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Ear Pinning Help?!?!

This is a discussion on Ear Pinning Help?!?! within the Horse Training forums, part of the Training Horses category
  • Horse pins ears at me
  • Horse turning but not pining ears back

 
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    05-23-2010, 10:19 AM
  #21
Started
Yes horses can pin their ears out of concentration but that is not the case with the OP's horse IMO. Which is why I didn't say anything about it.
     
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    05-23-2010, 01:59 PM
  #22
Foal
This is actually a very interesting thread for me because my mare does the same. My mare pins her ears back when we're lunging and I ask her to move forward into a faster gait. I personally just attribute it to her being lazy and not wanting to work and she'll also pin back her ears if I have her food bucket in my arms when I'm leading her. That I attribute to her wanting her food and being irritated that she has to wait to get her food.

But I haven't ever punished her for it because she has never bit/charged/kicked or anything. She just puts back her ears but she knows I wont tolerate anything else.

So, sorry for jumping onto the thread her, hope the OP doesnt mind. But for those people who say pinning ears must be corrected, how do you go about doing that? I was always worried that you could get into a similar situation with dogs that are punished for growling which results in them biting without a warning. Does that not happen with horses too?
     
    05-23-2010, 02:15 PM
  #23
Weanling
Quote:
Originally Posted by CharliGirl    
Watch a herd of horses--you will rarely, if ever, see a submissive horse in an established herd put it's ears back aggressively to the dominant horse unless they are testing the dominant horse's authority. Your horse is testing you--be a leader.
You have to be the leader - all of the time. You can't let them get away with disrespectful gestures some of the time. Horses do not understand ambiguity. If a horse is doing something, pinning ears, swishing tail,turning butt to you etc that is disrespectful you have to let them know that it is not tolerated. I think pinning ears is disrespectful and it could lead to other disrespectful behavior.
     
    05-23-2010, 02:26 PM
  #24
Banned
Quote:
Originally Posted by munschk    
This is actually a very interesting thread for me because my mare does the same. My mare pins her ears back when we're lunging and I ask her to move forward into a faster gait. I personally just attribute it to her being lazy and not wanting to work and she'll also pin back her ears if I have her food bucket in my arms when I'm leading her. That I attribute to her wanting her food and being irritated that she has to wait to get her food.

But I haven't ever punished her for it because she has never bit/charged/kicked or anything. She just puts back her ears but she knows I wont tolerate anything else.

So, sorry for jumping onto the thread her, hope the OP doesnt mind. But for those people who say pinning ears must be corrected, how do you go about doing that? I was always worried that you could get into a similar situation with dogs that are punished for growling which results in them biting without a warning. Does that not happen with horses too?
Pinning ears is something like a dog growling--while it is acceptable in some situations, say to a stranger, dogs think in a pack structure. There are many reasons to growl, and a submissive dog would never growl or become aggressive with the pack leader. The same goes with horses. If the horse pins their ears at you, its quietly testing your authority.

When your horse pins her ears on the lunge, she is resenting being dominated by you and being told to move faster. When she pins her ears over the grain bucket, that's the first stages of food aggression. She's stating that she wants her food and you need to get away.

For the lunging, any time my guy gets pissy or tests me, I make him work harder. Until he's not so pissy anymore. We're working on food/grain aggression, but I put him in the round pen and if he tries to come in to my space or chase me off, then he gets to work for his food too.

The general rule is that effective punishment is only as severe as the action--so when your horse pins her ears, a simple "no" and a cue to move faster or move away would suffice...where as a threat to kick or bite would need something more severe.
     
    05-23-2010, 02:34 PM
  #25
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by munschk    
But for those people who say pinning ears must be corrected, how do you go about doing that? I was always worried that you could get into a similar situation with dogs that are punished for growling which results in them biting without a warning. Does that not happen with horses too?
Well I would say you have two options...

1. Shoo her away or make her do work when she puts her ears back

2. Treats... she get a treat when her ears are forward..

I have been using both on my abused gelding, and he's coming around really fast. When he approaches you/ or you approach him in the paddock he pins his ears, so I shoo him away, he can go away and come back with his ears forward. And when doing ground work, going anywhere behind his shoulder he pins his ears, soIi wait and when something catches his attention and his ears come forward I release the pressure, and he gets a treat. I have been doing things like this for a week, and I have cut his ear pinning in half..
     
