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Too Many Treats?

This is a discussion on Too Many Treats? within the Horse Training forums, part of the Training Horses category

     
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        11-17-2008, 01:05 AM
      #11
    Started
    I give treats. But I'd never allow any nipping. I am not a treat dispenser. I give treats when I feel like it. I think you have to be careful about giving a treat every time a certain event occurs. For example, I'd not give a treat every time I groom or every time a horse does a requested task.

    You know, I am the alpha horse when I'm working with the horse. You don't nip the alpha and expect to get away with it.
         
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        11-17-2008, 01:18 AM
      #12
    Yearling
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Joshie    

    You know, I am the alpha horse when I'm working with the horse. You don't nip the alpha and expect to get away with it.
    Very true!
         
        11-17-2008, 02:08 AM
      #13
    Weanling
    I am big on giving treats, but as was said before nipping or greediness = no treats. My horses learn this quick because everyone else is waiting paitiently and they get one and they are acting up, they do not get one. One or two times of them not getting one they realize if they are calm and wait their turn, they will get one. I never have any problems with them and we use treats in halter classes all the time to get a good neck arch and stretch.
         
        11-17-2008, 11:17 AM
      #14
    Foal
    Of course I give treats, cause I'm Tuffy's Treat Man!

    With Tuffy it's no problem, he is careful with the fingers.
         
        11-17-2008, 11:39 AM
      #15
    Weanling
    I very rarely give treats, and I do not associate treats with work. When I do give treats, it's when I get some extra time to visit the horses out in the pasture or spend some extra time in their stall. This is always a relaxed setting for the horse and I'm never asking them to do any work. We just give scratches and kisses and if I have a treat, they'll get one. I also spend time with them out in the pasture when I don't have treats so they don't come to me expecting to get one. I don't like bribery.
         
        11-17-2008, 11:47 AM
      #16
    Trained
    I am a recovering treat-a-holic

    Twister became nippy and that ended the treats by hand. Dumas NEVER begged or nipped. I believe each horse will handle it differently.

    Dumas doen't like the bridle, so he gets a treat with the bit...It's underhanded and sneeky but it works.

    Twister gets a treat on the GROUND after he is done working and when he doesn't expect it. With him it has to be like the treat fairy ripped a hole in her magic bag and he got to find a treat she lost! Nipping is a NO-NO!!!


    If we feed carrots or apples they go in the feed.
         
        11-17-2008, 07:50 PM
      #17
    Started
    I use treats while working with my horses. I rarely give my warmblood treats for no reason, he's a very dominant horse by nature so he has this mentality of "Hand over the treats and no one gets hurt" if I give him treats for no reason. The only time he gets a treat is when I'm working him and he gives me a big effort and he tries really hard for me. It keeps him motivated to keep trying for me. Now my appy is another story. He's semi-retired and does not have that dominant streak in him so giving him treats is a non-issue. He gets them 'cause he's so darn cute! Lol. And I've never had a problem with him crowding me. He's very respectful.

    Basically there are two kinds of horses when it comes to food: ones that are very motivated by food, and those who aren't. The horses who are motivated by food are usually very self confident and can have the tendency to be dominant. People usually refer to these horses as mouthy, naughty, pushy, mischievious, lazy, loves food, tendency to bite, etc. These horses have a saying of, "What's in it for me?" There has to be something in it for the horse, whether it's a food reward, a scratch, or simply stopping and resting. "Lazy" horses are ususally very motivated by food and simply saying, "Do this or I'll smack you and make you do it" isn't going to work. These horses will hit the rider-eject button very quickly! Lol. Or they will simply stop and not move. The horses who aren't really into food are usually the more unconfident horses. This is because food isn't as important to them as safety and comfort. A perfect example of the unconfident horse would be someone trying to coax a horse into a trailer by using food and the horse doesn't budge.
         
        11-17-2008, 09:03 PM
      #18
    Foal
    I give treats to Ronnie all the time, but with as little pattern as possible. It's always my choice... He's such a personality-less horse, so he doesn't get bad about it. He'll turn his head around to look for a cookie and if I don't have one he goes back to standing with a bored look on his face. Bo, on the other hand, gets treats on rare (for me) occasions. Maybe once a week? That's only because he's kind of mouthy due to his past couple of trainers (including mine) being very willing to beat him if he was bad at all. That made him a little habitually nippy. He's always been a major sweetheart with me though, especially now that he's here with nice people, so I allow him a treat once in awhile for being my beutiful little boy <3 All in all, it depends on the horse.

    I could never give up treats entirely because I feel it's a nice reward to the horses for just being them. They do SO much for us and most of what we do in return for them (such as cleaning stalls, regular feeding, and grooming) I don't think they see as a reward directly from us. So besides petting and hugs, I like to give them a treat just to say "Hey, thanks for being you!"
         
        11-17-2008, 09:21 PM
      #19
    Yearling
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Spirithorse    
    A perfect example of the unconfident horse would be someone trying to coax a horse into a trailer by using food and the horse doesn't budge.
    Yup, Athena never cared if there was full bucket of grain in the back of the trailer waiting for her. She wouldn't budge for nothing!
    I had to eventually gain her trust for this and now she goes in no problem.
         
        11-17-2008, 09:59 PM
      #20
    Weanling
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by whitetrashwarmblood    
    I've just started to really work with my otsb, and I'm a huge treat giver. Especially while training. I don't give them a treat for a everything, but I do give them a few treats while grooming, during stretching exercises, for tricks, etc.

    [snip}

    I have a friend who feeds her horses treats like a supplement with their grain. She always adds a few treats to their meal. Now I don't think I'll ever go that far, but yea...

    I find these two comments an interesting contradiction. You claim to be a huge treat giver. Yet you don't think you will go so far as to offer treats at mealtime? Mealtime is the time for food/eating... that's a more logical time to dispense food! :)


    Anyway, treats are for humans. They make _us_ feel good and really do nothing special for the horse. If that's your thing, then fine (as long as you realize the potential of creating a mouthy/biting horse by hand-feeding).

    To the horse, it is all "food." I personally feel that work time is work time and meal time is meal time. Bad idea IMO to mix the two. As with most things, YMMV.
         

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