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Pressure, Release, ...Reward?

This is a discussion on Pressure, Release, ...Reward? within the Horse Training forums, part of the Training Horses category
  • "negative reinforcement" pressure release
  • Praise without treats horse

 
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    11-25-2008, 07:37 PM
  #11
Trained
Great post Ivy! Some good examples to keep in mind. I think the behavioural explanation is pretty clear too, if you think of positive & negative as plus & minus...

Positive reinforcement (+R, reward) = Addition of something desirable in order to strengthen a behaviour
Negative reinforcement (-R, removal of pressure) = Taking away something undesirable in order to strengthen a behaviour

Now for a can of worms...
Quote:
I believe that simple praise is a very motivating reward. I don't like to use treats to get the reaction that you want because a horse can become just like a dog in their reaction to too many treats. They will do the action you ask and then immediately come looking for a treat. They will eventually notice when you have no treats and then they will not want to do the action unless you go get a treat.
Praise is not innately a reward for a horse. It is innately meaningless & not desirable. It can however, become associated with reinforcement and therefore gain meaning. If a horse has learned that praise is often paired with reward or removal of pressure, it can be motivating, but not of itself.

I agree that using treats(or any positive reinforcement) with horses works in the same manner as it works with dogs & other animals, human included. But it is the way you teach them, being conscious of what you're teaching them, not what you use to reinforce it that governs the behaviour & reliability you get. You can be a good or bad trainer with whatever tools you choose.

Quote:
Horses are herd animals and as such, they naturally want to please the herd leader. Most of the time, that leader is us. After they complete the desired action, a kind word or a scratch on the neck
I think talking of 'desire to please' is a little off topic. I think it's pretty clear that people are not generally seen as a herd leader, despite our desire to be so. If they were there would be precious few problems. Also we're talking about teaching the horse. They can have all the desire in the world & still need instant reinforcement in order to learn what we're wanting.

Back to what you use, so long as it's truely(not just what we think should be) desirable to the horse, it can be an effective positive reinforcement. People often get hung up on the question of food treats when discussing 'reward'. This is just one of many +Rs, including a scratch on the neck, which may be used to reward.
Quote:
Originally Posted by WesternPleasure27
See, but I say "pressure, release"
The release is the reward.


Exactly right.

When this phrase is said, that's what it means. It's a phrase to indicate simply pressure and release, and the release is the reward for the horse showing the horse that it has done the correct thing. [/quote]

Actually, that's exactly wrong, as we're discussing actual meanings of terms, not just some people's perception of them. That's the whole point of the discussion. There is absolutely nothing wrong with using pressure & release(negative reinforcement) and it is a great way to teach horses. But it is not reward(positive reinforcement).

Quote:
This is just another example of people taking a simple one meaning phrase and trying to complicate it. Adding reward to the equation is changing the phrase thus taking away it's meaning.
I don't understand this paragraph. What one meaning phrase? I don't see how differentiating between positive & negative reinforcement is complicating anything - seems to me simplifying it. Lumping reward in the same boat as pressure/release seems to be the complication & leads to it's loss of meaning.
     
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    11-25-2008, 09:24 PM
  #12
Zab
Yearling
Loosie:
I can still notice very clearly how the horses change when I'm happy with their work. They get energy and becomes proud of themselves in a way I can't throw away with the excuse ''it's because the preassure is gone''. So I still say that it IS a reward to simply be happy with how the horse works, without giving trats.
If I'm wrong, why does our horse, who never gets treats, come to the gait when I want him to be ridden and doing a lots of things that's obviously very difficult for him, and he doesn't always like it at the moment we do them... his only reward is release and that we're happy wth him. And he's happy too and genrally like it. Shouldn't he just think 'oh no, not again!'' and run the other way? (we've never done anything to ''teach'' him to come, and he generaly doesn't get to the stable when it's light, wich he knows but he comes at any time a day anyway)
     
    11-25-2008, 10:18 PM
  #13
Trained
Zab, as I said, praise(you being pleased) isn't something they innately understand, but it can certainly become a reinforcement when associated with Good Stuff. No one said treats were the only +R & in fact while I use them a fair bit, it's often not the best option. +R can be whatever is desirable to that animal, at that time. Sometimes food treats aren't even in the top 10.

The discussion was about the meaning of terms tho, so I will repeat, removal of pressure is NOT reward. IOW, negative reinforcement is not positive reinforcement.

It sounds like you have a good relationship with your horse. You probably reward him more than you're aware of, in a variety of(non-food related) ways. Perhaps he lives alone & is bored & lonely, so looks forward to your attention, which could be thought of as -R rather than reward tho. I'm a great believer in learning how to apply the principles of training effectively - which are universal 'laws' of behavioural psychology - but as far as the specifics, 'it depends' is the only answer. Every horse, every handler, every situation is a little different, so no one size can possibly fit all. Do what works for you!
     
    11-25-2008, 10:35 PM
  #14
Zab
Yearling
I just can't see how I could have learnt him that that is a good thing. And I've seen horses that never gets praise and shouldn't know what it is, have the same positive response. I think it's a lot instinct.. but maybe it only shows if the horse looks up to you as someone worth listening to.

I would never keep a horse alone; he lives with another horse; here it's Dacke, and they're real friends, always together, in a big, natural pasture. Now when he's away being trained he lives with a pony stallion and they play a lot, getting good friends and grazing together as well. So he shouldn't be alone and bored. ;) Even if it probably would be better with more than one other horse, at least they're friends and likes each other.

I guess you're right about praise not being the same as release, but I still think praise is a reward horses know without any training from the human - as long as you really get happy and doesn't just say ''good boy." for the sake of it. They can read your mood really fast, and they want beings around them to feel good since that's also good for their herd or whatever reason it might be..
Except from that I agree with you. :)
     
    11-26-2008, 05:40 AM
  #15
Showing
Quote:
Quote:
I believe that simple praise is a very motivating reward. I don't like to use treats to get the reaction that you want because a horse can become just like a dog in their reaction to too many treats. They will do the action you ask and then immediately come looking for a treat. They will eventually notice when you have no treats and then they will not want to do the action unless you go get a treat.
Praise is not innately a reward for a horse. It is innately meaningless & not desirable. It can however, become associated with reinforcement and therefore gain meaning. If a horse has learned that praise is often paired with reward or removal of pressure, it can be motivating, but not of itself.
Oh I'm sorry }:/, I thought that it was understood that I praise after I release pressure. Therefore, associating it with positive reinforcement.
     
    11-26-2008, 07:10 AM
  #16
Weanling
I also use the pressure, release reward, it works on horses AND children. Yes, you apply some kind of pressure, and when you let the pressure off, it is like a reward. I am not real keen on treats as a reward, in horse herds the omega gives up food to the alpha, and this is why treats make some horses 'pushy' (when pushing into your space is a lack of respect and a sign the horse is tryin to reestablish their alphadom over you. )

Works on my kids, too. I pressure them, they do what I ask then the pressure is off.

WHen you apply pressure, the reward is the release of pressure, but with horses they won't learn if you don't time it just right, and that takes practice. But the sooner you release the pressure, and when you are consistant about it, you can teach the horse alot, and use pressure to motivate, to get an action, then you release the pressure the moment you get the action. The horse rarely picks up on it the first time, but they will get it about the 3 or 4 time. Then, you pretty much hafta just start to give pressure, and they do what ever it was that brought the release.

It is much like traditional methods, you don't keep pulling a horse's head to the side if they have already turned, do you? You put pressure on the side of his mouth, and you release that pressure when he turns for you, that is his reward. That is the same idea.
     

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