The Extreme Alpha Challenge! - Page 8

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The Extreme Alpha Challenge!

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    08-22-2010, 10:41 PM
Originally Posted by loosie    
If you're saying "Goood Boooy" & haven't already established, through associating it with positive reinforcement, what you want it to mean to him, you may as well say "Blah blah BlaaaaH". Whatever cue, praise, whatever, you want the horse to understand, it needs to be taught with repetition of immediate consequences.

Petting is often something that fearful, untrusting horses perceive as punishment, and something that dominant horses see as people taking liberties they have no right to, so probably not an appropriate form of reinforcement at the moment, but something horses can learn to enjoy.

Food of itself is not the problem here. But offering - or a horse knowing you have - Something Good without first teaching it manners, and teaching it what behaviours Work to get a reward *& what behaviours don't* is what gets people into trouble. That is why I suggested teaching this from the other side of a fence to begin with and establishing the rules before using them in other 'games'. It's not what *effective* reinforcements you use, but what you teach - inadvertantly or otherwise - with them that causes a horse to learn Good or Bad 'table' manners.
I agree 100% but what do you mean by immediate consequences?
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    08-22-2010, 10:57 PM
Originally Posted by SPhorsemanship    
In the modern world, horses have to do things, whether we like it or not. If I could, I would do classical dressage, and work on forming relationships and have better, back and forth communication. It's hard for that to be done and people these days don't want to spend the time doing that and they don't have the experience to do that. Please read my former post.
Don't understand the relevance of the above comments. Don't get what 'modern's' got to do with anything, or dressage. Sure you're not, but sounds like you're saying to justify your suggestions because you don't have the time or skill it takes to do it properly...?

It sounds like you come from a natural horsemanship way of training? I understand where you are coming from and from your earlier post could you explain how you "earn a horse's trust"? Have you ever worked with a dominant horse?
Without another essay... Yes, you could say I'm a 'NH' type, for what it's worth. That lable has come to mean everything & nothing these days, IMO. But to me, it's more about mindset and effectiveness. Firstly my mindset is that I believe it's important to treat everyone with respect & consideration, be it horse, human, ...husband. I don't believe I have the right to be a bully to anyone, just because I want something they may not want to give/do. As for effectiveness, I have studies equine behaviour and ethology, and have studied & practiced behavioural psychology. These things are at the basis of my approach and methods. I find behavioural theory to be very effective. There are many ways to skin a cat, so to speak. Just because I don't think it's right(or often effective or safe) to try to bully a horse into stuff doesn't mean I accept bullying from them. Also doesn't mean you can't get them to change their tune for you & end up *wanting* to please you, despite themselves.

Earning trust is one thing - it first & foremost entails not forcing the horse into stuff. Earning respect comes out of that. FWIW, have been training & retraining horses for a long time & have worked with a number of horses labled 'rogue', 'vicious', 'untrainable', 'nasty', etc, etc. I have found most of these horses are actually that way due to fear & confusion, but there have been a fair few who were not at all afraid, just what you call 'alpha' attitudes. How about you? How many 'aggressive' horses have you worked with?
    08-22-2010, 11:50 PM
Originally Posted by SPhorsemanship    
I agree 100% but what do you mean by immediate consequences?
It is the basis of (effective)training of any animal, that a behaviour is associated directly(at the time of, immediately) with whatever consequence is appropriate. In some instances that might necessarily be punishment, (either positive or negative) but mostly reinforcement is more appropriate & effective & understood - again both positive & negative. Animals require this immediate feedback for every specific behaviour because they largely aren't able to rationalise or understand abstract ideas. They live in the moment. Different species do vary in their ability to associate consequences that happen after the event. Dogs for eg. Can generally associate a consequence within 4 seconds of the behaviour. Horses need more timely reinforcement, and it must be done, at worst, within 2 seconds of the behaviour. It is always better if the reinforcement or punishment can happen *at the time of* the behaviour tho.

For those who aren't familiar with these behavioural terms....

Positive reinforcement(+R) = Adding something desirable in order to strengthen a behaviour. Ie. Reward.

Negative reinforcement(-R) = Removing something undesirable in order to strengthen a behaviour. Ie. Removal of pressure.

Positive punishment (+P) = Adding something undesirable in order to weaken a behaviour. Ie. Allowing the horse to run into something sharp/ touch electric fence, etc.

Negative punishment(-P) = Removing something desirable in order to weaken a behaviour. Ie. Removing reward, meal, etc, when the horse is being 'rude'.
    08-23-2010, 12:10 AM
I think you put it in a very good way, which is being very clear. It is important for the horse to see what is right and wrong and in this case, I think it needed to be harsh.
    08-23-2010, 12:47 AM
Originally Posted by SPhorsemanship    
It is important for the horse to see what is right and wrong and in this case, I think it needed to be harsh.
Another point about focussing on harshness & 'backhanded compliments'(-R) is that it is NOT teaching the horse what's 'Right', just what's 'Wrong'. It also seems to me to be a lot more effective to focus on teaching the Right behaviour first & foremost.
    08-23-2010, 02:03 AM
I see what you mean, but you can only be able to do that if the horse gives you mind to listen to you and not just dominate and bite you.

