Does Clicker Training make your horse a treat monger? - Page 3

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Does Clicker Training make your horse a treat monger?

This is a discussion on Does Clicker Training make your horse a treat monger? within the Natural Horsemanship forums, part of the Training Horses category

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    06-01-2011, 06:02 AM
Spoetryinmotion, sorry to hear that your horse got that way. I have sen incredibly treat spoiled horses being trained (as strange as it sounds) to be 'treat-safe' again by clicker training, using experienced trainers who had great timing. I have never had nearly as bad a case, my mare got a little treat grabby in the beginning (my own fault as I was in the beginning stages of learning) but since then, and by clicker training, she is now incredibly polite about treats and knows to 'look away' before she will get a treat.

Marybonus, clicker training for horses is really a fantastic aspect of training that combines wonderfully with other types of training. To get started, I would do some research, both on the internet and in books if you have access to them. Karen Pryor and Alexandra Kurland are great clicker trainers and I know there are many more. Then I would start with the four (five) basic lessons. The first, charging the clicker may or may not work, depending on the horse (my mare only made the association when I started the next lesson), then there's target training, happy face/politeness, matwork and backing. Whilst I'm no expert at all, I'd be happy to try answer any questions you might have.

Ledge, I'm curious as to why you would think that clicker training could be unsafe? And, just to point out, there are also different levels of treat rewards. My mare works much harder for pony nuts then apples or carrots so I reserve them for teaching a new behaviour.
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    06-01-2011, 10:12 AM
Green Broke
I should horse is doing great with Clicker Training. He was a bit enthusiastic and tried to mug me at first, but he has finally 'got it' and seems to love it. I bought one of those little orange caution cones and I am teaching him to pick it up and hand it to me. We are also working on backing up and head lowering. It's a great communication tool.
    06-01-2011, 01:56 PM
If i've got this correctly the cricket clicker is a cue..... I can foresee someone out riding somewhere a kid has a click toy.... a piece of tin flap something that emulates that sound... the horse being a horse responds to the click.
    06-01-2011, 01:59 PM
Green Broke
That is kind of a far fetched situation.

However the worst case scenario is that the horse thought he did something good/nice and expects a treat. I don't see how that is dangerous at all.

The click is really the equivalent of 'yes', and that is all. Using the clicker specifically just incorporates a consistent noise that doesn't vary.
    06-01-2011, 02:06 PM
I had never heard of it until I read it on here. Sounds like the clicker helps the rider more than the horse.

Does it work better than the pressure and release method?
    06-01-2011, 02:08 PM
Green Broke
The awesome thing about clicker training is that you can piggyback it on to any other training system. It really is just saying 'yes'.
    06-02-2011, 04:49 AM
Ledge, if you heard the sound of the clicker you would see that it is a rather distinctive sound and kind of hard to duplicate without it. I don't know of a childs toy that sounds like it. Beside, as Spookychick said, I doubt it would result in a dangerous situation.

As for whether it helps the horse or the rider, I believe its a bit of both. It helps the rider get the timing exactly right which is not always possible with pressure/release. As for the horse, it creates a thinking horse, who wants to offer behaviours and try out knew things instead of a horse that just responds to pressure. They say a horse is more likely to repeat a behaviour if it offered it itself then if it has asked/pressured/forced to do so. You see this a lot with free shaping behaviour with clicker training. If I put it in human perspective, would you rather work because someone put force on you if you didn't, or if they rewarded you if you did?

And it doesn't have to be one or the other, clicker training can be used in combination with pressure and release. It just tells the horse the instant he did something right.
    06-02-2011, 07:54 AM
Pressure and release tells them they are doing something right immediately too. In both cases you need to have the same timing so if you have the wrong timing in one instance why would you think you would have the right timing with a different method ?

Personally I don't like clicker training and I would never want to carry that clicker around all the time.
    06-02-2011, 09:56 AM
Perhaps so, but take this as an example. I know a lot of people (probably due to a variety of NH trainers) that start teaching a horse to back but shaking/jiggling their lead rope. The horse steps back and you stop jiggling but there is still some momentum in the line which takes a little while to stop fully. With the clicker, its an instant "Yes! You did the right thing!" and the stimulus is removed. I'll agree that that is not always the case but I've seen it happen.

May I ask why you don't like clicker training? Is it only because you don't want to carry a clicker? Because you can click just as easily with your tongue as with a clicker.
    06-02-2011, 11:22 AM
No its not just carrying it around. I see clicker training as pure positive reinforcement training, which I do not do, because I use positive reinforcement as well as correction. I also really don't see the point in saying 'yes', when I am already communicating with my horse [or dog] that they did the right thing.

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