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Clicker Training Horses

This is a discussion on Clicker Training Horses within the Horse Training forums, part of the Training Horses category

     
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        07-18-2008, 09:42 PM
      #21
    Green Broke
    I completely disagree that food causes problems. If you train the horse right, they don't ask for the treat. They know the difference between doing the trick/task and being mouthy trying to get food.

    I've never had one problem with my horse doing it. It just matters on how you work with them.
         
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        07-18-2008, 11:54 PM
      #22
    Weanling
    Wow, didn't know that I hit such a hot button topic on this one.
    I can understand and appreciate the reasons FOR clicker training, but still,...I see that "ideal" as a minority, not the average, so I still say "neigh" LOL

    And Loosie, more BRATTY horses are ones that get treats. Scared, abused or just not trained doesn't count as bratty to me. Bratty is deliberate "wiggling" or beligerance because they are never MADE to do anything they don't want without cookies in hand, and the treats that usually are doled out are sugary cookies and fruits, not pellets. Again, yes, the training method is usually not done right, thus the negative view. If it's too complex for the general public to do right, is it really that successful?

    As for postive/neg reinforcement...the cessation of a cue is not "negative" in my mind. Hitting/striking etc is because it can create fear oftentimes and horses that recieve "neg" reinforcement dont' want to be near you. However, cessation of a cue is POSITVE in my view. Another horse asking a herd member to move doesn't even say thanks..he quits pinning his ears and takes the food away, he doesn't offer up a cookie to share, so I feel just the "stop pinning of ears" or not having the negatve follow up of a kick is plain and clear for the lower member, even if he has to give up a delectable nibble of grass or wait to get a drink. He's not abused, he understood, and he's not resentful. My horses still come like a dog, I say "good boy" and my hands are free to offer up a good scratch or the reins AND a bucket, whatever. The food/pushy issue just never comes up that way in the first place. I don't have to go out of my way to carry any in my pockets and it's completely free, no gadgety clicker or extra treats to buy or keep up with.

    And for the comparison to a human working. Yes, a nice "thank you" goes a long way (translation-good girl) but if my boss is nice when asking (cueing) I don't mind doing it at all-it's my job. I work for a paycheck that pays my housing/food/clothing costs, but horses ultimately are cared for overall so that's the tradeoff-their paycheck. Yes, a bonus/tip is a wonderful reward, but if it's expected everytime, then it's no longer a bonus or treat..it's my paycheck just broken down into smaller, more frequent portions. Treats are just that at my barn. An occasional apple in the bucket, just because, is fun.

    I don't even give my dog treats. as a general rule.unless I just feel like a little something fun. He sits because I tell him to, and he doesn't pee in the house because I tell him NO, but I never give him a bribe for that behavior. Just a "good dog" and he's content to do as I say. I might use a treat as a way to get him to posture a certain way and I use the voice to "cue" at the same time,but after he gets the idea, the food goes away, and I rarely do that.

    So...overall, I don't like clicker training. For most people it turns out wrong. It complicates a simple process by adding more "props" and ties up one's hands. If you like it, go right ahead. I don't have a problem with it. I won't partake and when I'm too busy to trim all the horses that I get calls for, the bratty, treat trained ones are the first to be knocked off my list, becuase they make my job a lot harder. I'd rather work a spooky, untrained one. That's just me, and you won't change my mind, and I won't attempt to change yours.
         
        07-19-2008, 12:08 AM
      #23
    Green Broke
    I see it as finding out what your horse responds to and using that. Some horses respond really well to pats and scratches only and some horses respond to treat (my idea of treat is a packer pellet - NOTHING sugary).

    Again, you have to know how to use treats properly to make sure the horse doesn't get mouthy and I think that's where some of the problems come.
         
