing CT a short while. I'm just saying how I would do things to speed things up and to prevent some bad habits :P Just from stuff I've learned from my own mistakes xD
    I'd rather learn from yours than make my own! Thanks and I really appreciate the suggestions and insights. We'll be on a line tomorrow and I'm interested in seeing how that changes things.
    PunksTank likes this.
         
        02-15-2013, 12:46 AM
      #44
    Started
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jillybean19    
    Yeah, you're right on with all of this, but I was wondering why I would need to wait a few months and get vet clearance before backing him again?
    This is my personal opinion - but I don't like to back horses until their growth plates have fused. Typically this happens around 3 years old, sometimes as late as 5. IMO it can cause lasting damage (more likely to develop arthritis). Perhaps not get a vet, if that's your choice. But I wouldn't back a horse under 3 years old. I'm looking at my 2 and a half year old and he still looks like a baby I wouldn't imagine backing him. If they're still growing up they're too young again - IMO.
    I also like them to have a SOLID foundation. My 2 and a half year old, I'm actually having someone else train because if you can't tell I'm mildly overburdened xD But it will be with me and I can't final decisions kind of thing. I've put the basics of leading and tying and farrier work and all on him with CT. The new trainer will be teaching him to give to pressure and getting him in a bridle and eventually work on line-driving and small amounts of lunging (Walk/trot only). By the time we get through all this he'll be just about old enough to start backing, I'll be backing him as I'm much lighter and more used to it than the new trainer. But at this point I don't expect much of a reaction at all.
    The horses I've backed taking all the steps up to it and using CT I've never had any issues. They know all my verbal commands and often I'll have someone on the ground to help reinforce it until they've connected all the dots.

    This is my baby, you can see my mare's big bum in the paddock behind him xD


    He has some serious energy xD
         
        02-15-2013, 12:49 AM
      #45
    Green Broke
    Wow- great thread! I just picked up a clicker at the pet store last weekend and haven't gotten a chance to use it yet, but I'm definitely inspired and looking forward to starting
         
        02-15-2013, 12:54 AM
      #46
    Yearling
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by PunksTank    
    This is my personal opinion - but I don't like to back horses until their growth plates have fused. Typically this happens around 3 years old, sometimes as late as 5. IMO it can cause lasting damage (more likely to develop arthritis). Perhaps not get a vet, if that's your choice. But I wouldn't back a horse under 3 years old. I'm looking at my 2 and a half year old and he still looks like a baby I wouldn't imagine backing him. If they're still growing up they're too young again - IMO.
    I also like them to have a SOLID foundation. My 2 and a half year old, I'm actually having someone else train because if you can't tell I'm mildly overburdened xD But it will be with me and I can't final decisions kind of thing. I've put the basics of leading and tying and farrier work and all on him with CT. The new trainer will be teaching him to give to pressure and getting him in a bridle and eventually work on line-driving and small amounts of lunging (Walk/trot only). By the time we get through all this he'll be just about old enough to start backing, I'll be backing him as I'm much lighter and more used to it than the new trainer. But at this point I don't expect much of a reaction at all.
    The horses I've backed taking all the steps up to it and using CT I've never had any issues. They know all my verbal commands and often I'll have someone on the ground to help reinforce it until they've connected all the dots.

    This is my baby, you can see my mare's big bum in the paddock behind him xD


    He has some serious energy xD
    Thanks for the tips - I didn't realized backing could cause damage if done too early. I think I'll just solidify his backing up a few steps on cue for now, then, and not worry about speed or backing up a lot. Though I want him to hustle backward eventually (for reining), I originally started doing it to teach respect for my space. So, I think a few small steps backward for now will be perfect and then we'll worry about fine-tuning it later. I think I want to work on yielding his shoulder and hind end next. What do you suggest we work on?
         
        02-15-2013, 12:55 AM
      #47
    Yearling
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by verona1016    
    Wow- great thread! I just picked up a clicker at the pet store last weekend and haven't gotten a chance to use it yet, but I'm definitely inspired and looking forward to starting
    Good luck! Let us know how it goes and feel free to ask any questions!
    PunksTank likes this.
         
        02-15-2013, 01:03 AM
      #48
    Started
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jillybean19    
    Thanks for the tips - I didn't realized backing could cause damage if done too early. I think I'll just solidify his backing up a few steps on cue for now, then, and not worry about speed or backing up a lot. Though I want him to hustle backward eventually (for reining), I originally started doing it to teach respect for my space. So, I think a few small steps backward for now will be perfect and then we'll worry about fine-tuning it later. I think I want to work on yielding his shoulder and hind end next. What do you suggest we work on?
    OH!!!! I'm SO sorry - I think we had a miscommunication! I meant Backing as in riding! Not backing up. XD I don't think backing up could cause real damage unless it's frantic or dangerous in some way! So sorry!!

    Typically I do back up, then yielding hind end, front end, side pass, then giving to the halter/bridle and so on :P
         
        02-15-2013, 01:14 AM
      #49
    Yearling
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by PunksTank    
    OH!!!! I'm SO sorry - I think we had a miscommunication! I meant Backing as in riding! Not backing up. XD I don't think backing up could cause real damage unless it's frantic or dangerous in some way! So sorry!!

    Typically I do back up, then yielding hind end, front end, side pass, then giving to the halter/bridle and so on :P
    Oh lol ok that makes sense - Then I will continue as planned ;) yeah, I'm not going to get on and ride for a while (I want to teach him everything from the ground first) - that's what Snickers is for haha. Of course it sounds like I won't be riding him for a while either. Honestly, I'm not enjoying riding either one - Flash isn't ready and when I'm riding Snickers I can't figure out our rhythm unless my instructor is here, so I'm going to wait until she comes or just not worry about "discipline" if I have to ride haha. We're functional, but could improve on a lot. I'm having a lot more fun building my relationship with both right now without even getting in the saddle.
    PunksTank likes this.
         
        02-15-2013, 11:18 AM
      #50
    Started
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jillybean19    
    Oh lol ok that makes sense - Then I will continue as planned ;) yeah, I'm not going to get on and ride for a while (I want to teach him everything from the ground first) - that's what Snickers is for haha. Of course it sounds like I won't be riding him for a while either. Honestly, I'm not enjoying riding either one - Flash isn't ready and when I'm riding Snickers I can't figure out our rhythm unless my instructor is here, so I'm going to wait until she comes or just not worry about "discipline" if I have to ride haha. We're functional, but could improve on a lot. I'm having a lot more fun building my relationship with both right now without even getting in the saddle.
    LOL I have this syndrome too!! I've had my mare a year and a half and only rode her 5 times - not because she hasn't been great, but because I just love working with her on the ground xD
         

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