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What do YOU think of clicker training

This is a discussion on What do YOU think of clicker training within the Horse Training forums, part of the Training Horses category

    View Poll Results: Do you recommend clicker training?
    Yes 22 48.89%
    No 23 51.11%
    Voters: 45. You may not vote on this poll

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        07-13-2012, 06:18 AM
      #41
    Trained
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ConfusciusWasAGreatTeachr    
    Can it be useful? Yeah I guess so, but I think l prefer 'horse'.
    Like the comment about different cues, it's not about replacing a 'language', it's just about being able to *clearly* tell the horse that he earned a reward, marking an instant of a behaviour... of which I don't know that there's an effective 'horse word' for anyway.
         
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        07-13-2012, 11:26 AM
      #42
    Started
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by srh1    
    I noticed that people said that ct training wastes time. And it might be true, but sometimes it's okay to waste time with your horse. Most of us aren't pro trainers and never will be. And spending time out of my busy schedule with my horses... Trying to get them to use their brain in a new and fun way? I don't see that as a waste of time. If you're both having fun and learning it's time very well spent in my book.

    It's nice to take a break from routine and try something different. If it works then awesome and if not, well, no harm done.
    I Love this! You are so right, so long as you're spending time with your horse, the time isn't wasted. This concept is wasted time is about people who have a pile of horses they're being paid to train quickly.

    Honestly I read this whole post with great interest! I was very curious about whether it was worth a shot or not. Definitely sounds like something I might want to try - with a twist. I plan on using a smooch or similar vocal cue rather than a clicker - I know I'll never have it with me when I need it. I was also wondering can you use something other than food? My horse has a very, very itchy belly and I've used her itchy belly to get her comfortable with everything she's afraid of including myself at first. I was wondering if I could use the smooch as a bridge to connect belly scratches instead of connecting it to food. She is quite the moose with food, I only ever give her treats when she's completely not expecting it and only just as a surprise cause I love her. But if I give her food the whole rest of the day she's in my pocket nosing around, even though in order to get the food she has to back up 3 steps and wait. But once she's got it she's right back in my space. So I want to avoid food as anything other than a surprise 'i love you'.

    Interesting posts everyone!!
         
        07-13-2012, 08:13 PM
      #43
    Trained
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by PunksTank    
    I Love this! You are so right, so long as you're spending time with your horse, the time isn't wasted. This concept is wasted time is about people who have a pile of horses they're being paid to train quickly.
    I love that point too - much rather waste time doing having FUN WITH horses than WORKING ON them. But while I don't train other's horses in a 'churn 'em out' type fashion, while initial lessons can indeed be slow, because motivation to learn is so high, I don't know that overall training does take substantially longer than trainers that don't use it anyway & the horse has a much more positive attitude at the end. Maybe I'm kidding myself though, that just because other trainers say they also take 3-4 weeks(on average of course) to put the basics on a horse, that means they're actually training them for that time...

    Quote:
    I might want to try - with a twist. I plan on using a smooch or similar vocal cue rather than a clicker
    IMO that's not a 'twist' - it's not about getting hung up on specifics like plastic noise makers & food treats, it's about using the 'laws of learning' most effectively. There's no 'law' about plastic clickers, just that many people have found them a handy tool. Dolphin trainers tend to use a whistle for eg.

    Quote:
    can you use something other than food? My horse has a very, very itchy belly and I've used her itchy belly
    Likewise, food treats aren't the only +R. Just that food is a universally strong +R(generally - not when the horse isn't hungry or preoccupied with fear or such) & is usually also a practical one. An effective +R may be anything that the horse truly desires, that is practical to give quickly.

    Quote:
    I only ever give her treats when she's completely not expecting it and only just as a surprise cause I love her. But if I give her food the whole rest of the day she's in my pocket nosing around, even though in order to get the food she has to back up 3 steps and wait. But once she's got it she's right back in my space.
    This sounds a bit inconsistent to me, so I suspect the 'rudeness' is due to her not knowing what's allowed/being reinforced. For one, you say you give treats just as a surprise, but then you say you ask her to back up and wait for them. Which is it? Until she learns some manners & you get consistent, I personally wouldn't randomly give food just for the hell of it, but would only give it for 'good' behaviour. Also if you do give it randomly, you still need to take notice of what's happening immediately before it - are you inadvertently reinforcing 'rudeness'? I'd also be consistent about disallowing her 'mugging' behaviour, rather than what seems to be you allowing it at all times except when you ask her to back up for a treat. Again, it's not what type of +R you use, but what behaviour you're reinforcing - you could just as easily turn her into a 'moose' for belly scratches.

    ...Which reminds me, when I started learning all this, I had a mare that would come up & turn her butt on you & start backing into you... because she loved a tail scratch so much & I'd inadvertently reinforced that behaviour
    corymbia likes this.
         
        08-05-2012, 08:59 PM
      #44
    Foal
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by srh1    
    One thing I do see though is ct having the potential to create some nasty nippy ponies or horses always looking for food if it's done incorrectly and for that reason I wouldn't recommend it to someone that wasn't already a decent trainer. A beginner might click at the wrong time for the wrong things and not recognize if their horse is being direspectful.

