It's Time for Horse Training to Evolve - Page 9
 
 

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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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        10-13-2013, 08:59 AM
      #81
    Green Broke
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Cherie    

    Usual scenario is to run in the gate, run hard around 3 barrels and then run back out of the gate. Many riders use a whip or spurs to get more speed between barrels and almost all riders use a whip or spur to run back out of the gate, but I have seen the same thing happen with riders that do not over-use force in the arena. When the horse gets out of the gate he is pulled up, the reins are dropped and he is petted and praised. Does he associate the complete release of pressure and complete relief he gets when he has left the arena with the good job he did in the arena or does he recognize it as a reward for leaving the arena? When horses make the wrong association (like yours would for being given a treat for stopping), they want to stay out of the arena or they want to run around one barrel and bolt for the gate. They become much more anxious to run out of the gate than to run fast away from it. This is basically why so many horses are 'gate sour' when ridden in any arena for any reason. They are anxious to get out of the gate where they will be dismounted and all work will stop. Leaving the arena becomes their 'reward'. This is why we work most of our horses somewhere other than an arena and end each riding session in an arena, dismounting in the far corner of it. Then, horses are anxious to go into an arena instead of leave one.
    I've seen several arena sour horses. I've never thought of this, but it makes total sense.
         
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        10-13-2013, 10:01 AM
      #82
    Yearling
    Cherie: "You have just rewarded the horse for stopping --- not for departing in the correct lead several seconds ago. ".

    CT uses a sound to mark the correct behavior. That's what is so great about it.

    I train using CT and pressure-release while in the saddle. With CT, I can click a behavior, dismount, walk out of the arena and into the barn and then treat, and the horse still knows it was for the behavior he was doing at the click.

    Both types of training are valuable. Each has its place, and there are times when one works better than the other. I really don't think we need to argue about if one is better than the other.
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        10-13-2013, 11:07 AM
      #83
    Started
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by tiffanyodonnell    
    Cherie: "You have just rewarded the horse for stopping --- not for departing in the correct lead several seconds ago. ".

    CT uses a sound to mark the correct behavior. That's what is so great about it.

    I train using CT and pressure-release while in the saddle. With CT, I can click a behavior, dismount, walk out of the arena and into the barn and then treat, and the horse still knows it was for the behavior he was doing at the click.

    Both types of training are valuable. Each has its place, and there are times when one works better than the other. I really don't think we need to argue about if one is better than the other.
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    Out of curiosity, how does the horse know that the treat is for the action minutes after it happened? The clicker I get, but not the treats long after. Even then, if you reward the house in the middle of the session, do you then get off and treat or wait until you're done riding? If you wait and the horse earns another reward, do you treat twice? When riding the horse is factored in, it gets trickier.
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        10-13-2013, 11:24 AM
      #84
    Trained
    "CT uses a sound to mark the correct behavior. That's what is so great about it."

    And ending the squeeze with my calves tells my horse I'm happy with her new gait. And I can do that 50 times in an hour, and each time the reward comes at the same time the click would be made, but it is the actual reward and not just the promise of one an hour later.

    Or in Cherie's example of lead changes, which is way outside the scope of anything I'm trying, the reward is to relax and enjoy the new motion without the rider fussing. That is a positive. My horses seem to enjoy trotting and cantering, provided I balance and move with them.

    And in the case of Mia, learning to face scary things and look to the rider, giving a treat wouldn't work. No treat can overcome her fear. But using 'pain' to hold her until the scary thing goes away and she realizes I knew it was not worth being scared over - that not only works, but it offers a built in positive (relaxation). And FWIW, I don't think keeping my legs firm around her shoulders causes her actual pain, nor does a pop of the bit that lasts 1/4 second and barely involves any movement of the bit in her mouth.

    So what is the point? Why do we need to "evolve"? Why is what we do now something we need to get away from? What we normally do now makes sense to me and to my horses. It seems to me there are two flaws in the OP's argument: 1) We are not being mean to our horses right now, and 2) what we do already involves positives because horses enjoy things like going fast, or feeling balanced and strong.
         
        10-13-2013, 01:15 PM
      #85
    Yearling
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by bsms    
    "CT uses a sound to mark the correct behavior. That's what is so great about it."

    And ending the squeeze with my calves tells my horse I'm happy with her new gait. And I can do that 50 times in an hour, and each time the reward comes at the same time the click would be made, but it is the actual reward and not just the promise of one an hour later.

