What do YOU think of clicker training

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What do YOU think of clicker training

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View Poll Results: Do you recommend clicker training?
Yes 23 50.00%
No 23 50.00%
Voters: 46. You may not vote on this poll

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    07-10-2012, 11:10 PM
Question What do YOU think of clicker training

Hiya, just a few questions on clicker training. I met a trainer today who said she uses clicker training to train many of her horses and has had success with it and she said for me to give it a try with my pony. I know what clicker training is, I've heard of it before but never really looked into it. After researching a bit, It sounds quite interesting, I have a few questions and opinons needed, that were unclear while I was researching. Here they are

What is YOUR opinon on clicker training?
Pros and Cons?
What experience/have you ever used clicker training. Did you have success?
Can you combine clicker training with other training methods?
Will you ever be able to stop using the clicker and treats or will you always have to click and treat your horse?
How to keep a horse from becoming 'pushy' with the treats?

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    07-10-2012, 11:28 PM
What is YOUR opinon on clicker training?

Personally, I don't like it.

Pros and Cons?

Pros - could maybe be useful for horses who won't focus well, I guess.
Cons - add's an extra step I don't feel is necessary. Creates dependency on the "treat/click".

What experience/have you ever used clicker training. Did you have success?

Trained my dog with a clicker for a while. Never a horse. Yes, I had success. But I also had the same success without it.

Can you combine clicker training with other training methods?

Yes. Although it tends to get confusing for the animal.

Will you ever be able to stop using the clicker and treats or will you always have to click and treat your horse?

Don't know. Never used it with a horse and doubt I would. With a dog, it depends on the dog.

How to keep a horse from becoming 'pushy' with the treats?

I wouldn't give them :)

Basically I approach training in a very different manner than some. I don't look to "treat" or "reward" expected behavior. I give "treats" just because, but never as a form of training. I want the animal working for me and with me, not for the treat.

BUT, I haven't trained a horse in over 25 years so take this for what it's worth to ya ;)
    07-10-2012, 11:52 PM
What is YOUR opinon on clicker training?

I like it a lot. I use it with my mare, maybe not every day, but it allows for another type of training when maybe something else isn't working. It is a clear "Yes, that is what I want".

Pros and Cons?

Pros: Clear cue. Positive reinforcement. Most horses respond very well to it.

Cons: I don't keep the clicker with me at all times.

What experience/have you ever used clicker training. Did you have success?

I trained her to NOT be a treat monster. She is also trained to the target. Backing up on verbal command, and ground tying.

Can you combine clicker training with other training methods?

I do. I don't stick with one training method. I use whatever works best for my horse and I. I do not think it breaks the "bond", just using different tools to communicate and train.

Will you ever be able to stop using the clicker and treats or will you always have to click and treat your horse?

You will eventually be able to phase out the treats as well as the clicker with a well established behavior. Something that they do automatically, (picking up hooves) no longer needs any sort of reward. Other behaviors will become second nature like that.

How to keep a horse from becoming 'pushy' with the treats?

I did it the same way you would with a dog and the "Leave it" command. I put a treat in my hand, verbal command "Leave it" let her nose it, lip it (No teeth!) nudge it, but as soon as she turns her head away, *click* treat. She now will politely turn her head to the side and wait for a treat. And if I can train Arya "The Treat Monster" that, any horse can learn it.
    07-11-2012, 03:34 AM
Super Moderator
What is YOUR opinon on clicker training?
Pros and Cons?
What experience/have you ever used clicker training. Did you have success?

Personally I have never found a need to use clicker training. The only experience I have had with it is with dogs, and then they have come to me because they needed training. I find that there is no need for a clicker if training is done correctly.

Can you combine clicker training with other training methods?

Never tried, but dogs that have been clicker trained adapt quickly to direct commands and praise in the form of a scratch or voice praise.
Will you ever be able to stop using the clicker and treats or will you always have to click and treat your horse?

See above!

The one thing that puts me off clicker training is that I would never be able to find the darn clicker with all the junk I gather in my pockets!

