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Horse gets crazy about food

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    08-16-2013, 08:20 PM
  #21
Started
I am glad he's respecting your space when you feed, that's huge! I was thinking about the two of you, and I don't know if you've ever tried it, but clicker training might be highly effective for your horse. It would be a way to teach him what you DO want him to be doing directly so that there is far less frustration (and therefore craziness) on his part. So that rather than having an impatient tantrum, he knows what he needs to do to 'earn' his feed. Positive engagement can be huge for high energy horses with short attention spans and difficulty with the whole 'delayed gratification' thing.

ETA: It took my horse gaining 50-100lbs and over a year of free-choice hay before he would step away from a feeder with hay left in it. Horses are so food oriented that I think if they've experienced having empty stomachs it just takes a very long time for them to learn to relax and believe that food will still be there when they want it.
     
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    08-16-2013, 08:30 PM
  #22
Super Moderator
Quote:
Originally Posted by DriftingShadow    
First Drifter, now Whiskey.

Come to Mississippi and I will hire you as my equine nutritionist Desert! You are so helpful and I always learn a ton from you! Appreciate it so much
well, thank you
But, im kinda partial to Cali lol
     
    08-17-2013, 07:14 PM
  #23
Banned
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sharpie    
I am glad he's respecting your space when you feed, that's huge! I was thinking about the two of you, and I don't know if you've ever tried it, but clicker training might be highly effective for your horse. It would be a way to teach him what you DO want him to be doing directly so that there is far less frustration (and therefore craziness) on his part. So that rather than having an impatient tantrum, he knows what he needs to do to 'earn' his feed. Positive engagement can be huge for high energy horses with short attention spans and difficulty with the whole 'delayed gratification' thing.

ETA: It took my horse gaining 50-100lbs and over a year of free-choice hay before he would step away from a feeder with hay left in it. Horses are so food oriented that I think if they've experienced having empty stomachs it just takes a very long time for them to learn to relax and believe that food will still be there when they want it.
Sharpie I have thought about this but I don't know how to go about it. When he sees a treat he tries to attack the person with the treat. That is all he sees/focuses on.

How would I go about teaching him to not be so focused on the treat for clicker training?
     
    08-17-2013, 10:31 PM
  #24
Started
By 'attack' do you mean anything dangerous, or just being a pest? If anything dangerous, I would think you need to bring in a handful of treats and then have a come to J meeting, and repeat until he learns better if you can do so safely. If it's something dangerous, that a whole different issue all together.

If it's the run of the mill searching and nosing, ignore him and wait until he stops and stands (yes, it may take a while), then, the moment he stops and stands (ie, all four hooves on the floor and not moving, and face not touching you or about to touch you, or if he offers/does it accidentally, when he turns his head away from you), click and treat (CT). As soon as you do that, he will get all excited again and try to get more treats like when you first started. That is expected- he doesn't know the game yet. Repeat the standing and ignoring until he settles down, then, the moment he's standing quietly, CT again.

Each time, he will most likely take slightly less time to settle down, and eventually the lightbulb will go on for the following 1) the click means I am about to get a treat and 2) I can only get her to make the click by standing here looking cute. Do these session in very short increments. Maybe four or five treats until he's got the concept that standing quietly equals treats. Don't start this when he's anxious right before a meal.

Once you've got that, you can get his breakfast ready, then go do some CT for treats, followed by feeding as normal. Once that is easy and he's standing well for the treats, let him see you bring his meal bucket over and again practice CT for treats. Once he can do that with his meal bucket sitting just outside the stall, just grab it and dump it in his bucket one time after clicking rather than giving him a treat.

The goal is to teach him he can "make" you give him treats/meals by standing quietly. It gives him a job and a way to get what he wants rather than being an anxious nutso about food. There was a darn good thread on CT here not too long ago, I'll see if I can find it.
     