    Or in Cherie's example of lead changes, which is way outside the scope of anything I'm trying, the reward is to relax and enjoy the new motion without the rider fussing. That is a positive. My horses seem to enjoy trotting and cantering, provided I balance and move with them.

    And in the case of Mia, learning to face scary things and look to the rider, giving a treat wouldn't work. No treat can overcome her fear. But using 'pain' to hold her until the scary thing goes away and she realizes I knew it was not worth being scared over - that not only works, but it offers a built in positive (relaxation). And FWIW, I don't think keeping my legs firm around her shoulders causes her actual pain, nor does a pop of the bit that lasts 1/4 second and barely involves any movement of the bit in her mouth.

    So what is the point? Why do we need to "evolve"? Why is what we do now something we need to get away from? What we normally do now makes sense to me and to my horses. It seems to me there are two flaws in the OP's argument: 1) We are not being mean to our horses right now, and 2) what we do already involves positives because horses enjoy things like going fast, or feeling balanced and strong.
    I'm in the truck, on the way to move 2 cows so I can't do much with my response. Sorry if its messy.

    I agree some things are not done well with positive reinforcement and negative R is all that's needed. Cherie's example is perfect as you point out BSMS.

    Some things do lend well to CT at least for me. It is probably because I am not as good a trainer as many of you, especially Cherie! Like getting my filly to accept clipping. She moves boldly towards the clippers for a click and treat.

    I also agree with you BSMS, about the OP's premise. What needs changing? When done correctly, both methods work well and are humane.
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        10-13-2013, 01:27 PM
      #86
    Trained
    The clipping example makes sense to me.
         
        10-13-2013, 10:34 PM
      #87
    Foal
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by christopher    
    negative reinforcement is not "something that the horse moves away from" and positive reinforcement is not "something the horse moves toward".
    It most certainly is. The better wording is that positive reinforcement is anything that increases the likelihood of a behavior and negative reinforcement is anything the reduces the likelihood of a behavior.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reinforcement


    The basic definition is that a positive reinforcer adds a stimulus to increase or maintain frequency of a behavior while a negative reinforcer removes a stimulus to increase or maintain the frequency of the behavior. As mentioned above, positive and negative reinforcement are components of operant conditioning, along with positive punishment and negative punishment, all explained below:
    Reinforcement

    Positive Reinforcement occurs when a stimulus is presented as a result of operant behavior and that behavior increases.[8]
    • Example: If a dog "sits" on command and this behavior is followed by the reward of a dog treat, then the dog treat serves to positively reinforce the behavior of "sitting."
    • Example: A father gives candy to his daughter when she picks up her toys. If the frequency of picking up the toys increases, the candy is a positive reinforcer (to reinforce the behavior of cleaning up).
    Negative Reinforcement occurs when an aversive (unpleasant) stimulus is removed as a result of operant behavior and the rate of the behavior increases.[9]
    • Example: A child cleans his or her room, and this behavior is followed by the parent stopping "nagging" or asking the child repeatedly to do so. Here, the nagging serves to negatively reinforce the behavior of cleaning because the child wants to remove that aversive stimulus of nagging.
    • Example: A person puts ointment on a bug bite to soothe an itch. If the ointment works, the person will likely increase the usage of the ointment because it resulted in removing the itch, which is the negative reinforcer.
         
        10-13-2013, 10:37 PM
      #88
    Foal
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Cherie    
    Well, I hate to tell you this, but the horses I have trained have not read this book.

    If you watch a herd of horses interact with each other, what do you think positive and negative reinforcement are?
    What 'reward' is a horse looking for?
    What do YOU consider to be a reward for doing the right thing?

    My observations tell me that any horse WANTS to be accepted and NOT be chastised and beaten away from the herd. A baby is usually NOT treated badly by the herd because they 'clack'. This is action when a baby or young horse repeatedly opens their mouth with their necks outstretched and their nose turned up. This chewing motion, called 'clacking' tells any older horse: "I am a baby. Don't hurt me. I am no threat to your position in the herd. I am not challenging you." All babies do this and many yearlings and even 2 year olds will do this when an older horses gives them an evil 'drop dead' threatening look.

    Other than mutual grooming (mostly scratching each other's withers and shoulders), horses seldom tough each other. They want to be close, but I have observed that they seldom touch each other or want physical contact. Even when they are standing nose to tail to swat flies, they usually are not touching one another.

