Clicker Training Horses

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Clicker Training Horses

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    03-26-2011, 12:04 PM
Clicker Training Horses

I was wondering what anyone's opinion was on clicker training horses. I did get a clicker and am using it to train my dogs. For one dog it works very well, and the other is afraid of it. Both dogs are crazy smart, and the dog that is afraid of it is pretty much already trained. (If she were a horse, she'd be like a seasoned pro.)

I'm wondering how practical it is for training horses. I've seen people teaching trick horses with clickers, often for target training. But would you use a clicker for riding and such?

For people who don't know what clicker training is I will try to explain. You have this little device with a button that makes a very consistant click noise. It is somewhat loud and very understandable. Each time the click happens the animal gets a treat. The click is the reward. They do the same sort of training with dolphins. Because you can't give the animal a treat in mid-jump, they would whistle, and then give the fish. So the animals are trained to listen for the whistle, or the click, as a reward. And then they'd get the treat. It's pretty much just a praise, but quick and easy. Saying "good girl" or "good boy" can be inconsistant, but that clicker is always the same each time. With the right timing, an animal can catch onto things fast.

I'm thinking it's a pretty cool way of training, but it really depends on the individual animal. So, what is your opinion?
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    03-26-2011, 12:16 PM
Im a professional dog trainer, and I use clicker training with all my students. I haven't tried it with my horses yet but I plan to. The "marker" works for all animals- I've trained dogs, cats, a ferret, fish, guinea pig, goats etc (in the case of a fish a light works rather than a clicker). You can train birds this way, an exotics (tigers, bears etc) so I see no reason not to try it with a horse. I found a horse clicker trainer on YouTube the other day, I believe it's rozwatkins or something like that but if you search horse clicker train you'll find it.
One thing many people forget is it doesn't always mean food treat- my border collie for example likes tennis balls, so I will click and toss a ball. I imagine you can do the same with horses- for example teaching them to give to pressure, the moment they give you click and release pressure
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