How to keep a horse from becoming 'pushy' with the treats?
    07-11-2012, 09:12 AM
I also trained my bottle raised calf and now very large adult cow to clicker and target training. No matter how long it has been since her last session with the clicker and target. She automatically recognizes it the next time. Trailer loading with her is easier than some of the horses because she hops right in after the target.
    07-11-2012, 02:07 PM
Green Broke
You going to carry a clicker around with you 24/7 for the rest of your life ? Whats the difference between a clicker and me using my voice ? Something I actually do have with me all the time.
    07-11-2012, 02:16 PM
The clicker, a whistle, a certain sound you make with your voice is the same thing. It is called a bridge. The sound of the click is just very distinct and most horses have never heard it before which makes it stand out.

And no, you don't have to carry a clicker around 24/7. It can be phased out, just like praise once you have established the behavior.

I will do a little ground work with the clicker, then some lunging using NH methods without the clicker, then ride without the clicker. It doesn't have to be used all the time or every day. She understands NH "horse language" just like she understands the click means "Yes".
    07-11-2012, 02:30 PM
There is huge benefits to clicker training your horse. The whole principle is based in the science of behavior. It is going on already, whether you know it or not. So the more you know and understand the better you will be as a trainer, partner and communicator. You will be shocked by the difference in your horse. The mouthy pushiness only comes by people who are not aware of the behavior principles that govern the horses lives. It is super easy to get polite manners using food as a training tool. I have fixed horses of mouthiness and biting, even aggressive biters, using food as a reward. Again it is all in the basic education.

You can definitely add "clicker" training to what ever you are currently doing. You will see a big shift in your horses focus and enthusiasm. Whether you want to teach him to stand quietly, better transitions (upward or downward), clipping, trailer loading or jumping a course...or anything else in between.

Every horse does something to avoid something (traditional and Natural Horsemanship) or to get something (positive reinforcement) The key is something that the horse values. There is a huge tendency for humans to assign our own values and not really paying attention to the horses response. Because they are hard wired for food, due to survival, it's value as a motivator is unrivaled by anything we currently hold in horse training. Food, air, water, sleep and procreation are the other primary reinforcements fro which they are hard wired. As you move along in training you will find the food and clicker are not even a focus anymore. I could go on and on...I have used positive reinforcement for 28 years now. BYW the term clicker training is actually erroneous but has become a familiar term. At Sea World we didn't use clickers and we certainly didn't call it clicker training. I have been using it with horses for 18 years now and I have worked extensively with Beezie Madden, two time Olympic Gold medalist and she is on her way to London this year too. In fact I started my training business from an invitation from Beezie and her husband. I lived at their farm and worked with them and their horses. But I have also worked with Olympic coach and dressage rider, Jane Savoie as well as other international professionals.

Learning about positive reinforcement and how to apply it is easy and quite fun. If you want to learn more or watch some videos you can go to: On Target Training with Shawna Karrasch OR Clicker Training for Horses - YouTube

Th"Clicker Trained Horse Remembers After 7 Years" is a fun one that everyone gets a kick out of. If you have more questions I will be happy to help.
FrancesB, srh1 and Tombo8 like this.
    07-11-2012, 02:54 PM
Pros: If it works for someone & their horse that's a pro.

Cons: Listening to that clicker noise if you're not the one using it.
    07-11-2012, 03:55 PM
Green Broke
A horse IS NOT a dog. Nor does its mom bring it food. I strongly disagree with the concept of using food as a training aid.
Wild dogs bring food back to a den and feed their pups. When you give a dog a treat his brain says, "WOW what a cool dude he brought me some food".

When you give a horse food, he thinks he just punked you and took it away from you. Yes you can establish dominance and then give treats, but nothing sends a bigger message of leadership to a horse faster than making him wait until you are done eating.

Still think the clicker is nothing more than a gimmick. I see nothing you can do with a clicker I can't do with a couple simple voice commands. Why waste time training with something then phasing it out ? So I am supposed to train my horse to stand with a click, then phase it out to use something else ? Sounds kinda dumb, why not train him to stand when I say "STAND" from the getgo ? My horses are perfectly capable of understanding STAND, BACK, YAH MULE, WHOO MULE, and GET THE @#$%^^ off my foot you stupid f$&*^* !!! Jack @#$%^ !!!

clicker training, horses, opinon, pros cons, training

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