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It's Time for Horse Training to Evolve

This is a discussion on It's Time for Horse Training to Evolve within the Horse Training forums, part of the Training Horses category

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        11-02-2013, 06:36 PM
      #141
    Trained
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by bsms    
    1 - Most people do not know the clinical meaning of positive or negative as applied to a reinforcement.
    Yes, that's obvious. That's what this thread's about. I think it's valuable for people wishing to train any animal to understand the concepts, because regardless how much or little you understand, how you choose to use them, they still apply.

    Quote:
    This is part of why people reject the advice of so many experts - the advice doesn't match the reality we see. My 3 horses, and Lilly before them, most definitely DID understand the idea of being punished for disobeying the rules. They did not have an instinctive knowledge of what each rule might be - stand still while mounting, for example, is not instinctive - but once a rule is taught, they DO understand punishment for offending the rule.
    I was thinking about how often people are indeed out of whack with reality & *assume* a horse 'knows' a lot more than they do. Timing for eg is another huge factor in correct punishment or reinforcement, that people don't understand the importance of. There's also the question of motivation. For eg. If your mare moves while mounting because something hurts & you punish her for it. Perhaps I didn't explain very well.

    Quote:
    Again, the resistance comes in large part because it doesn't match the reality we see around us. None of my horses act resentful over negative reinforcement, and none of them show any sign of being upset over pressure/release of pressure. If you can get the desired result without clickers or treats, then why start using them?
    It seems to me you miss the whole point then. Release of pressure IS negative reinforcement by the way. I don't think anyone was saying your horse should resent it or some such. The whole point as far as I'm concerned was about why SHOULDN'T you make the most of positive reinforcement too - be that with clickers & treats or otherwise. Why limit yourself to half the spectrum?? Why should you be so against rewarding your horse with something Good, rather than just the removal of something Bad??

    Quote:
    If I wished to teach a trick, such as would be needed in the movies, then I'd try clicker training. But I don't see much value in it for teaching my horse more confidence, or to swing her rear end in response to pressure, etc.
    That IMO sounds that you don't understand the principles behind it very well. Each to his own as to whether you want to IMO, but it irritates me when people put down what they don't get.

    Quote:
    The 'positive' is then the relief she feels when she can walk down a trail carefree and relaxed.
    No. I don't know how better to get across to you than has already been explained, that the above eg is negative reinforcement.

    Quote:
    I don't care if it is 'positive' or 'negative', and my horses don't either.
    I think horses do indeed think differently about +R & -R. Another point of the discussion. If you don't care, I don't get why you've joined the discussion??
    jaydee likes this.
         
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        11-02-2013, 07:00 PM
      #142
    Showing
    Here's a little story on corporal punishment. A young lad would borrow a pony to fetch the mail for a few people. Every day the pony bucked him off and the lad was getting mighty irked. One day the pony dumped him and managed to get away. It didn't run home but chose another path until the rein snagged a bush. The lad found him and in his anger, delivered the hardest smack he could muster to the pony's jaw. Now everyone would say he'd missed the window of learning, but the pony got the message because he never bucked again.
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        11-02-2013, 08:35 PM
      #143
    Trained
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by loosie    
    ...The whole point as far as I'm concerned was about why SHOULDN'T you make the most of positive reinforcement too - be that with clickers & treats or otherwise. Why limit yourself to half the spectrum?? Why should you be so against rewarding your horse with something Good...

    No. I don't know how better to get across to you than has already been explained, that the above eg is negative reinforcement.

    I think horses do indeed think differently about +R & -R. Another point of the discussion. If you don't care, I don't get why you've joined the discussion??
    1 - Good is a value judgment that I don't think horses share. It implies the trainer is 'nice', or 'good' - and I think that is what motivates a lot of folks to start 'positive' training...because it involves being 'good', instead of being 'bad'. But the horse doesn't respond to 'negative' reinforcements as being 'bad'. It is either fair or unfair. Either I'm being a bully, or being just.

    They live their entire lives that way! No lead horse gives treats to entice another horse to do what they say. No lead horse whinnies "Good boy" to a gelding who does something right. It simply is not in their nature.

    2 - When a horse realizes her rider can help figure out scary from not scary, it is a huge relief to them. It means, for Mia, that she no longer has to take charge and save everyone on a trail ride.

