Originally Posted by barefoothooves
I have to disagree..food can and DOES cause problems. Not with all horses, no. But many become pushy and most people that are willing to try clickers/food rewards are kind hearted and tend to cave at the wrong moments.
Oh, I think I get what you mean & agree - treats don't of themselves cause problems with horses, but they often enhance the problems that humans have(or cause)
But again, people are pretty proficient making training mistakes without treats too. Like I said, people often aren't fully conscious of exactly what
Why does there have to be clicker sound to reward? I can keep my hands free to hold reins or whatever and say a verbal "good boy"
It's not a reward, but the reason that something such as a clicker is more effective than saying 'good boy' is that it is a short, sharp, unique sound. Often words don't come out of mouths in as timely a fashion and often 'good boy' & the likes may be weakened by constant use other than as a bridging signal, for eg.
or in most cases, the cessation of a cue is the reward. My boys work fine with nary a treat in sight.
No, the cessation of the cue is NOT a reward(addition of something desirable). It is a negative reinforcement(removal of something undesirable). If I asked you personally to work without any kind of a reward(praise, recognition, money...) and only for -R(cessation of being ordered, punished, badgered, bullied...) you might find reasons that you should also be rewarded
:LOL: Seems to me it's the difference between working for a dictator, a slave driver & working for a respected, respectful boss or friend, or in best cases, playing a game with a friend.
-R is definitely a great way of teaching IMO, and the way horses are predominantly trained. Some 'purist' c/t-ers disagree with using any punishment or -R whatsoever, but I as most, use it in combination with c/t.
I can see it working for people,but if you're that successful with your horse,that he doesn't gets spoiled, you probably don' t need the clicker OR the food in the first place.
I agree to a large degree. As I've said, it's about the principles, not specific tools. I think using an actual clicker or such is a great way for training the *person* too, to have great timing and concentrate on what's *right* with their horse's behaviour. Many get hung up on what's 'wrong' & ignore the horse(dog, kid, husband... :roll:) when he's 'right'. Many notice good behaviour, but the only thing they do is quit hassling the horse. Bit of a backhanded compliment.
While food is a universally important reinforcement, it's not necessary & not always the most appropriate at that time for that animal. But many times, especially it seems with horses, other 'rewards' just aren't much chop. To the horse, 'good boy' is just a noise. A pat is just a light slap. These things can be linked to an actual reinforcement(often not positive tho) so the horse will learn from it, but they are not primary reinforcers themselves. Often even 'nicer' grooming is not very reinforcing. I've met lots of horses that just don't care much for human grooming for one reason or another, so how else would you reward them? On the other hand, with the help of treat training I have got horses to actively like to be groomed. My first horse for eg would put up with any handling, but never actually enjoyed it, until we discovered c/t. He ended up being so keen for a good scratch that I could then use it as a +R instead of food treats, where I couldn't have before.
Besides, seems all those snacks probably aren't the healthiest thing anyways..lots of sugar/carbs so if your horse has metabolic issues it's like giving candy to a diabetic kid.
I agree that lots of 'lollies' aren't good, but who's to say you need to feed lollies, or much quantity? I use a pelleted horse feed as my main training treats and the horse usually gets about 4-8 pellets (a pinch) per 'right' answer. I often go thru about a double handful in a session, if it's intense. I use chopped up(.5" cubes) apple or carrot as 'jackpot' reinforcers, when they do something extra good.
Hope this has explained some of the common misconceptions of c/t that you have pointed out, barefoot. I'm definitely one for 'each to his own', but I hope I've helped properly inform people before they make up their minds against it.