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How to correct these habits?

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        06-13-2012, 01:41 AM
      #11
    Foal
    You know why our horse is reacting o kissing / clucking so dramatically?

    Its the signal to gallop - or go faster.
    Not every trainer / trackrider does it, but I have seen and I myself sometimes cluck or kiss to make the horse go faster.

    I would say most likely, your horse was used to this signal and is now a bit confused of the meaning. I don't know anyway of really fixing it, rather then not cluck or kiss at all.
         
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        06-13-2012, 07:07 AM
      #12
    Foal
    Behaviour that gets rewarded gets repeated. If you horse is continuing to perform the aggressive threat behaviour its getting rewarded, as others have suggested.

    Whether or not it has anything to do with dominance or respect is irrelevant, what's relevant is that its no longer rewarded so there is nothing to be gained for the horse by practicing it.

    Teaching the horse to step backwards quickly and from a light cue can be helpful. We use a dressage whip to quickly reinforce pressure on the nose or bit, remembering to release both immediately the horse steps back. This is useful for getting his mouth out of range. Better still can be teaching a behaviour that's incompatible with the biting.

    Having the horse checked for pain is also worth considering. A recent French study of riding school horses found that 75% of over a 100 horses tested had back pain and of those 70% routinely put their ears back, threatened to bite or kick or actually bit or kicked when approached by a handler carrying a saddle.

    Horses don't plan but they are very good at making associations and what you are seeing is the horse associating you with something it doesn't like and behaving accordingly. If the slapping isn't reducing the behaviour its obviously less aversive than the reward the horse is getting for performing it. A good rule of thumb is that if you are getting less than 50% correct responses to a cue or three failed responses in a row then the cue is either not effective or the horse does not understand what response is required.

    We train biters to turn their heads away for food rewards and we use a kiss noise as the bridge between the correct response and the food reward but any distinctive noise will do. Using food is a positive outcome for the horse and so far, all of ours have preferred carrots to any reward they get from getting us to move away to avoid the bite. Its best trained with the horse behind a gate or stable door. At first reward a slight head turn away and then as they get it, make it harder until the turn their heads right away. Ignore any pinned ears or other behaviour-they generally quickly stop trying it because they don't get the food while they are doing it.

    Then when they are reliably turning their heads away behind the gate- usually takes about 5 mins max, you can start targeting it when you are standing in the positions they have tried to bite in the past. In most cases this is when standing on the left side, so useful to teach them to turn their heads to the right. They can't bite and turn their head away at the same time and getting food is usually more rewarding. A big note of caution is to make sure that they NEVER get a food reward when the ears are pinned or they are threatening a bite- otherwise that will make things much worse. Keeping in mind the rule of all animal training- whatever gets rewarded gets repeated can assist with getting the timing right- whatever behaviour comes immediately before a reward or a punisher is what will be repeated or reduced (in the case of punishment).
         
        06-13-2012, 07:26 AM
      #13
    Foal
    Corymbia - I like the idea of the head turning, except I just have a question. When he is biting, it is not when I am out in front of him. It's when I'm picking out his feet or brushing him. Therefore, he turns his head around to bite/pin his ears. More often he turns to the right (because he likes to look off at the fields to the right while in the cross ties) and then whips around with ears pinned. From this, I should teach him to turn to the left, correct?

    As far as pain, we've had a chiropractor, equine dentist, vet, and farrier all out recently. Chiropractor said there is minimal back pain that came from his hocks. We've put him on a joint supplement (at the chiropractor's request). The dentist is still doing corrective things in his mouth, but at this point his teeth are no longer hurting him.

    Thank you so much.
         
        06-13-2012, 08:41 AM
      #14
    Trained
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by corymbia    
    Behaviour that gets rewarded gets repeated. If you horse is continuing to perform the aggressive threat behaviour its getting rewarded, as others have suggested.

    Whether or not it has anything to do with dominance or respect is irrelevant, what's relevant is that its no longer rewarded so there is nothing to be gained for the horse by practicing it.

    Teaching the horse to step backwards quickly and from a light cue can be helpful. We use a dressage whip to quickly reinforce pressure on the nose or bit, remembering to release both immediately the horse steps back. This is useful for getting his mouth out of range. Better still can be teaching a behaviour that's incompatible with the biting.

    Having the horse checked for pain is also worth considering. A recent French study of riding school horses found that 75% of over a 100 horses tested had back pain and of those 70% routinely put their ears back, threatened to bite or kick or actually bit or kicked when approached by a handler carrying a saddle.

    Horses don't plan but they are very good at making associations and what you are seeing is the horse associating you with something it doesn't like and behaving accordingly. If the slapping isn't reducing the behaviour its obviously less aversive than the reward the horse is getting for performing it. A good rule of thumb is that if you are getting less than 50% correct responses to a cue or three failed responses in a row then the cue is either not effective or the horse does not understand what response is required.

