Does Clicker Training make your horse a treat monger? - Page 6

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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
  • Stopping a barging horse clicker
  • Negative aspects of horse clicker training

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    10-20-2011, 09:38 AM
Isnt it supposed to work along with pressure and release ?? Just reinforce it more ?
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    10-21-2011, 06:34 AM
Yep. Think of it as a spectrum, -10 is being jabbed hard with a spur, 0 is neutral, no pressure but no "reward" and +10 is being bathed in molasses.

Negative reinforcement implies going - then returning to 0 when the right thing was done, positive reinforcement implies staying at 0 then going + when the right thing was done.

In my experience horses learn best from a combination of both. You go - untill the right thing is done, then you go +, then you go back to 0. However, just negative reinforcement is just as good as just positive reinforcement. Because in the end going from -5 to 0 feels the same to the horse as going from 0 to +5.

In fact with that in mind it's possible negative reinforcement works better because the sequence goes 0, -5, 0, starting at 0, going DOWN to -5 and UP to 0 again. So the sequence is always ended on an upward acceleration. But with positive reinforcement it starts at 0, goes +5 then DOWN again to 0, ending on a form of "pressure" (keeping in mind that +5 to 0 would feel the same to the horse as 0 to -5)
    10-21-2011, 08:38 AM
As far as I'm aware, on research studies done, positive reinforcement has been proven to be more effective than negative reinforcement.

Gypsy, as far as I'm aware you can combine the two. I know there has been some debates as to whether the combination is as effective as positive reinforcement on its own but I'm not sure what the final outcome was!
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HorseyyGal and shawnakarrasch like this.
    10-22-2011, 01:46 AM
Originally Posted by munschk    
Oh, on one more note, I don't decrease the treats as my horse is not one to be motivated by pats. Instead, you increase what they have to do for the reward.

For example, when using clicker training for lunging, when asking a horse to drop its head on the lunge, initially you click and reward the moment the horse drops its head, then you extend it to asking them to drop their head for half a circle for example, before clicking and treating.

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Spot on! We use clicker training with all our horses, from starting under saddle to retrain many problem issues such as not standing still to be mounted, incorrect canter lead, shying etc.

The key with it is to remember that any behaviour that gets rewarded, even inadvertently will be reinforced- that is the horse will do more of it becuase it has previously gotten a reward for it. So accidentally rewarding a horse coming in too close will make the horse barge or mug more. A handy tip taught to me by a fantastic clicker trainer in Australia is the concept of negative punishment- that is, "punishing" a particular behaviour by taking something away- the food. In this context punishment is anything that motivates an animal to do less of a behaviour and reinforcement is something that motivates an animal to do more of a behaviour. So in the case of mugging, by not giving a treat when the horse mugs you are effectively punishing the mugging by taking away the food. When the horse stops mugging and stands quietly then you can click and reward the standing quietly behaviour with the food. Pretty soon the horse learns that the quickest way to get the treat is to stand still. You have successfully punished an unwanted behaviour without having to use any 'punishment'. Well trained clicker horses are very "respectful" about getting their treats.

As noted above, it can be an excellent way to train horses not to be pushy or bossy. As far as using clicker training and pressure release or negative refinforcement, the latter is unavoidable in horse training unless you never use any kind of tack or equipment on your horse. Anytime we apply a pressure on our horse to cue it to do something and then take the cue away when it does what we want we are using negative reinforcement.

The beauty of clicker training, a form of positive reinforcement is that it uses something that the horse is evolved to seek and thus values very highly, food and thus most horses trained with it are highly motivated to do whatever it takes to get the food. It is possible to use only negative reinforcement to train horses humanely and kindly, but we find using a combination of the two means our horses learn more quickly and are much quieter and softer to handle than using negative reinforcement alone.

For some really good info about it check out Horse Training
shawnakarrasch and Thoro like this.
    11-24-2011, 03:25 PM
With clicker training one of the goals is to fade out the treats after they learn the behavior. You start giving them treats everytime you click when they do what you asked. But then gradually you give them a treat every other time and then slowly you will eventually not give them any treats for the behavior.

You can also put them in their stall with a gate between you and your horse. Also I always give them treats with my arm stretched out so they have to put their head away from my body(and actually sometimes have to back up) to get the treat when I'm clicker training.
    12-02-2011, 05:07 PM
Do you already have the clicker training book? I'm just wondering because I do, and am willing to sell it. I've read it a few times but it looks like it did when I bought it from the book store.

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