    08-17-2013, 10:42 PM
  #25
Started
Here it is: Clicker Training: Challenge Accepted

My disclaimer is this- I did not CT my horse. Most of my experience with it is with my two dogs and training for agility and retraining behavior problems in parrots. I HAVE, however, used CT principles on both my own horse and other horses I have cared for using a voice marker instead of a clicker. The key is that your voice marker has to be distinct, different from anything you might use accidentally, and something you can do repeatedly.

CT works very well for animals that need a little more specific direction or are anxious/worked up and therefore having trouble learning through normal training routines. Once animals 'get' the concept, it is amazing how fast they can learn using it.
     
    08-18-2013, 02:49 AM
  #26
Banned
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sharpie    
By 'attack' do you mean anything dangerous, or just being a pest? If anything dangerous, I would think you need to bring in a handful of treats and then have a come to J meeting, and repeat until he learns better if you can do so safely. If it's something dangerous, that a whole different issue all together.

If it's the run of the mill searching and nosing, ignore him and wait until he stops and stands (yes, it may take a while), then, the moment he stops and stands (ie, all four hooves on the floor and not moving, and face not touching you or about to touch you, or if he offers/does it accidentally, when he turns his head away from you), click and treat (CT). As soon as you do that, he will get all excited again and try to get more treats like when you first started. That is expected- he doesn't know the game yet. Repeat the standing and ignoring until he settles down, then, the moment he's standing quietly, CT again.

Each time, he will most likely take slightly less time to settle down, and eventually the lightbulb will go on for the following 1) the click means I am about to get a treat and 2) I can only get her to make the click by standing here looking cute. Do these session in very short increments. Maybe four or five treats until he's got the concept that standing quietly equals treats. Don't start this when he's anxious right before a meal.

Once you've got that, you can get his breakfast ready, then go do some CT for treats, followed by feeding as normal. Once that is easy and he's standing well for the treats, let him see you bring his meal bucket over and again practice CT for treats. Once he can do that with his meal bucket sitting just outside the stall, just grab it and dump it in his bucket one time after clicking rather than giving him a treat.

The goal is to teach him he can "make" you give him treats/meals by standing quietly. It gives him a job and a way to get what he wants rather than being an anxious nutso about food. There was a darn good thread on CT here not too long ago, I'll see if I can find it.
It is not dangerous behavior exactly, but the potential is there for it to become dangerous pretty quick. I have been avoiding giving him treats unless they are placed in his food bucket. It kind of goes back to the whole subject of this thread, and me making my new goal just for him to respect my space even when I have food.

He will push, shove, and blindly try to force you to give him whatever you have in your hand. Obviously this goes back to his lack of respect for me and my personal space. We have a lot of come to Jesus meetings over this, but until he gets consistent with respect I am wary of bringing something like clicker training into the picture.

One of the unfortunate things about Whiskey is that he was taught (unintentionally I am sure) by his previous owner that it is REALLY easy to push past a person when they are trying to get you to do something you don't want to do. Like stand still, or stand in the cross ties, or not get a treat.

We have been working on this issue, and he is less pushy but he is still pushy at times. I am ashamed to say it but I get after him with my crop a lot. But its because I personally feel like a horse who knows he can shove me around is dangerous and 5'2 me isnt going to win a battle I start with him by myself.
     
    08-18-2013, 06:16 AM
  #27
Super Moderator
My homebred colts had a " just lets see how far we can go" moment, being full of themselves AND hormones, at age 2. They quickly realized what I look like when I'm about ready to eat them alive, right then and there. I made myself as big and tall as possible, growling, ready to attack, within a split second of them being pushy and ignorant of my space. The look on their faces was priceless. I seemed to have gotten my point across, they never tried again.
Sharpie and DriftingShadow like this.
     
    08-20-2013, 03:42 AM
  #28
Yearling
Quote:
Originally Posted by DriftingShadow    
Sharpie I have thought about this but I don't know how to go about it. When he sees a treat he tries to attack the person with the treat. That is all he sees/focuses on.