        07-22-2008, 05:19 AM
      #24
    Trained
    I'm back!
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by barefoothooves
    BRATTY horses are ones that get treats. Scared, abused or just not trained doesn't count as bratty to me.
    ... If it's too complex for the general public to do right, is it really that successful?
    Re the word bratty, I agree that's not my term for a scared horse, but untrained or badly trained 'brats' are in the same boat IMO. I've been in the business of teaching horsemanship & 'dogmanship' for a while now and while I think getting a grasp on training skills IS complex and the general public(that I know) generally do make lots of mistakes(with a variety of methods), I've found c/t principles to be reasonably easy for people to get a grip on. Perhaps there are few good c/t teachers & many good conventional trainers around you.

    Quote:
    As for postive/neg reinforcement...the cessation of a cue is not "negative" in my mind. Hitting/striking etc is because it can create fear oftentimes and horses that recieve "neg" reinforcement dont' want to be near you. However, cessation of a cue is POSITVE
    Sorry, we're talking behavioural terminology. :roll: I may not have explained as I usually do, because I assumed from the thread topic that people would be on the same wavelength....

    Positive Reinforcement(+R) is adding something desirable to strengthen the behaviour
    Negative Reinforcement(-R) is removing something undesirable to strengthen the behaviour
    Positive Punishment(+P) is adding something undesirable to weaken a behaviour
    Negative Punishment(-P) is removing something desirable to weaken a behaviour.

    If I'm giving a scratch for a job well done, that's +R. If I'm releasing the pressure of a 'cue' that's -R, if I'm hitting the horse, locking him up, riding him, they may all be +P. If I'm removing or disallowing feed from a rude horse, that's -P.

    Quote:
    And for the comparison to a human working. Yes, a nice "thank you" goes a long way (translation-good girl) but if my boss is nice when asking (cueing) I don't mind doing it at all-it's my job. I work for a paycheck that pays my housing/food/clothing costs, but horses ultimately are cared for overall so that's the tradeoff-their paycheck.
    Now I know I was the one who brought up the human eg but I'm going to accuse you of anthropomorphising(hope you know what it means, as I don't know if I spelled it right ). That is, projecting purely human values, ways of thinking and morals onto another species.

    I think 'thank you" is different to "good girl" because we are a verbal language species who have learned the meaning of the words explicitly & understand abstract concepts. We are also a species that seems to innately value recognition. To a horse, it's just noise that (hopefully) has been associated with desirable consequences.

    That the horse should see his 'paycheck' regarding training as being looked after by the human is flawed. For one, the horse doesn't ask to be kept in confinement, worked and choose to rely on a human for everything.

    Secondly, horses live 'in the moment' and are unable to think in abstract ideas such as linking current behaviours to past or future care. That is why it's so important to reinforce or punish *at the time of* the behaviour you want to effect.

    Quote:
    but I never give him a bribe for that behavior. Just a "good dog" and he's content to do as I say. I might use a treat as a way to get him to posture a certain way
    Sorry, my training in behavioural psych coming out again, :roll: but a bribe is something desirable offered ahead of a behaviour in order to make it more likely. In dog training it is generally called 'luring'. So you do indeed bribe your dog. Not that that's bad - it's a valid way of shaping behaviour, tho as you said, once the dog gets it, you quit with the treats, or else it becomes more of a bribe in the way people usually think of the word, which I agree doesn't work very well.
         
        07-22-2008, 07:29 AM
      #25
    Foal
    I love clicker training, it has helped me with several situations.

    Tucker was a treat mugger and would come up to you and pretty much knock you over looking for treats.(My roommates doing, he gives him a treat every time he walks through the pens) So the first thing that I taught him was to wait patiently for treats. Kind of like putting a treat on a dogs nose and making them wait until they get a signal that its ok to get the treat. Now I can put it right under his nose and he will turn his head away and wait until I tell him its ok. So I have to say that when done properly you aren't going to have any problems.

    As far as treats go I use different treats to tell him how good he did. Pellets=means well done carrots= really great!! Ginger snaps= Fantastic and peppermints= Jackpot you got it right. They are all fed in small amounts, and I limit how many treats per session. So I don't feel that its overloading him on sweets.

    The clicker is a amazing communication tool. I don't carry it around any more I just use a tongue cluck. I use it on the ground as well as under saddle. However just like any type of training it can be used improperly. I can name a dozen people off the top of my head that misuse methods that are common practice.

