What is clicker training? - The Horse Forum

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post #1 of 16 Old 11-22-2012, 10:09 AM Thread Starter
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Question What is clicker training?

I was re-reading one of my last threads and in one of them someone recommended clicker training. I'm not exactly sure what this is, but I'm doing some other training exercises (thanks to PunksTank) to help my horse. I was wondering if clicker training would be beneficial as well, because I think it's a ground exercise but again, not sure. If someone could please inform me on what it is I would very happy to know. Also if you found clicker training to help you, share what you did and your experience with it. Thanx for reading!!

Cash&Finnegan
If your horse says no, you either asked the wrong question, or asked the question wrong-Pat Parelli
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post #2 of 16 Old 11-22-2012, 10:21 AM
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I suggest that you search this forum a bit - there are quite many valuable threads on clicker training already that you might find worth reading. ;)

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post #3 of 16 Old 11-22-2012, 10:47 AM
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Hey again Finn ;)
The exercises I told you about are just typical Natural Horsemanship exercises, not clicker training.

I'll start with the basics, there are 4 ways any creature learns:
1)Negative Punishment - punishment for doing something bad (smack for an attempted bite)
2) Negative Reinforcement- removal of something negative because they did something good (removal of pressure when they do the right thing)
3) Positive Punishment - removal of something positive when they do something wrong (this is more common with people - no TV if you don't do your homework :P)
4) Positive reinforcement - the addition of something positive for doing the right thing (giving a treat for doing a new skill)


So Clicker training is typically mostly Positive reinforcement but some people add in some negative reinforcement too.
Essentially what the clicker does is create a bridge, it tells the horse "at the very moment you heard the click, exactly what you were doing is what I want" and they get a treat or other reward for it.

This isn't as simple as it sounds, it takes work for them to learn that click=treat and time for them to learn to take treats respectfully, but after that your limits are endless with the skills you can teach them.
My unrideable pony is building his list of skills he can do! He can now be lead respectfully (this was a serious issue when we got him), he no longer mugs people when they come in the barn, he no longer kicks or paws, but he'll follow a target, he'll chase and target a foot ball (he's working on learning to fetch), he'll back up about 6-8 steps now, he's learning to give hugs and kisses, he's also working on bowing.
My mare is ride-able so I start with all the basics teaching her (using clicker training) to walk on lead, back up (she's only got 2-3 steps now before she gets unsure if that's what I want), turn toward and away from me on lead without ever invading my space (this was a serious issue for her), she's overcome her horrible phobia of leaving her paddock (this was beyond serious with her, nothing got her out before), she'll target and has just learned how to "Stand" and I can make 2 full circles around her in each direction now :)
So now that her ground work is getting solid I've started working on backing her - so we practiced on the ground the same giving to the bridle exercises I told you about, except I backed it up with Clicker Training. Then I worked on backing her, I've gotten on 4 times now, the first few times were just having me sit up there and letting her get comfortable, with some practice on giving to the bridle mounted. Now she's working on walking with leg pressure. :)

The biggest reason people don't like the idea of clicker training is because they're afraid a horse will become pushy or rude with treats, but if you don't forget the first step and maintain it through all the lessons you'll have a less pushy horse than most ;)
Here are some great links on clicker training and how to, with some helpful videos:
Video 1
On The Ground : On Target Training with Shawna Karrasch
Step-By-StepTrainingGuide


Here are some great videos on what you can achieve with it
This one is actually someone on this forum, she's one of the best clicker trainers I've seen and has taught me alot!
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post #4 of 16 Old 11-22-2012, 10:50 AM
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Lots of info on youtube - horse clicker training
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post #5 of 16 Old 11-22-2012, 11:38 AM Thread Starter
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@ Saranda oh sorry I didn't see any
@PunksTank, thank you soo much you have been such a great help, also do you know any good books that have horse exercises or anything, I love to read and try new things, I was thinking something like horses for dummies, something I can buy close to me. Lol thanx
@ saddlebag oh ok I will see

Cash&Finnegan
If your horse says no, you either asked the wrong question, or asked the question wrong-Pat Parelli
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post #6 of 16 Old 11-22-2012, 01:21 PM Thread Starter
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punksTank, do you think clicker training would be beneficial to Finn?

Cash&Finnegan
If your horse says no, you either asked the wrong question, or asked the question wrong-Pat Parelli
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post #7 of 16 Old 11-22-2012, 07:25 PM
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Check out the other c/t thread I just replied to.
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post #8 of 16 Old 11-22-2012, 07:30 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by loosie View Post
Check out the other c/t thread I just replied to.
I just checked it out, I understand now, thanx!!!

Cash&Finnegan
If your horse says no, you either asked the wrong question, or asked the question wrong-Pat Parelli
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post #9 of 16 Old 11-22-2012, 09:46 PM
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Finn I think clicker training can benefit just about any horse in the world, including yours. So long as you follow the rules of it and maintain the horse's manners and follow through on the training completely- this is not good for half training as it can cause bad habits if you don't follow through on it all. So if you teach any skill, teach it and build on it, don't ever reward behavior you don't want to see more of. This sounds obvious but it so often doesn't happen- people feeding horses so they'll shut up, they've just taught them being loud gets food.
So if your commited it could be incredibly beneficial :)
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post #10 of 16 Old 11-22-2012, 10:01 PM Thread Starter
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Punk, oh ok thanks! So say I'm teaching my horse to come from anywhere in the ring(so that he does it when I go to catch him in the pasture). Do I first wait for him to come to me feed him a treat make a click sound then make him repeat it? Until every time I click he comes? So if I were to somehow accomplish that how would as you say "build on it"? Maybe I'm over thinking it? But if I use the same clicking sound to 'fix' every problem wouldn't he get confused as to what Im asking because he knows that I have made that sound with several other issues. I'm a bit confused as to what you actually do. I hear stories on how it helped other people and what it is (positive reinforcement) but I would love to read examples as to what they did specifically step by step. It may be long but I would rather read a lot and do a lot then just winging it. This would be much appreciated not only by Tank but by anyone. Now the article that Punk gave me was great but I would really like to read some real-life examples as to what someone did I repeat step by step. Thanx!!

Cash&Finnegan
If your horse says no, you either asked the wrong question, or asked the question wrong-Pat Parelli
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