Trying to bite me when I mount - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 26 Old 11-08-2010, 01:31 PM Thread Starter
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Loosie - I get what you're saying, but, the problem has resolved. He was being sour and copping an attitude - nothing more, nothing less. All I did was assert my dominance, and he no longer shows any attitude. It was the first time I'd ridden him since I got him.

I'm so busy, I don't know if I've found a rope... or lost my horse...
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post #12 of 26 Old 11-08-2010, 09:15 PM
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Smacking him in the face would have been punishment. What you did was NOT punishment, it was him learning to respect you as his leader...or you making it hard to do the wrong thing and easy to do the right thing. There's more than one way to do that but it worked, so I'd say you did the right thing!

A horse is the projection of peoples' views about themselves--strong, powerful, beautiful--and it has the capability of giving us escape from our mundane existance.
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post #13 of 26 Old 11-08-2010, 10:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Amlalriiee View Post
Smacking him in the face would have been punishment. What you did was NOT punishment, it was him learning to respect you as his leader...or you making it hard to do the wrong thing and easy to do the right thing. There's more than one way to do that but it worked, so I'd say you did the right thing!
It seems that you don't understand what punishment is. As far as behavioural effect and what you'd call it, there is no difference between smacking a horse in the face or 'popping' him on the chin or 'kicking like a mare'. Or for that matter, making the horse 'work' when he does 'wrong'. Don't get why you call one punishment & not the others? The term 'respect' and 'dominance' & the attitudes about 'getting it' are very subjective too.

So for future reference...
Positive punishment(+P) is ADDING something UNDESIRABLE('bad' consequence) at the time of a behaviour in order to WEAKEN it. Eg. Any of the consequences OP tried.
Negative Punishment(-P) is TAKING AWAY something DESIRABLE('bad' consequence) at the time of a behaviour in order to weaken it. Eg. Removing food, freedom, etc.

So that's how you weaken unwanted behaviours, and to make wanted behaviours stronger...

Positive Reinforcement(+R) is ADDING something DESIRABLE('good' consequence) at the time of a behaviour in order to STRENGTHEN it. Eg. Treats, a good scratchie, etc.
Negative Reinforcement(-R) is TAKING AWAY something UNDESIRABLE(good consequence) at the time of a behaviour in order to strengthen it. Eg. Removal of pressure, quitting 'work', giving freedom, etc.

Anyway, as OP said, she thinks it's resolved, and also appears to understand that punishment is possibly a temporary 'fix' so she's probably already working with other tactics too, to prevent the 'weakened' behaviour reoccurring.

BTW, I don't just disagree with punishment regardless - I think it has it's place, but I reckon it's important to understand the principles that govern it, so you know when it's appropriate or not and what the 'side effects' are likely to be. I just gave my opinion that I personally wouldn't use punishment in this situation, but would just work on changing his attitude, rather than him just 'copping an attitude' from me.

Last edited by loosie; 11-08-2010 at 10:34 PM.
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post #14 of 26 Old 11-09-2010, 07:47 PM
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Actually, I do understand + and - punishment and reinforcement, as a psych minor and behavioral health professional I can't help but having heard those terms 500,000 times. However, I didn't really think we were speaking in psychological terms here. As far as the situation she was in and speaking of punishment in the traditional sense rather than the psychological sense, it is NOT punishment because it is not "you are BAD here is your CONSEQUENCE" is is simply shaping behavior by using the animals natural instincts. It's "If you don't want me on you, ok, but your feet will be moving." I see that as very different from the traditional sense of the word "punishment" It's more of a deal, and an understanding...planned actions rather than angry REactions....perhaps I didn't read your post as carefully, and maybe you specified that you meant "punishment" in psychological terms. If so, sorry for the oversight...if not, then you probably understand what I mean now?

A horse is the projection of peoples' views about themselves--strong, powerful, beautiful--and it has the capability of giving us escape from our mundane existance.
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post #15 of 26 Old 11-09-2010, 07:49 PM
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haha I love semantics...

I forgot to add that I actually would see her method as negative reinforcement since she's making him move until he doesn't bite, and then the unwanted work is taken away....?

A horse is the projection of peoples' views about themselves--strong, powerful, beautiful--and it has the capability of giving us escape from our mundane existance.
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post #16 of 26 Old 11-09-2010, 11:38 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by loosie View Post
It seems that you don't understand what punishment is. As far as behavioural effect and what you'd call it, there is no difference between smacking a horse in the face or 'popping' him on the chin or 'kicking like a mare'. Or for that matter, making the horse 'work' when he does 'wrong'. Don't get why you call one punishment & not the others? The term 'respect' and 'dominance' & the attitudes about 'getting it' are very subjective too.

So for future reference...
Positive punishment(+P) is ADDING something UNDESIRABLE('bad' consequence) at the time of a behaviour in order to WEAKEN it. Eg. Any of the consequences OP tried.
Negative Punishment(-P) is TAKING AWAY something DESIRABLE('bad' consequence) at the time of a behaviour in order to weaken it. Eg. Removing food, freedom, etc.

So that's how you weaken unwanted behaviours, and to make wanted behaviours stronger...

