Clicker Training? - Page 4

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Clicker Training?

This is a discussion on Clicker Training? within the Natural Horsemanship forums, part of the Training Horses category

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    05-13-2012, 11:36 AM
Green Broke
Well, it depends on the animal. My dog would rather be rewarded with a click, then session with a tug toy or a fetch.

Some animals prefer scratches, etc.
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    05-13-2012, 08:15 PM
Originally Posted by gypsygirl    
what I really don't understand about clicker training is why your horse has to expect that its getting a treat. I want my animals to do something because I told them to, not because they think they are getting a treat for it. Don't get me wrong, I feed treats and love on my horses and they love working and doing their job. I understand how positive reinforcement training works, I incorporate it into all my training, but I don't think pure positive reinforcement training is all that useful.
For me, it comes down to working together. I have two mottos:

Training is something you do with your dog/horse, not to your dog/horse.
I want my dog/horse to work with me, not for me.

It's not about training your horse to expect a treat, it's teaching your horse how to earn them. You're right, our animals should do the things that we tell them to, but there is a lot of foundational work that has to take place before we can expect this of them - in terms of our relationship with them, and also in terms of their skills and limitations. Clicker training is IMO part of that foundational work, but also part of ongoing training for the life of the animal depending on the things you want to work on or improve.

Once behaviours have been learned, you absolutely fade out the clicker for them, and bring it back in when you want to teach new things. I'm not saying you need to click every behaviour for the life of the horse. My mom used to give me a hug and a cookie for every time I went to the bathroom on the big girl potty, but at 28 I certainly don't get hugs and cookies for using the bathroom anymore. :)
spookychick13 likes this.
    05-13-2012, 10:48 PM
Originally Posted by Saddlebag    
In brief, no amount of p/r would get my horse over his fear of "the dreaded plastic". ....Well, now I just had to try the plastic bag on the whip. I shook it behind me, he didn't move so c/t. I did my level best to get a reaction out of him to no avail but the look on his face was "hurry up and gimme my treat"
Don't get whether you're telling that as an example of your tactics not working? Were you wanting the horse to react in some way? If so, why did you c & t initially when he didn't react? I agree tho, c/t, p/r, release of pressure, punishment.... whatever 'tool' you use to tell the horse he did 'right' or 'wrong' won't work in & of itself. It's not what you do so much as how you do it.
    05-13-2012, 11:27 PM
Originally Posted by ButtInTheDirt    
I think the clicker can be just as good as a well timed and consistent use of a praise word. ... I just say "good dog" in the same tone and pitch pattern and give the dog a treat, and they catch on to that. Then the praise sooner or later is just as rewarding as the treat was at first
Yes, you can desensitise the animal to the noise & then use it if you like, but yes, any consistent sound/signal will work as a bridge.

While I agree that *after the behaviour is learned/established* you can/should stop reinforcing all the time, that *random* reinforcement will actually further strengthen the behaviour you want, and that the animal associates the signal with the actual reinforcement, I don't believe it becomes 'just as rewarding' as the treat/reward. To prove this, try never reinforcing a dog with anything more than the word 'good' - it will lose it's meaning once the dog realises it doesn't... mean anything.

but I rarely give my horses treats. I don't ever want them to become pushy or search for treats, and with dogs I don't really mind.
OK, if you have a good read of the previous posts in this thread, you will hopefully get to understand it's not the treats that cause an animal to be 'rude'. Again, it's not so much the tools you use as how you use them. I personally don't like anyone being rude to me, regardless of their size or species - I do my best not to allow it from kids, dogs, friends, horses.... & I definitely strive to NEVER reward that behaviour. Often people may not realise what they're inadvertently rewarding, so they unwittingly actively teach the animal to be 'rude'.

Before doing any clicker training, it's important to "load" it first. ...I reserve the first 3-5 days to do a few 2-3 minute sessions each day, when all I do is click, treat, click, treat, click, treat.
This is the 'recipe' for 'loading' the clicker, aka giving it meaning. I think doing it this way can also be the easiest for people just starting out too. But you don't have to ask nothing of the animal for it. You can, for eg. Click & treat every time the horse does anything else aside from attempt to 'mug' you, thereby killing 2 birds, so to speak.

I think keeping sessions very short & sweet is definitely important, especially early on in training, but if you have the time for a few to many sessions in a day, that's fine & maybe even more effective, rather than only once daily. So long as 'sessions' are short & has stress free, pref. Relaxing periods in between them, you can do one every 10-15 minutes if you like. Could have that clicker 'charged' within the hour rather than taking 5 days.

what I really don't understand about clicker training is why your horse has to expect that its getting a treat. I want my animals to do something because I told them to, not because they think they are getting a treat for it. Don't get me wrong, I feed treats and love on my horses and they love working and doing their job. I understand how positive reinforcement training works, I incorporate it into all my training, but I don't think pure positive reinforcement training is all that useful.
TBH Gypsy, not sure I understand this post, as you seem to contradict yourself. You say a horse 'should' work just because you tell them to, but then you say you understand how PR training works.

But perhaps it's about the last bit, about 'pure' PR training. Perhaps you're thinking it can't be used without excluding any other way of communicating? If that's what you're getting at, then I tend to agree that I personally have no desire to do away with negative reinforcement, etc, & use those kinds of 'tools' in conjunction with PR. I think it's throwing the baby out with the bathwater not to. But there are those 'purists' that claim to use solely PR & find it very useful.

I do get that some people have the attitude that a horse 'should' do what the owner says because... they own it & it's 'disrespectful' or some such if the horse doesn't. I disagree with that attitude. An animal(whatever species, human or otherwise) will do something, be that a new behaviour or otherwise, because it works for them, not just because someone said. Whether it's because something Good eventuates or because something Bad goes away or is avoided, it's because there is a consequence. In human terms, you could say it's the difference between employment & slavery; if your boss never paid you, only made your life a mysery whenever you didn't perform for him, would you call it a good working relationship & have 'respect' for the guy, or would you think him a slave driver?
Beling and Meatos like this.
    05-26-2012, 01:19 AM
One small step for clicker training...

When my husband's old Percheron was returned to us from the dairy farm where he had been living for a few years, I was less than thrilled. I wanted a low level dressage horse; I got a plow horse. I wanted a sweet horse with a little life and a sense of play, but I got a horse who wanted to be fed and left alone, but also a horse who knew his strength and didn't mind using it. I liked him okay, and certainly didn't want him to come to any harm, but I definitely didn't feel safepushing him, and I didn't feel overly excited about working with him.

One of his most persistant and irritating behaviors was to refuse to give his hoof for cleaning. He would just stand there like a great big heffalump and not move. He wouldn't lift it for me, he wouldn't lift it for my farrier, who began charging me seventy bucks to trim him. If he did condesend to pick it up, he would usually slam it down again after a minute or two. I finally got so frustrated that I bought Alexandra's book and a DVD on clicker training, rewarded him for the slightest effort, stretched it out, and now he starts lifting his foot if I just look at it.

My farrier arrived early lat trim time, and I got home to find him trimming my horses back foot while sitting on a tire, the hoof resting on his lap! He still charged me seventy bucks though...
Tombo8 likes this.
    05-26-2012, 02:13 AM
Yeah, it's a pity it's only useful for 'tricks', huh??
    05-26-2012, 03:18 PM
Awesome! Clickers are so amazing. Good for you for giving it a try and sticking with it. Sounds like you had better than ideal results. I'm sure that the more you use it, the more he will learn to trust you and want to be around you - and the more you'll grow to enjoy him in turn.

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