    Think of it like fly spray. My horses don't like the feeling of fly spray, but 2 of the 3 figured out pretty quick that the nasty feeling of fly spray is followed by relief from flies. Now when I spray some fly spray on my hand, they will rub their faces against my hand on their own. It doesn't matter to them that they don't like the feel, because they connect it to the reward beyond.

    3 - If no one who thought like I do took part in the discussion, all you would have is a cheerleading thread full of back-slappers. And then a lurker would think, "I ought to be positive, because I want a Happy Horse Who Loves Me".

    Much of this positive/negative talk fails to appreciate that horses adapt to our cues. Mild pressure from my calf is not painful to a horse. It isn't really THAT irritating. Trooper is used to being ridden western, with rare lower leg contact. Mia is used to a more English seat, with constant light contact with my lower leg. I think they normally understand the removal of pressure as the same thing as a click with clicker training - it means, NOW you did it right.

    I think it is harmful to horses to speak of 'positive training', because A) few people understand positive in its clinical sense, and B) fewer still would know how to use it well. Too many humans enter the horse world with no knowledge at all about horses (like I did 5-6 years ago). They then get suckered into things like "bitless is nice, bits are cruel" or "ride the bond" or "be your horse's friend". And that hogwash can get you killed or hurt. I stopped riding today after 30 minutes because my right, lower back is still sore from an injury in Jan 2009. It doesn't happen as often, but it still flares up (and swells up visibly) at times.

    Mia likes and trusts me in a way our other horses do not. But Mia wouldn't like me at all if I was all positive. She wouldn't respect me if she didn't know I was willing to get all over her case - just as she would be willing to jump in the chili of our geldings, if they defied her. We have a religious revival about once a month. Maybe a bit less often, now. She'll say, "You're not the boss of me" and I'll reply, "Like hell I'm not", and the fight is on. It usually lasts around 5 minutes, followed by 5-10 minutes of slightly offended attitude by Mia, and then followed by 4-8 weeks of a willing horse.

    Horses understand 'I'll kick your butt'! They do not resent it...if it is fair, consistent and they know the rules. It is not morally negative way of training. This phrase was very revealing: "Why should you be so against rewarding your horse with something Good". You are attaching a moral value that 'positive' and 'negative' do not clinically have, so as to make your case - your case being that 'positive reinforcement' is "Good". I reject that moral judgment, and my horses do not understand it at all...
    thesilverspear likes this.
         
        11-02-2013, 08:46 PM
      #144
    Super Moderator
    Huh? That is a strange story. If anything, the pony just learned that the lad was capable of hitting him, and maybe had fear based respect. But, so , we should go after our horses, and long after they buck us off, we should smack them? I don't think I am getting your point.
    loosie likes this.
         
        11-02-2013, 08:51 PM
      #145
    Trained
    Like dogs, if a horse knows it did something 'wrong', then it will remember doing that wrong a heck of a lot longer than 3 seconds. The 3 seconds rule - or better, the 1 second rule - applies to teaching something new.

    If horses had memories as short as some experts claim, they would never be able to find water in the wild.
         
        11-02-2013, 09:15 PM
      #146
    Super Moderator
    No, I didn't mean the horse has a short memory. He will reemember that THAT lad is one who smacks him. He won't remember that he did something that the lad smacked him for. Only that he was off grazing by the roadside, after ditching the rider, and the lad walks up and smacks him one. You bet, he'll remember that!
    loosie likes this.
         
        11-02-2013, 10:26 PM
      #147
    Trained
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by bsms    
    1 - Good is a value judgment that I don't think horses share. It implies the trainer is 'nice', or 'good' - and I think that is what motivates a lot of folks to start 'positive' training...because it involves being 'good', instead of being 'bad'.
    I agree with what you say above(& most of what you have said BTW) & didn't mean it in a moral way. The difference is in working out what 'good' might be *in any given situation or time for the horse*. FWIW I don't think +R is always appropriate either.

    Quote:
    But the horse doesn't respond to 'negative' reinforcements as being 'bad'. It is either fair or unfair. Either I'm being a bully, or being just.
    Again, I mean 'bad' as in unpleasant, undesirable. As in something to yield away from, for eg. Which is why -R works.