    05-23-2010, 02:35 PM
  #26
Foal
Thats exactly what I do on the lunge. I'm not scared of her, she pins her ears and I continue to ask her for whatever gait I want and only let up when she moves into the correct pace. She still pins her ears though but she does as she's told.

As for the food aggression, she pins her ears but she learnt hard and fast not to try and get pushy with me. She pins her ears but waits, because she knows she can only go to her food when I put down the bucket and invite her to come closer. If she even tries to push into me she gets backed up, made to yield her hindquarters and forequarters and basically just worked until she stands still. She tried this once after another girl had been feeding her for two weeks and obviously let her have her way. Since I corrected her though, all she does is pin her ears.

What I want to know is, she knows the boundaries, and she does not cross them anymore. She merely pins back her ears. She does the same when people use too much leg on her, she never reacts further than that. At least not with me. So, what I really want to know is that, should I be punishing her for putting back her ears? (Oh, and hitting my horse is firmly out of the question, she's been abused so the extent of punishment is a loud no which is usually very effective).

(And as for a dog, remember, if a dog is cornered, regardless of whether it is submissive or not, it can still bite. Fight or flight. Sometimes if you don't give them the option of flight, then fight is it. I just prefer to have the warning growl than an animal that attacks out of no where.)
     
    05-23-2010, 02:44 PM
  #27
Banned
Haha I've worked with dogs for two years, I was basically trained in pack behavior, and I have seen some CRAZY dogs. Most level headed dogs, like horses, have a step ladder of aggression. But like horses, some dogs just snap for literally no reason (I've seen a 40 lb mutt track a 100 lb golden retriever she didn't like across a quarter of an acre, and then attack her for no reason).

Often times, abused horses are the ones who need the clearest boundries. She will know the difference between a smack on the chest for pawing or getting an elbow in the jaw because she turns to nip you while girthing and having the crap beaten out of her, as long as you do it in the correct time frame. I'd say 99% of correct training is timing.

And yes, you should still be "punishing" her for the ears, IMO. That's her way of saying "I will, but I don't WANT to". So in other words, if one day she decided she REALLY doesn't want to, well then she won't. As for the leg, she could either be protesting the command itself, or she could actually just be saying "I got it, thanks!" However if you use the ask-tell-demand method, then she'll earn to respond to the lighter leg and you won't have to worry about using too much.
     
    05-23-2010, 03:00 PM
  #28
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by Speed Racer    
Sam, please don't generalize and say the horse will become aggressive because she's pinning her ears.

If your horse is biting other people, then it's due to lack of respect and training on your part. Doesn't mean the OP's horse is going to become aggressive.

Some horses pin their ears a lot, but that's all they do.

My horses can pin their ears but they're not allowed to bite, kick, or otherwise threaten someone, me included.

If you're the obvious leader and don't condone such behaviour, your animals won't do it if they're trained properly and respect you.
Ya, what he said. My 6 year old QH mare pins her ears when she is in her stall, no matter who walks by, but she has NEVER attempted to bite a person , she will nip at her barn mates when they go by to head out to pasture but she always goes last so she gets upset. She pins her ears at me but I have had her from the day she was born and has never been aggressive because she knows who's boss. Me!
Ear pinning is just like a person furrowing their brows, it can mean different degrees of anger or agitation.
     
    05-23-2010, 03:08 PM
  #29
Weanling
There are several types of ears back, or pinning: it might mean fear, or submission. I think you always have to observe the rest of his behavior too. My dominant mare pins her ears when she maneuvers the other mare, who ALSO will put her ears back as she submits.

If the ears are flat back it can mean strong fear, or aggression---either scenario can be dangerous to you.
     
    05-23-2010, 08:19 PM
  #30
Foal
I would like to thank everyone again for their comments. Everything is right up our alley as far as what is going on. I have had problems with babying her and have to remind myself all the time that this is not allowed until she can behave all the time. Sometimes easier said than done. I do have to agree with what KEVIN says because as much as I understand that discipline is required it is knowing what lengths in which to go. I don't want to make it worse or head shy or scared. I think that it is going to take effort on my part and consictancy to make sure that everything is the same everytime. I also think that the treat idea is good with alot more work to calm her down. Thank you again to everyone and please getting writing to help everyone
     

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