clicker training horse to stand for mounting - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 24 Old 02-02-2012, 12:17 PM Thread Starter
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clicker training horse to stand for mounting

Hi guys.
Can anybody tell me where does one start if you want to clicker train a horse to stand nexxt to for starters a mounting block, but ultimately nest to anything e.g a tractor tyre (my most often used mounting block) of a stump, a crib, whatever. I did some clicker training with him last year for a foot he didn't want to give me for cleaning - bad memories he had hurt it the year before and hated me cleaning the wound-and hereally seemed to take to it. He is a sucker for anything that looks or smells like treats. Or if you can recommend me a good clicker training book. I have two geldings and a mare who I hope to be starting under saddle in the next few months so if I can use it on them too, that will be a big help.
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post #2 of 24 Old 02-02-2012, 12:54 PM
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I started a little clicker training with my horse.

If you think about the basic idea of clicker training.. you want to reward for good behavior by the use of the clicker. So when the horse does something you like, you click.

So the way I would do it is over exaggerate it at first. Break it down into steps. Lead the horse as usually, say ho. When the horse stops, click; treat. Keep doing so for a few more times until it becomes ingrained.

Then work on "ground tying" by draping the rope on your horse's neck and asking the horse to stand still for 5 seconds. Click; treat. Repeat until it becomes immediate.

Then it's a matter of training the horse to stand near certain things. Usually it's best to start with a mounting block. I've not gotten this far but a way I think would work is if you ground tied your horse a few feet away, you stand by the block, ask the horse to come to you, after the horse comes and halts, click; treat.

Then just keep changing it up. maybe have a word to associate with parking at something you're standing at for mounting?

My horse will park himself at the mounting block and the fence.

I hope that gives you an idea. There's probably better ways to do it, but that's how I've worked at it

"Strength is the ability to use a muscle without tension"
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post #3 of 24 Old 02-02-2012, 10:35 PM
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I want to start clicker training, but I haven't yet. But I DID teach both my horses to stand for mounting using treats. It works great. Now my friends do it too.

What I did was start out mounting in the usual way. Even if they walk off or whatever, just do the best you can, get on, try to make the horse stand, tap the side of their neck and give them a treat.

I use the tapping on the neck as a cue to turn and get the treat. But your horse won't know this at first, so you will probably have to turn their neck around using one rein while holding the treat out to them.

Anyway, after doing this several times they expect a treat as soon as you mount, so they really stand well for mounting. I didn't have a specific problem with mounting blocks with either of mine, but both would walk off and I am not that graceful and need a mounting block myself.

So basically just mount the best you can, tap horse's neck, give treat, and with luck they will start anticipating it and standing still for you to mount. It works great for me and my friends. Even one friend who was against feeding treats is now doing it.
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post #4 of 24 Old 02-03-2012, 01:23 AM
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Look up some clicker sites & you will find some good books, but you should get a fair idea from the sites. Learn the principles of it & then it should be reasonably straightforward for you to work out specifics of anything you want to teach.

Basically agree with Skys above. Break down the 'goal' into baby steps & teach them first, before combining them for the desired outcome. For eg. you need him to learn to stand on cue, take a step or 2 forward or back to be in best position, you might need your horse to come to you from a distance(eg if he walks away when you're on the block & you can't be bothered getting off & going to get him), back up, yield to pressure from the opposite side of his body - eg. you want to teach him to move his rump or shoulder closer to the mounting block when you're on it.

Start asking things as easy as possible - eg. start out asking him to stand on cue only for a second or few & don't walk away. Once he cottons on to that, start increasing the amount of time you ask, OR asking him to do it for a very short time while you move away or around him. Only begin combining different criteria once he's good at the the basic 'ingredients'.
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post #5 of 24 Old 02-03-2012, 01:38 AM
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I think clicker training is a joke, but that is just my opinion.
I would not even use it one my dog.
I do not want to have to make sure some silly clicker thing is on me 24/7 so that if I ask any one of my animals to do something they will do.