    Quote:
    They live their entire lives that way! No lead horse gives treats to entice another horse to do what they say. No lead horse whinnies "Good boy" to a gelding who does something right. It simply is not in their nature.
    I reckon understanding & considering what is natural behaviour between horses is invaluable. But I don't believe that just because a horse does something - or not - with another horse is a good enough reason to rule it in or out for us. I know some disagree, but I don't believe in biting horses as punishment either, even tho it's 'natural behaviour'.

    Quote:
    3 - If no one who thought like I do took part in the discussion, all you would have is a cheerleading thread full of back-slappers.
    You said you don't care, which is what I responded to on that note. Of course you can care but disagree & debate about it, which is what I think is really the case.... & that's what I think is constructive for all Just that as you - & others - have pointed out, I think that some of your disagreements at least are based on lack of understanding.

    Quote:
    And then a lurker would think, "I ought to be positive, because I want a Happy Horse Who Loves Me".
    That is my personal feeling about those who disagree with the whole concept of punishment/-R I think they're... cutting off their noses to spite the other side of their face, to those who don't believe in +R

    Quote:
    Much of this positive/negative talk fails to appreciate that horses adapt to our cues. Mild pressure from my calf is not painful to a horse.
    I don't personally think so at all. I think that most reasonable trainers understand that very well, whether or not they use +R. I think that people who don't understand behavioural theory get hung up on 'negative=wrong'

    Quote:
    I think it is harmful to horses to speak of 'positive training', because A) few people understand positive in its clinical sense, and B) fewer still would know how to use it well.
    Codswallop. People get into just as much trouble using more 'normal' techniques badly. It is 'harmful' to use any training principle without understanding what on earth you're doing. That's why I think learning the *theory* is so important.

    Quote:
    Too many humans enter the horse world with no knowledge at all about horses (like I did 5-6 years ago). They then get suckered into things like "bitless is nice, bits are cruel"
    Or they get 'suckered' into 'harsh' treatment which also frequently gets people hurt. Again, whatever it is about, I think it's vital to understand what you're doing, not just blindly follow someone's instructions without understanding & thought.

    Quote:
    But Mia wouldn't like me at all if I was all positive.
    How do you know - have you tried?? But seriously, I agree that is likely, but I don't think we're discussing that radical view of doing away with the other half the spectrum either.

    Quote:
    This phrase was very revealing: "Why should you be so against rewarding your horse with something Good". You are attaching a moral value that 'positive' and 'negative' do not clinically have, so as to make your case - your case being that 'positive reinforcement' is "Good". I reject that moral judgment, and my horses do not understand it at all...
    +R is a tool IMO, one possible appropriate tool out of many. What I get out of the above is that you reject +R because for some reason you feel it's morally wrong.
    christopher and Captain Evil like this.
         
        11-03-2013, 07:33 AM
      #148
    Showing
    The pony figured out the lad was no one to mess with. This happens in the herd when one horse decides it wants to eat where another is and goes after it tooth and hoof. Negative training at it's finest.
         
        11-03-2013, 09:13 AM
      #149
    Foal
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Saddlebag    
    The pony figured out the lad was no one to mess with. This happens in the herd when one horse decides it wants to eat where another is and goes after it tooth and hoof. Negative training at it's finest.
    That is not negative. I havent read through this whole thread but there seems to be confusion on the training quadrents.

    Positive = adding a stimulus (treat, whip, kick, etc)
    Negative = subtracting a stimulus

    Punishment = reduces the likelihood of the behavior occuring in the future
    Reinforcement= increases the likelihood of the behavior reoccuring.

    So to smack a horse, is positive punishment.

    To release pressure when a horse moves the way you are asking, is negative reinforcement.

    To give a horse a treat or pat is positive reinforcement.
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        11-03-2013, 10:27 AM
      #150
    Super Moderator
    You have to be very careful when you try to use the alpha horse principal in your training methods that you are behaving like the bully horse that the other horses avoid and distrust or the true leader that the other horses respect and will follow because it is the one they know they can rely on.
    If a horse is afraid of you then it wont work willingly for you.
         

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    horse training, how to train horses, positive reinforcement

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