I'm frustrated - THIS is why CT gets such a bad reputation! Because people allow their horses to become pushy and still reward it.
I have Several Clicker Trained horses and not 1 of them will mug for treats, None of them are pushy or rude.
That's because even if I click, if they get pushy NO treats.
The FIRST thing I teach all my CT horses is that the only way they'll ever get a treat is if all 4 feet are on the ground (unless I'm asking otherwise) and they're standing calmly a respectful distance away. I reinforce this skill Through ALL our work by only feeding them behind their chin so they have to move further out of my space in order to get their reward. My horses Never associate being in my space with anything positive, respectfully out of my space doing what I ask is what gets them their reward - Nothing Else!
Clicker training is a wonderful style that works wonders on many horses - but like Any style of training, done wrong can cause the horses to be bad. FOOD is a powerful motivator! Whatever they did that got rewarded with food they will do more and more and more and more extremely! If they invade your space and get food they're going to knock you down next time, if once they whinny, the next time they scream, if once the tap the wall, the next they're kicking it. Which is why they should Only be rewarded when doing the correct thing and Never be rewarded for anything rude or dangerous.
Just like every style of training out there, there are people who do it poorly and give the whole style a bad rep. Yes ALL the styles can work, it's up to the trainer and horse which is the most effective for them. Please don't put down CT because a few lazy trainers who don't take the time to maintain respect.
This question I have is that if you were doing ground work with a horse and asked them to do some manuever, which they did, and then they moved close to you, and then you backed them off in order to give them the food reward, aren't you only teaching them to back away from you? I mean, that is what they did that earned the reward, not the "manuever" you first had them do.
I give treats to my lease horse, but more or less randomly. When tacking up I give him on to distract him from the girthing irritation. I give him one after mounting (sometimes, not always) and when our ride is done, I give him one and loosen his girth for the brief walk downt he driveway. I am sure that my treat giving is not the best thing for him, but I tolerate any kind of mugging he may do, as he behaves well enough in most other respects.
My friend's horse is a bit pushy and in-your-face . When I work with him on the ground, his reward is that I set him well off away from me, lay the slack of the leadrope on the ground (a long line) and allow him to rest AWAY from me. When he is next to me, he will have to work. So, he will be happy to be out there waiting on me, but not pushing on me.