The harshness I have been talking about shouldn't be forever, if it is, then you are doing it wrong. It is to establish dominance from the beginning so the horse can clearly see it. I really like R+ and it gives the horse a much better mindset to work with as well as a lot more trust, but you also have to be able to trust your horse too and that means you being the dominant one with a horse-human relationship. This horse has never been shown that a human should be dominant so he will at first need a clear definition of who's more alpha than who. It is not the horse's fault, he's only doing what he knows.
    08-23-2010, 09:48 PM
Originally Posted by SPhorsemanship    
I see what you mean, but you can only be able to do that if the horse gives you mind to listen to you and not just dominate and bite you.
I don't think you do see what I mean, because believe me, they learn to 'listen' quick smart when you make it worth their while! To get a better explaination of the principles in question, "Don't Shoot The Dog" by Karen Pryor is a great little book that explains behavioural principle & gives heaps of great examples in easy, fun to read lay terms. Also if you look up 'Clicker Training' there is a lot to read on the specifics of how to teach effectively without using punishment & intimidation. There are also some good examples on specifically teaching 'respectful' behaviour to 'dominating' horses.

[/quote]but you also have to be able to trust your horse too and that means you being the dominant one with a horse-human relationship. This horse has never been shown that a human should be dominant so he will at first need a clear definition of who's more alpha than who. [/QUOTE]

I know what you mean(grew up being taught that attitude with animals), I just disagree with you.

I think it's your mindset about 'domination' and having to 'be alpha' and the meaning of 'respect' that's so different to my philosophy & therefore not allowing you to get how it's possible to go about it all differently. I believe it's important to establish *leadership* but that is not the same as 'dominance' & 'being alpha' IMO - I do not aspire to dominating & 'being alpha' in the way that you understand it. ....Possibly clear as mud but I think Mark Rashid explains the concept well, in what he calls 'Passive Leadership' and Carolyn Resnick is another that comes to mind who I've heard explain it well.
    08-23-2010, 09:56 PM
I have been to quite a few stables. I have learned from different trainers and where I live, sport takes over and in sport, there is this mindset. I aspire to learn from more trainers, out of sport. I don't like the way horses are used as riding machines. This is what I know and what has worked for me so this is what I am telling the OP to try to help them.

I would truly like to hear more of your method. I want to work with horses in a much different way but it will take much time and learning. I really don't like to force horses to do something because the question is, who gives us the right to force them to do something? Right now I have been working on the philosophy of Klaus Ferdinand Hempfling. Please tell me any other good horse trainers.
    08-23-2010, 11:24 PM
I have only skimmed over the posts-sorry, but just too long. Both the OP and the person with the other mare that challenges her when she goes to feed-BOTH need to learn respect in a hurry, or someone will get hurt. Guaranteed. I too tend to "baby" my horses a bit, but sorry-they have to have respect. This means they don't bite, turn their butt toward you or challenge you aggressively, no matter which end it is coming at you. I do LOTS of NH, and love it, but when it comes to dangerous behavior, I live by the 3 second rule. If my horse (or one I am handling at the time) threatens me they will know right then and there that it is NOT acceptable. With biting-they run into my elbow a lot, kicking-depends upon where I am-on the line-they get an immediate spank and sharp "NO". If I have my head down doing feet-I punch them in the belly. Again-nothing can compare to what another horse would do, so don't bother thinking I am cruel. I actually had one challenge me in the field last week-unusual for him. I was feeding, and he got aggressive. I left the field, and came back with his haleter and lead rope and tried to feed again. He came at he, ears pinned, teeth barred-and I swung that lead in a circular motion to keep him away, looked like I was going to kill him, and went toward him (swinging the rope) full speed. I have to say, his reaction was priceless. He took one look at me and almost fell over himself backing up the hill away from me. Now I will say, that our horses are all trained with NH, and they know that the swinging rope( cotton, Parelli/Anderson type) WILL hit them if they do not move. Let me tell you-he staightened up in a hurry.
None of this "now stand there a minute while I figure out why you are doing this"......and wait for you to attack me.....crap. I like NH as well as anyone, but sometimes you have to take over and be the leader or they will. Plain and simple. Sorry, but I am a little tired of overanalyzing everything. I try to understand them as much as anyone else, but do not ever allow an animal who weighs 10X what I do to think they are the leader. Sorry-not going to happen.
Go ahead......go off on me-and OP-I am in the area, so let me know if you want the name of a trainer-I may know one who may be able to come help you. He is a good old fashioned cowboy type, but he is by no means rough. More an nh type. He will have your horse's respect in about 5 minutes, and have him lunging in about the same. Embarrassing sometimes..:)

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