    We train biters to turn their heads away for food rewards and we use a kiss noise as the bridge between the correct response and the food reward but any distinctive noise will do. Using food is a positive outcome for the horse and so far, all of ours have preferred carrots to any reward they get from getting us to move away to avoid the bite. Its best trained with the horse behind a gate or stable door. At first reward a slight head turn away and then as they get it, make it harder until the turn their heads right away. Ignore any pinned ears or other behaviour-they generally quickly stop trying it because they don't get the food while they are doing it.

    Then when they are reliably turning their heads away behind the gate- usually takes about 5 mins max, you can start targeting it when you are standing in the positions they have tried to bite in the past. In most cases this is when standing on the left side, so useful to teach them to turn their heads to the right. They can't bite and turn their head away at the same time and getting food is usually more rewarding. A big note of caution is to make sure that they NEVER get a food reward when the ears are pinned or they are threatening a bite- otherwise that will make things much worse. Keeping in mind the rule of all animal training- whatever gets rewarded gets repeated can assist with getting the timing right- whatever behaviour comes immediately before a reward or a punisher is what will be repeated or reduced (in the case of punishment).

    Sorry, I totally disagree with this approach. I would never reward a horse who has made an effort to bite, even if he turns his head away. IMO, you you then teaching him that if he makes the attempt then turns (like playing a game) he will get a treat. Plus, I do NOT hand feed my horses that are mouthy. That is the FIRST thing I take away. It encourages them to be more mouthy rather than less. I also do not agree with not correcting them when they pin their ears, but again, I am more into getting their respect honestly and not through bribery. Would an alpha mare give her foal a treat when they have tried to bite or kick? Not hardly.

    OP-you have gotten some good advice, but this is not it. JMHO.
    themacpack likes this.
         
        06-13-2012, 11:02 AM
      #15
    Yearling
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by franknbeans    
    Sorry, I totally disagree with this approach. I would never reward a horse who has made an effort to bite, even if he turns his head away. IMO, you you then teaching him that if he makes the attempt then turns (like playing a game) he will get a treat. Plus, I do NOT hand feed my horses that are mouthy. That is the FIRST thing I take away. It encourages them to be more mouthy rather than less. I also do not agree with not correcting them when they pin their ears, but again, I am more into getting their respect honestly and not through bribery. Would an alpha mare give her foal a treat when they have tried to bite or kick? Not hardly.

    OP-you have gotten some good advice, but this is not it. JMHO.

    Totally agreed. OP, the advice you have been given is good. Cherie hit it right on the head, he is dominant, and he's making it known.

    Do NOT feed him treats, it will only make it worse.

    One thing that you said in a previous post seems to allude to the real issue here. You said him in your space wasn't a big problem for you. Here's the thing though, it is a big problem. Horses consistently test their owners/handlers. The reason you believe that this "all of the sudden" happened is because you failed to acknowledge that those problems that are small ALWAYS escalate. So while the problem of biting may be more pressing right now, you NEED to also work on having him out of your space, or it will also escalate.

    There are a few signs from a horse that I never ignore. Pinning ears, nipping, invading space, turning hind end. These are all "minor" things to some people, but not to me. I have seen first hand how quickly these small things turn into very big things. The gelding I bought displayed these behaviors because the previous owners babied him. He eventually got over it with me, but it took a lot of work. Now, if he even tries one thing, he gets treated as if it is a big thing.

    Stop the behavior when it is tiny, and then you will never have to deal with the big dangerous stuff that comes afterwards.

    It sounds like your horse is like mine, give him an inch and he'll take a foot. So don't give him any reason to think he can get away with it.
         
        06-14-2012, 05:09 PM
      #16
    Foal
    I have first handedly seen Enzo and the barn manager and Enzo's behavior and I asure you that Hedgie is dominent. Enzo will pin his ears and make himself look scary but when it comes down to actually harming Hedgie, he is afraid of doing it (out of disobeying her and her being angry with him than her harming him). It is all an act for him and she has put him in his place and he is a sweet heart 99%of the time! I suggest a chain leadrope because that's what I use when the horse I ride acts like a freak in the cross ties. The barn manager is VERY experiences and is probably the most dominent of any horse or person in the entire barn and Enzo will pin his ears and act like he will bite him too. All the barn manager or Hedgie has to do sometimes is just give Enzo a nasty look and it will put him in his place. I personally NEVER have seen any hint that Enzo believes that he is incharge. He is also never doing this in any way to harm Hedgie. Also, Hedgie doesn't reward him for being bad and his behavior is only in the cross ties. She rewards him(with pats and attention) for being good in the cross ties(reward for good behavior)and having a good ride(a treat after the ride because he deserves to be rewarded for doing a good job!). Nothing else. Also the only thing I have to say is that everyone has their own opinion and don't expect to magically know what is going on unless you have seen this in person. Hedgie made this post to FIX the problem! She is trying to correct his bad behavior which is what she is supposed to be doing as his owner. Don't make nasty comments and judge her as a rider but HELP her instead!=) I'm sorry if this last part came across as mean or rude because that is not my intention but saying mean words and making her feel bad or not a good owner is not helping her or Enzo. Enzo is her first horse and if you could see how far they have come together, ANYONE would be proud! She is doing a great job training him and his cross tie problem should not represent her or her trainging of him. Every horse has his problems and this is Enzos.
         

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