Positive Reinforcement(+R) is ADDING something DESIRABLE('good' consequence) at the time of a behaviour in order to STRENGTHEN it. Eg. Treats, a good scratchie, etc.
Negative Reinforcement(-R) is TAKING AWAY something UNDESIRABLE(good consequence) at the time of a behaviour in order to strengthen it. Eg. Removal of pressure, quitting 'work', giving freedom, etc.

Anyway, as OP said, she thinks it's resolved, and also appears to understand that punishment is possibly a temporary 'fix' so she's probably already working with other tactics too, to prevent the 'weakened' behaviour reoccurring.

BTW, I don't just disagree with punishment regardless - I think it has it's place, but I reckon it's important to understand the principles that govern it, so you know when it's appropriate or not and what the 'side effects' are likely to be. I just gave my opinion that I personally wouldn't use punishment in this situation, but would just work on changing his attitude, rather than him just 'copping an attitude' from me.
Are you saying you don't think my method will work for very long? That pretty soon, he'll be back to pinning his ears and trying to bite?

I'm so busy, I don't know if I've found a rope... or lost my horse...
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post #17 of 26 Old 11-10-2010, 01:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Amlalriiee View Post
As far as the situation she was in and speaking of punishment in the traditional sense rather than the psychological sense, it is NOT punishment because it is not "you are BAD here is your CONSEQUENCE"
Oh OK, yes, semantics I guess it is then! Glad you enjoy it then, as I'm sure it's just pedantics for some!! I definitely was talking in behavioural/shaping terms, as that is just the proper definition of punishment, whereas it sounds that 'angry reactions', what you are calling 'traditional' is what I would consider just emotional retribution without understanding.... Although as you have put it above, regardless of what the punishment was - moving feet, smacking, 'popping', etc - I don't get why you perceive it is not still a case of 'you are bad(wrong, mistaken, incorrect, whatever) and this is the consequence.'

Quote:
I forgot to add that I actually would see her method as negative reinforcement since she's making him move until he doesn't bite, and then the unwanted work is taken away....?
The way I understood it, she was making him move or whatever *because* he was pinning his ears/threatening. If she were *only* doing this *at the time of* his threatening behaviour & quitting the instant he quit, yes, this would be -R, but it is also +P that happens before the -R. Getting even more pedantic, in the strictest sense, you can't really have -R if you don't have +P to start with. Eg. The pressure in the first place, to motivate the horse to do the 'right' thing when it's removed.

On that note, we could also consider that the horse is perceiving the attempt to mount as a punishment, and that is being negatively reinforced because I'm gathering that as soon as he pins his ears, she removes her foot from the stirrup. I would personally be endevouring to work gradually & positively enough that I would be able to keep up whatever stage of mounting I was up to until he offered 'good' behaviour, at which time I'd -R him by removing my foot & backing off.

Quote:
Are you saying you don't think my method will work for very long? That pretty soon, he'll be back to pinning his ears and trying to bite?
Yes, I'm saying it's *quite probably* only temporary, depending on the horse, the situation, his previous experience, etc. Got the idea you understood this from I think it was the original post. Punishment *weakens* behaviour, it depends whether there's much motivation for the behaviour and how big the punishment as to whether it may actually stop it totally or not. That's why regardless of whether you use punishment, it's a good idea to also use other tactics to change the *motivation & attitude* behind it. I tend to use punishment as an 'emergency plug' while I train better behaviour.

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post #18 of 26 Old 11-10-2010, 01:51 PM Thread Starter
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I don't think of me making him move his feet as punishment. Since horses don't understand punishment, things like smacking him under the chin just make him momentarily uncomfortable, and make him turn his head. A temp fix. Which is why I did it twice, and then rolled my eyes at my own ignorance. By showing him I'm the leader and earning his respect, the problem is gone and not even bubbling at the surface. He hasn't tried it since, or even acted like he wants to. After our first ride I think he realized "Hey, this ain't so bad." So yes, maybe a past experience made him sour to the saddle. I don't know, and will never know.

I'm so busy, I don't know if I've found a rope... or lost my horse...
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post #19 of 26 Old 11-10-2010, 03:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Snookeys View Post
Are you saying you don't think my method will work for very long? That pretty soon, he'll be back to pinning his ears and trying to bite?
I think it will work just fine.

If you just got this horse, he very likely had poor fitting tack or as a lesson horse was poked with toes, had riders haul themselves up and plop on his back. His attempting to bite was developed in response to the poor manners he was treated with. Or perhaps he was smart enough to intimidate the students into not mounting?

Sorry Loosie - I have taught more than one horse to stand and or not bite while being mounted by the good old boot to the belly trick. It's not punishment. It's establishing to the horse that in the herd of him and me, I am the leader.
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post #20 of 26 Old 11-10-2010, 03:27 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mls View Post
I think it will work just fine.

If you just got this horse, he very likely had poor fitting tack or as a lesson horse was poked with toes, had riders haul themselves up and plop on his back. His attempting to bite was developed in response to the poor manners he was treated with. Or perhaps he was smart enough to intimidate the students into not mounting?

Sorry Loosie - I have taught more than one horse to stand and or not bite while being mounted by the good old boot to the belly trick. It's not punishment. It's establishing to the horse that in the herd of him and me, I am the leader.
Oh he wasn't a lesson horse, he was sitting in a field doing nothing when I got him haha. I just used it as an example. :) Thanks!

I'm so busy, I don't know if I've found a rope... or lost my horse...
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