Treats as Rewards - Page 3 - The Horse Forum
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post #21 of 31 Old 12-27-2009, 05:14 PM
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Forgot to say, of course there are the occassional times when yes, treats may be used. If you get caught out somewhere, like at a show and the horse will not load because of all the excitement going on outside. Then a bit of carrot or a shake of a pellet bucket will get them up there quickly. But once home I always go back to basics and make them load twice without mishap so they don't learn to rely on bribery.
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post #22 of 31 Old 12-28-2009, 12:18 AM Thread Starter
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Hm, you all make good points. I've never used treats as bribery knowingly, just as a thing that tells them they've done right.

Someone mentioned clicker training? I've done that with my show pigs that I make a kissing noise when I give them a treat... then they associate the kiss noise with a reward so the noise becomes a reward. Maybe this could be for horses, but that I haven't tried.
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post #23 of 31 Old 12-28-2009, 04:03 AM
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Originally Posted by Kayty View Post
There's a big difference between using treats as reward, as opposed to treats as bribery. Treats as a reward is giving the horse a treat AFTER he has performed what you have asked of him to a satisfactory level, where he does not know there is a treat available and he has performed what you have asked out of good training.

Bribery is using a treat to tempt a horse into something. In my opinion, that is NOT training unless you combine it with gradually decresing the treats until the horse will perform the action on your aids not in desire of a piece of food.

A good example is one which I have used in another thread which brought up the issue of bribery/"training", with treats. "Training" a horse to enter a float by bribing him in with food. The vast majority of horses I have seen "trained" with this method that started out as horses that would not set foot in the float, ended up being horses that would run up the ramp, stretch out, grab a mouthfull of food and run backwards. Eat the food, go back up again etc. Eventually the horse would get sick of running up and down, so would stay in the float. Owners would quickly shut up the ramp and off they go on their merry way.

Then they get where they're going and say 'hey, we forgot to bring treats.....oh well he's "trained" to load now'. So of course, he point blank refuses to enter the float again until some sort of food bribery is offered.

Please explain to me how this is training? There is no discomfort for the horse to be outside of the float, I don't understand how this would work?
I have trained a good 15 horses now to load, each of them had varying issues with loading. Each one I worked in basically the same way. Pressure/discomfort outside of the float created by tapping them continuously on the hindquarters with a dressage whip, and as soon as a step towards the float is taken, then pressure comes off. Ask with forward pressure on the halter, horse doesn't move forward, he gets the pressure again. Took me maybe 20mins to get the worst one to load with no dramas. The horses that I'm still hearing about, will all load now without a drama, rope over the neck and walk straight up. They don't run out when you open the back as they know if they do, it's going to be uncomfortable.

To me pressure/release is the way horses learn, not using bribery.
Just on the bit you said re:

Then they get where they're going and say 'hey, we forgot to bring treats.....oh well he's "trained" to load now'. So of course, he point blank refuses to enter the float again until some sort of food bribery is offered.

With the clicker training once they have learnt to load you kinda disassociate the treat so its not every time the get a treat (More often than not they dont) - hard to explain and its been years since Ive done it and I was no expert just did a course cause it was interesting - but basically they learn that they wont get a treat everytime but still obey the cue as its been conditioned into them (and they also remember that they may occasional get a treat (this kinda goes with what you said at the beginning regarding treats and bribery...)

@ the pig comment - Ive heard pigs are really very quick to train - have you taught the pigs any tricks?
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post #24 of 31 Old 12-28-2009, 04:39 AM
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Clicker training is different though. I agree with that and have seen some really excellent results from it. As I said somewhere above, if you wean them off the food, no worries as long as the food was given as reward not bribery. Clicker training isn't bribery, like bribing a horse onto a float by waving a bucket of food at them from the front. You treat/click AFTER they have given you a positive response, so that they're not doing it with their mind on food, they're thinking about the cues you have given them and how they need to react to this.

CLicker training is great, but I still stich firmly to my rule of pressure/release is the easiest, least confusing and quickest way of training. That's what horses do to each other in the wild/paddock. They will biote/kick/drive away the other horse until it reacts in the way the dominant horse wants it to, then it releases the 'pressure' and the 'submissive' horse understands that if it gives a negative reaction (such as moving into the dominant horses space), it will be very uncomfortable, but if it reacts positively (like moving out of the other horses space), it will be left alone with no discomfort.
Horses like comfort, they dislike pressure. Most basic way of training.
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post #25 of 31 Old 12-29-2009, 02:30 PM
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I hope you all get this straightened out, because I have a mountain of Christmas Horse Treats and I don't know what I should do with them!!!
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post #26 of 31 Old 12-29-2009, 04:18 PM Thread Starter
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jody111: Pigs are very smart, and they behave alot like dogs. However I don't train tricks, but I train how to walk well in the showring and they always pick up on it quickly. I'm sure if I tried to get them to do tricks they would for a treat!
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post #27 of 31 Old 12-31-2009, 12:23 AM
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Like others said, in my opinion it depends on the horse, Rena (my mare) politly 'asks' for treats. But Ive known horses that will trample there owners (not literally) for treats. I guess it all depends on the situation and the horse and person. :P

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post #28 of 31 Old 12-31-2009, 01:12 AM
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I think it all depends on the horse and how its used. I am going to start clicker training my new mare, because treats don't work for her, for several reasons. But normally what I do is some of pressure and release, and treats. I start out giving treats when they've done what I asked them to do, and slowly "wean" them off of the treats, the time it takes to do that depends on the horse, and then use more praise, and release of pressure and little to no treats. I do give treats just cause I can, the horse is standing for grooming, or I've had him/her in the wash rack for an extended period of time. I do know a dressage trainer in my area that feeds the horse a treat when she gets on, to teach the horse to stand still next to the fence so she can get on, as she's older, and can't just swing up onto the 17+ hand horses she trains. And then she gives them a treat after she gets off when she's done riding. My first horse did have a big biting issue, so I never fed him treats, and even then it took 3 years to get to the point where I could say with any certainty that he isn't dangerous to be around. I think that for some horses treats are a good reward, and others just the release of pressure is enough. Fortunately for me, my horse is 4, and has had very little human handling, so she is incredibly perceptive of my body language, and for her just the release of the pressure is reward enough. Sorry for the long post.
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post #29 of 31 Old 01-01-2010, 07:47 PM
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Dougal wasn;t given any treats by his previous owner. After a couple of months of having Dougie, mum convinced me to give him a treat when i caught him, which then graduated to giving him a treat after he was ridden and then giving him a treat when teaching him to back up ect.
As of this week, i ahve banned treats. haha. Dougal turns into a total monster. He gets pushy, bargy, rude. He nips, head butts you and just walks all over you. I find it so impolite and personally think he is better off without any treats. He can have love instead. (:
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post #30 of 31 Old 01-01-2010, 08:05 PM
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I taught Cowboy to pivot with treats. He's a pivot machine now, and unfortunately when I did shankless showmanship with him, he was like "MM, food? I'll Do what I must, but I would liek a cookie plz!!" The judge was laughing, it was funny in all honesty n___n

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