    This is absolutely true, see my previous post about how to avoid this. However, what is also true, is the poorly applied "tradtional" or NHS methods based on negative reinforcement (when applied by both experienced and inexperienced people) can and do lead to:

    • bucking
    • rearing
    • kicking
    • bolting
    • shying
    • biting etc.
    The consequences of which can be catastrophic for the human invovled, as well as the horse. Beginnner horse owners/riders, irrespective of the method they are using are at much higher risk of injury than more experienced people (except vets interestingly). A review paper by Hawson et al (2010) found that one of biggest risk factors for death or serious injury amongst horse people was hours of experience. And certainly, the vast majority of these injuries occured with horses who were not clicker trained.

    I'd also comment that often people give up on clicker training because they don't have success with it and then they blame the method, rather than the fact that their timing is usually a bit off and they are rewarding the wrong behaviour. Like any learned skill, it takes practice to get better at and when I think back to my early days with it, I was pretty hopeless at it. But then I was also pretty hopeless at riding when I started learning that too.

    I am also not saying negative reinforcement is a bad thing, far from it, its unavoidable in horse training and when its done well we get calm, reliable, well trained horses. Its just that, given NR relies on using aversive experiences and their removal to train the horse, why not also use something that the horse genuinely likes (food) as well, where practical.

    As to the question about fading it out- I think this misses the point about what happens in NR as well. Surely the ideal should be that our horse responds to the lightest cues and we only ever resort to stronger cues when it doesn't. So we also fade out the stronger cues we use to install responses and hopefully rely on light ones, or cues such as seat/voice etc. This is similar to fading out the food rewards in clicker training.

    So far, I haven't had a problem with it and owners of horses I have started have told me that their horse still performs the behaviour (such as standing still to be mounted) years later without a single food reward since. This demonstrates that the behaviour has simply become a habit for the horse and that you are not condemned to carrying around pounds of carrots for the rest of your life
         
        08-05-2012, 09:53 PM
      #45
    Foal
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by loosie    

    I personally wouldn't randomly give food just for the hell of it, but would only give it for 'good' behaviour. Also if you do give it randomly, you still need to take notice of what's happening immediately before it - are you inadvertently reinforcing 'rudeness'? R
    Absolutely. Since becoming a regular user of CT, I almost never hand out food for no reason. I use it as an opportunity to reinforce a behviour I want, whether its simply turning their head away, or backing a step, or doing a step of side pass etc. My horses all live out in big paddocks so I deliberately give them food for cantering up to the gate when they see me because its a behaviour I want them to repeat. However, they only get the food if they also turn their heads away and wait a few seconds.
    Occasionally I might have as many as eight horses lined up along the fence, all with their heads turned away at the same time. Looks pretty cute when it happens.

    I heard a talk by the head police dog trainer of a state police department who said that the food used in the sessions came out of the dog's daily ration. It was very rare that the dogs would receive food without having to perfom a cued behaviour. The trainer said it kept them them in lean, fit health and ensured they were highly motivated to learn. They also used play as a reward, something that's harder to do with horses, given we're likely to get injured by many of the things horses do in play.
    loosie likes this.
         
        08-06-2012, 07:48 PM
      #46
    Foal
    I could be wrong but I don't think anyone has mentioned that horses are like dogs. Positive reinforcement works for almost any animal. I think its a language they understand; treats=good behavior. When I train I alternate between " what a good boy! " ( rub rub pet pet ) and treats so that they learn to not expect a treat everytime and that my praise is just as good as treats.
    Posted via Mobile Device
    loosie likes this.
         
        08-06-2012, 11:53 PM
      #47
    Foal
    I've clicker trained my mini horse, dog and cat. It's a bit misunderstood about the feeding. Yes, in the beginning you feed as soon as the animal does the action you're looking for. As that action is becoming a 100% learned action, the feeding becomes less and less. And there is no need to carry a clicker all the time if you are able to mimic the sound using your tongue.
    There is nothing wrong with clicker training and there is nothing wrong with not using it. I found lily responded quicker and seemed more anxious to learn and stay focused. I suspect it depends upon the person/trainer and the horse as to what method works best. I bought Alexandra Kurlands videos, watched them all a couple of times before I began training. Speaking just for myself, I couldn't have trained without the video guidance (I also was 63 when I got my first horse) so being old maybe I just needed more visual assistance. Best of luck!
         
        08-07-2012, 01:10 AM
      #48
    Trained
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by KatRocks    
    I could be wrong but I don't think anyone has mentioned that horses are like dogs.
    How DARE you!! I don't think it went down too well when a teacher complimented me on my skill with primary kids & I said that's because I'm used to training animals!
    Foxtail Ranch and minihorse like this.
         
        08-07-2012, 04:33 PM
      #49
    Foal
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by loosie    
    How DARE you!! I don't think it went down too well when a teacher complimented me on my skill with primary kids & I said that's because I'm used to training animals!
    Lol
    Posted via Mobile Device
    Foxtail Ranch likes this.
         
        08-07-2012, 06:58 PM
      #50
    Weanling
    I do not "recommend" it, but I don't disapprove of it. If it works for you, have at it.. not for me. Clicking noises make me grumpy... repetetive clicking noises make me homicidal.. can't even use one of those wind up clocks.. the tick tock drives me insane.. and don' even get me started on those freaky cat clocks.. oh wait clicker training... use it if you like but please not around me...
    minihorse likes this.
         

    Tags
    clicker training, horses, opinon, pros cons, training

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