I am a firm believer in using voice and body language/hand commands.
I want my horse to know how to stand still/patient no matter what I am doing with them.
I am dealing with an antsy mare right now that has a bit of a mounting issue. She wont make a fuss or anything and its always after the first time you mount her. The first time you get one she is fine, but if you get off (say to open a gate or something) she will move a few steps when you go to get right back on. She does not do this though if you have gotten off of her and she has been tied to a trailer or been left alone for a little while, only when you try and get right back on once you have just gotten off.
It is a getting more rare because I have been working with her on it, one day I spent almost two hours doing nothing but mounting and dismounting. If the horse does not stand still for you to mount make them move their feet, if they want to move make them work then ask for them to stand still for you to mount and if they move again make them work again. This is the best method that has worked for me.
The main thing is repetition with most animals, stay consistent in your training and always make sure you reward them when they do something correctly.
This is where a lot of people mess up, if you are only punishing the animal for the wrong and you never reward them for the right they will never understand what it is your are wanting them to do.
Treats are a good tool but I do not always have a treat one hand so most of my rewards are praise and love.
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post #6 of 24 Old 02-03-2012, 09:27 AM
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Originally Posted by sierrams1123 View Post
I do not want to have to make sure some silly clicker thing is on me 24/7 so that if I ask any one of my animals to do something they will do.
Yep that's exactly why I stopped.
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"Strength is the ability to use a muscle without tension"
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post #7 of 24 Old 02-03-2012, 12:57 PM
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No clicker, just a simple chicken cluck works. The click/cluck tells the horse he's done the right thing and that a treat will follow. Not all horses need clicker training but when one is skilled in this it can be an asset when nothing else seems to work.
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post #8 of 24 Old 02-03-2012, 01:20 PM
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Here is a video link for mounting with positive reinforcement/clicker training. The term "clicker training" is a bit of a misnomer. The training is positive reinforcement training and the clicker is not necessary and you are certainly not stuck with it for the rest of your days. I use one when training a new behavior. There are a number of behavioral reasons why I choose to use the clicker as my bridge signal (communication) at first. I often move to a verbal bridge signal. At Sea World we didn't use clicker either. However, mostly I utilize the training to train a new behavior. Once trained it is just a part of their behavior repertoire and I don't need to draw attention to the behavior. Other people also handle and ride my horses. They do not utilize positive reinforcement training. I have had people, including my vet, call to compliment my horse's behavior. My vet was having to deal with wounds and he called to say my guy was phenomenal. When was the last time someone was so imperssed with your horse they had to call and tell you? The training carries over to all situations. The principles that are behind "clicker" training are proven principles that are at work in your horse's life whether you are aware of it or not. The more you learn about them the more effective you will be as a trainer/horse owner. Anyway, here is the link:
Mounting: Look No Hands!! : On Target Training with Shawna Karrasch
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post #9 of 24 Old 02-03-2012, 01:49 PM
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Originally Posted by sierrams1123 View Post
This is where a lot of people mess up, if you are only punishing the animal for the wrong and you never reward them for the right they will never understand what it is your are wanting them to do.
Treats are a good tool but I do not always have a treat one hand so most of my rewards are praise and love.
Yes - the reward should be the removal of pressure. I add a pat or verbal praise. They might not understand the exact words but they understand the tone of voice.

They shouldn't need treats to do something they are supposed to do.
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post #10 of 24 Old 02-03-2012, 02:27 PM
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The removal of pressure is called negative reinforcement. It is a reinforcer but it is not as effective as positive reinforcement. This has been proven. Positive reinforcement is something that the horse wants, desires and/or needs to other words something the will seek out on their own. Some primary reinforcers are food, air, water, sleep and procreation. They have been hard wired for these things, so this makes their value as motivators unrivaled by anything we currently hold in our training methods.

Negative reinforcement has been used successfully for hundreds of years but by adding positive to the equation you improve motivation and performance. They don't need positive reinforcement to do what we think they should do be doing. But it makes the process easier and the physiologial responses related to negative reinforcement aren't part of the equation. As I pointed out in my previous post, the final product does not end in needing treats to have a stellar performance. By utilizing positive reinforcement to your training you actually put something in it for the horse, The results are better for everyone...not just the humans.
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clicker. mounting

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