    -Myst
         
        07-22-2008, 08:07 AM
      #26
    Weanling
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by loosie
    I'm back!
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by barefoothooves
    BRATTY horses are ones that get treats. Scared, abused or just not trained doesn't count as bratty to me.
    ... If it's too complex for the general public to do right, is it really that successful?
    Re the word bratty, I agree that's not my term for a scared horse, but untrained or badly trained 'brats' are in the same boat IMO. I've been in the business of teaching horsemanship & 'dogmanship' for a while now and while I think getting a grasp on training skills IS complex and the general public(that I know) generally do make lots of mistakes(with a variety of methods), I've found c/t principles to be reasonably easy for people to get a grip on. Perhaps there are few good c/t teachers & many good conventional trainers around you.

    Quote:
    As for postive/neg reinforcement...the cessation of a cue is not "negative" in my mind. Hitting/striking etc is because it can create fear oftentimes and horses that recieve "neg" reinforcement dont' want to be near you. However, cessation of a cue is POSITVE
    Sorry, we're talking behavioural terminology. :roll: I may not have explained as I usually do, because I assumed from the thread topic that people would be on the same wavelength....

    Positive Reinforcement(+R) is adding something desirable to strengthen the behaviour
    Negative Reinforcement(-R) is removing something undesirable to strengthen the behaviour
    Positive Punishment(+P) is adding something undesirable to weaken a behaviour
    Negative Punishment(-P) is removing something desirable to weaken a behaviour.

    If I'm giving a scratch for a job well done, that's +R. If I'm releasing the pressure of a 'cue' that's -R, if I'm hitting the horse, locking him up, riding him, they may all be +P. If I'm removing or disallowing feed from a rude horse, that's -P.

    Quote:
    And for the comparison to a human working. Yes, a nice "thank you" goes a long way (translation-good girl) but if my boss is nice when asking (cueing) I don't mind doing it at all-it's my job. I work for a paycheck that pays my housing/food/clothing costs, but horses ultimately are cared for overall so that's the tradeoff-their paycheck.
    Now I know I was the one who brought up the human eg but I'm going to accuse you of anthropomorphising(hope you know what it means, as I don't know if I spelled it right ). That is, projecting purely human values, ways of thinking and morals onto another species.

    I think 'thank you" is different to "good girl" because we are a verbal language species who have learned the meaning of the words explicitly & understand abstract concepts. We are also a species that seems to innately value recognition. To a horse, it's just noise that (hopefully) has been associated with desirable consequences.

    That the horse should see his 'paycheck' regarding training as being looked after by the human is flawed. For one, the horse doesn't ask to be kept in confinement, worked and choose to rely on a human for everything.

    Secondly, horses live 'in the moment' and are unable to think in abstract ideas such as linking current behaviours to past or future care. That is why it's so important to reinforce or punish *at the time of* the behaviour you want to effect.

    Quote:
    but I never give him a bribe for that behavior. Just a "good dog" and he's content to do as I say. I might use a treat as a way to get him to posture a certain way
    Sorry, my training in behavioural psych coming out again, :roll: but a bribe is something desirable offered ahead of a behaviour in order to make it more likely. In dog training it is generally called 'luring'. So you do indeed bribe your dog. Not that that's bad - it's a valid way of shaping behaviour, tho as you said, once the dog gets it, you quit with the treats, or else it becomes more of a bribe in the way people usually think of the word, which I agree doesn't work very well.

    Hmmmmkaaaaaay, so if after I say "you won't change my mind and I'm not going to try to change yours" and give you a treat, or click, you will drop it? Cause I have to say...you are telling me the same things..I'm fully capable of understanding the logic, I just don't agree with the method. So it's becoming " negative reinforcement" when you keep telling me the same thing over and over, since we are a verbal species Sometimes the best training is to know when to quit. :) I'm bowing out respectfully, and you are getting on my nerves..perhaps is the fact this kid doesn't know she's past her due date and I'm just testy.. so don't take any of this personally.
         

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