Originally Posted by AmazinCaucasian
Just google "useless non-productive training" somethin should come up
You clearly haven't seen well clicker trained horses. I have found it's worked wonders for my horses - not saying other methods aren't great too, but I have seen fast, effective and Yes, Useful skills learned.
It's greatly helped my fearful mare overcome her fear of new places, it's helped my aggressive pony learn to deal with people - and has even taught him to unmounted agility!! The only reason he does unmounted agility is cause he's tiny!
Clicker training is a positive, enjoyable way (for both human and horse) to learn any skill you can imagine. Want your horse to yield their hind end? Front end? Side pass? Back up? Walk and trot on lead? Walk and trot on lunge? Lunge without a line? Piaffe? Want to do it all without the use of tack? Want the horse to look forward to training?
There are 4 ways animals (and humans) learn
1) Negative punishment - being punished for doing the wrong thing (a smack for an attempted bite)
2) Positive Punishment - removal of something good for doing the wrong thing (taking food away from a horse who gets too pushy)
3) Negative reinforcement - removal of something negative for giving the right response (applying pressure, relieving it when they move away)
4) Positive reinforcement - Addition of something positive when they do something right (giving a treat for the desired response)
Personally I find the best thing to do is mix and match all 4 types depending on the circumstance - but don't knock just one style just because you don't know about it :)
The reason we use a clicker (I just make a smooch noise so I don't need to carry a clicker) is because it clearly marks the exact move you want the horse to do and buys you time to get the treat out. This is especially beneficial for doing mounted clicker training, as you can't give them a treat when they're trotting xD but if you click during the trot, they know that's what you want.
You could also use something other than treats - but it needs to be something the horse really enjoys - my mare has a seriously itchy belly and would do anything for a belly scratch. In fact, before CT, she would paw at her belly - out of concern I'd rub it to see what was wrong, then she'd make her happy face. This effectively taught her that if she paws her belly I'll scratch it - took a while to unteach that, but it's the same principle as CT. :P
I'd also like to add - no time spent with a horse is useless.
Here are some fantastic videos of the wonderful things you can do with CT
This girl is fantastic with her horse!! It's amazing, she does mounted and unmounted skills:
And example of teaching a horse Passage and Piaffe with clicker training:
This is actually a girl who's on this forum - I hope to be as good as her someday with my ponies ^^
CT works wonders for people who take the time to do it right - and it can be as useful or useless as any other training method depending on the trainer and the skills your training.