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...
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.
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.
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