Embarrassing question: clicker training a gelding
So... I need to erase a behavior, and replace it with the opposite. It has to do with sheath/penis cleaning. I've accidentally taught my young gelding to "suck it up", because whenever I see him down, he's almost always super yukky, so I'm like "oh must clean that now" - and up it goes, never to be seen again. This has trained him so well he rarely drops in my presence (I only realized today that I unintentionally have been training this!)
He is a smegma factory and truly needs to be cleaned - he's noticeably uncomfortable at the moment. He needs to be cleaned, at a minimum, every two months, and I've seen him go from squeeky clean to uncomfortably dirty in less than a month :(
So, I'd like to clicker train him to drop, and stay dropped, on command. I'm new to clicker training, and while I've had some success, I'm just not sure how to go about training this, since he doesn't drop while clicker training, like I was just reading some geldings do (I wish!).
Anybody ever done this? How?
Subbing out of interest!
okay, first thing first. If he is uncomfortable and needs to be cleaned I would call your vet and get some tranquilizer to get your boy relaxed. Clicker training may take a little while to get this behavior down. I would start by loading the clicker and then playing a waiting game. When you spot it down, click and treat it. I would start getting him to associate a key word with the clicker and behavior.
That said, I would seriously consider all elements of the behavior before training it. I heard a story of a dolphin who was trained to get a you know what when waved at. That was a odd trick to teach but was okay in an adult environment. The dolphin left the research facility and ended up a water park where small children waved at it all day. That led to some weird conversations.
You'll have no problem getting him to drop with clicker training, clicker training has been known to make a gelding drop just during the process of clicker training in the early stages with treats and clicks for making them just hang it all out.
Do a google search in clicker training and dropping.....you might find a few articles about it. The problem is that the horse hangs it out when you don't want it hanging out. Actually if you YouTube clicker trained geldings or something to that effect you may see it......in fact look at this:
This horse was clicker trained.....no problem getting to his parts:
(Personally I'd be making him out it away!)
I recommend teaching him to allow you to clean his sheath without dropping. Use positive reinforcement/ clicker training to get him calm and relaxed and then you can clean him without him needing to drop. This will help circumvent too much unwanted dropping. My horse is like yours...he needs to be cleaned all of the time! I just head on up in there and can give him a thorough cleaning. I have a DVD on my website that shows you how to do this or here is a link to a YouTube video/blog post that talks you through the process to give you an idea, if you want to take a look. The one topic horse people don’t talk about…sheath cleaning! : On Target Training with Shawna Karrasch
Oops, sorry about that!! Here is the one I meant to send you to:
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