How would I go about teaching him to not be so focused on the treat for clicker training?
Put the horse behind a fence or in a stall with stall guard in place. Stand in front of him where he can't reach you but you can reach out your hand to give the treat. Reward him as Sharpie suggested, even if its just him looking away from you for a second.

If he is snatching or rough or uses his teeth, drop your hand immediately, close your hand over the treat and flip your fist over . He can't bite you this way. Make him wait 5 seconds then try again.

My KMSH mare was dangerously pushy and bolted in hand when I got her. Now she's very respectful after using just this kind of training with her
Posted via Mobile Device
     
    08-20-2013, 11:12 AM
  #29
Yearling
My 2 cents for this are - I have a 3yr old who trots towards me when he sees me with a bucket, wants to shove his head in it and gobble down.
He is a bit wary, as the other horse usually pushes him away from hay or grass, or any other extra feed I drop in the pasture.

They both live on 2 ha open pasture, get their grass and everything, but every day I bring a bucket of grain to them. He gets enough to keep gaining weight slowly, I cannot feed him twice a day as the other one doesn't need it, and I cannot take him into a stall to feed, as I don't have one right now. At first he was eating slowly with no problems.
Then he tried to shove me away - I always had a stick with me.. in one feeding time he tried to kick me 2 times, both times I was lucky I was actually right next to his side and only felt a slight push with his backside.. I immediatelly "blew up", never even reached him with the stick, as he panicked and run off. I guarded the bucket for a few seconds more moving him around, and he came back slowly to eat. Next time I just need to "blow up" a bit when he comes trotting to the bucket, and he slows way before he reaches me and heads towards it.
The other horse just slowly walks to the bucket..

Problem is that even when I put 3 piles of hay 5 m apart from each other, the older one will push the youngster away from all, return to the one he was eating first and just stay there, and the 3yr old is scared to come near.. so its hard for me to provide enough food for him, when it seems like the grass is running low..

But otherwise, he has stopped trying to eat me when I feed - he learnt fast, that I am the boss (might need to add that he was basically untrained when we got him, and previously ate hay from a round bale, and oats from the ground with other horses)
     
    08-20-2013, 11:39 AM
  #30
Super Moderator
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cherrij    
My 2 cents for this are - I have a 3yr old who trots towards me when he sees me with a bucket, wants to shove his head in it and gobble down.
He is a bit wary, as the other horse usually pushes him away from hay or grass, or any other extra feed I drop in the pasture.

They both live on 2 ha open pasture, get their grass and everything, but every day I bring a bucket of grain to them. He gets enough to keep gaining weight slowly, I cannot feed him twice a day as the other one doesn't need it, and I cannot take him into a stall to feed, as I don't have one right now. At first he was eating slowly with no problems.
Then he tried to shove me away - I always had a stick with me.. in one feeding time he tried to kick me 2 times, both times I was lucky I was actually right next to his side and only felt a slight push with his backside.. I immediatelly "blew up", never even reached him with the stick, as he panicked and run off. I guarded the bucket for a few seconds more moving him around, and he came back slowly to eat. Next time I just need to "blow up" a bit when he comes trotting to the bucket, and he slows way before he reaches me and heads towards it.
The other horse just slowly walks to the bucket..

Problem is that even when I put 3 piles of hay 5 m apart from each other, the older one will push the youngster away from all, return to the one he was eating first and just stay there, and the 3yr old is scared to come near.. so its hard for me to provide enough food for him, when it seems like the grass is running low..

But otherwise, he has stopped trying to eat me when I feed - he learnt fast, that I am the boss (might need to add that he was basically untrained when we got him, and previously ate hay from a round bale, and oats from the ground with other horses)
Put the hay out further apart...at least 10 m, if not more, and in many small piles. Small piles aren't worth fighting over and lot's of small piles require searching....no time to guard and chase.....
     

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