    When I started out training horses in large number over 50 years ago, (I used to start over 50 horses a year back then) I started out using a lot of what I considered 'positive reinforcement' with a lot of petting and talking and praise. I also watched a lot of horses being ridden by very good trainers that were asking a LOT out of their horses. Some petted and praised their horses and others were just very business-like and did nothing that I could call a reward of any kind other than removing pressure.

    I had already figured out that most learning came from the horse yielding to pressure and that when I released the pressure at the right time, the horse would repeatedly perform the task. So, as I trained more and more horses I started experimenting on how petting and praising a horse after it did something well worked compared to just leaving the horse alone and not touching it.

    After training a LOT of horses with or without praise and patting, I came to the conclusion that the less I touched and messed with a horse, the more quickly it learned the lessons. I figured out that accepting nothing less than absolute obedience and respect did more to help a horse learn something than anything else I could do.

    I have trained many horses that I never spoke to at all while I was riding them and never petted or interacted with them in any way other than to teach them, step by step, what I wanted to teach them.

    As the years went by, I found myself talking less and less to horses and interacting with them using my hand, leg and seat aids to teach them what they were ready to learn.

    The more I watched others train horses, the more I was convinced that a lot of petting and praise and interacting with the horse just confused the horse. I absolutely believe that the only reward a horse needs and truly understands is the 'release of all pressure'. In other words, it is 'acceptance' and nothing negative happening that they crave -- just like the herd member that wants nothing more than to be accepted by the herd, especially the herd leader.

    I challenge people here on this board that have trained many (or at least several) horses, to pick one or two and be determined to not offer any praise, treats for rewards or anything else when the horse does the right thing. Train a horse for at least 30 days seriously and come back and tell us if the horse learned just as fast or faster than when they offered their 'usual' rewards and usual positive reinforcement.

    I absolutely believe that if you remove all pressure, drop your head and back up a step or turn your back to reward the right thing on the ground, the horse learns more readily than for anything else you can do. I believe that releasing pressure and contact with your reins and legs is the only reward he understand under saddle.

    I think horses can be conditioned to accept petting and hugging and messing with them, but I also think they would be happier if you just left them alone.

    Well, the obvious reward or positive reinforcer is being accepted by the herd. The definition is ANYTHING that increases behavior. We have become so habituated to m&m training that we forget there are other rewards out there.

    Nothing in the above explanation violates the definition of positive and negative reinforcement.
         
        10-13-2013, 10:44 PM
      #89
    Foal
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Castles in the Air    
    Personally I’m a little frustrated by those who dismiss positive reinforcement training as unworthy of being a useful (and safe) tool in training such a large animal. It is safe and tactful for both horse and human. And it does get results. Equine positive reinforcement training is used at the highest level of competition. You don’t see riders offering treats in the Olympic arena to their positive reinforcement trained horses. It is a tool that clearly defines the exact desired response while the horse is learning. Once the horse has a solid grasp of what’s expected the tool is phased out and not to be used as a crutch forever more.
    Umm, there's a misuse of terms here because ALL training uses positive and negative reinforcement. Including the old cowboy training.

    What I think you mean is that the mix of positive and negative should be changed from the traditional mix of negatively reinforcing (or extinguishing) bad behavior and positively reinforcing desirable behavior with the old pressure release.

    Learning theory is simply a description of how training (ALL training) occurs and what are the principles underpinning it.

    Positive reinforcement is never entirely phased out. That too is a misnomer, otherwise I defy you to work for free. What it is that good training no longer needs to be supported so frequently with a reinforcer. But it still needs to be reinforced or it will extinguish. The lack of a reward is also a negative reinforcement.
         
        10-13-2013, 10:51 PM
      #90
    Foal
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by bsms    
    It seems to me gentleness in training comes from keeping the steps small, being consistent, offering release fast enough for the horse to associate it with the behavior, etc. Do those, and the small negative reinforcements are not going to cause a problem.
    Yep. And release is a positive reinforcer and a primary one to boot, unlike clicker training, which is a secondary reinforcer.

    And although food is a primary reinforcer, it is not the only one. Besides, it doesn't work when the animal is sated and it may not be the best reward for work under saddle.

    Skinner used it on pigeons and rats because it worked. But that is the definition of positive reinforcement: ANYTHING that increases the likelihood of behavior. Negative reinforcement extinguishes behavior.
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    horse training, how to train horses, positive reinforcement

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