Teaching Gidget to shake"hands"
So tonight I was teaching Gidget to shake hands and she caught on extremely fast. I would tell her to shake and put out my hand and she would lift her leg up. I want to be able to have her shake and have my hands out regularly so it will take me a few days to teach her this but I was wondering if anyone else has ever taught their horse to shake?
Also I'm wanting to teach her to step up on a pedistal and have one leg out and do all these fancy tricks....has anyone ever built their on pedistal? I don't want to buy one.
My friend had a horse kick her with its front leg because its owner taught it to 'shake.' She accidentally gave the cue. I believe she's a member here, too.
be careful what you teach and that you ONLY reward when it is ASKED. otherwise there is the potential for injury (as the above poster said!).
you can use a mounting block as a pedestal. again make sure the cue is clear, not one that can easily be given by accident by an unsuspecting person, and that it is ONLY rewarded when asked for.
The first thing I thought of when I read your post was the dangers of your horse offering this behavior without being asked, as the above posters have pointed out.
I thought of something that may apply to your situation... In bird training, it is recommended that the bird learn at least 3 prop behaviors before learning a non-prop behavior. This is because a prop behavior (such as retrieve) requires the prop be present for the behavior to be completed. This eliminates the animal's ability to offer the behavior whenever it wishes. Then, after the animal knows at least three prop behaviors they are used to the idea of training and only offering behaviors during training or when asked by cue. Non-prop behaviors may then be introduced.
Non-prop behaviors (such as turn-around) can be offered by the animal anytime because they do not require a prop to perform. When the animal is not experienced with the whole concept of training and offering behaviors only on cue, the animal may become "stuck" on a non-prop behavior or begin to use it as a begging tool. So a bird taught to turn-around as a first trick may be very difficult to further train because it will constantly be turning around trying to earn treats while you are trying to teach something else, or it might start turning around outside of training sessions whenever it wants some treats.
However, a horse offering to shake hands when not asked or as a begging behavior is more dangerous because it might accidentally strike the person it is trying to get treats/praise from. Does she know many other tricks? You might want to figure out the pedestal trick first, and a couple other prop behaviors (such as fetch?), before training a non-prop behavior such as shake hands. Good luck!
Thank you for the advice..all of you.
Do you think it would best to teach her to shake when I stand off to the side that way she doesn't actually front kick? I only rewarded her when she did it but would like it to be a clear cue so no harm is done..especially when she gets her pedicure.
I think she caught on quick because the farriers bring out her legs onto a hoof pedestal to smooth the hoofs after being clipped.
Also..is there any tricks that you might consider more safe?
you could teach her to smile?
I will work on the pedestal trick first...fetch would be a cool trick but how do I go about that?
I have taught how to stay and come when I tell her to "stay" and to "come" with hand signals involved. I also tell her to whoa/ho when riding but if we are doing ground work and I want her to stay I tell her to stay while I go get something as long as she is in my eye sight that is.
I read about horses learning to fetch/retrieve while reading these books for a training project in college: "You Can Train Your Horse to Do Anything" by Shawna Karrasch Shawna Karrasch and On Target Training | Positive Reinforcement Clicker Training | Horse Training and "Clicker Training for Your Horse" by Alexandra Kurland Amazon.com: Clicker Training for Your Horse.... By the way, you do not have to use a clicker to do "clicker training" if you do not want to. Clicker training is simply positive reinforcement training with a clicker being used as the "marker." The "marker" just lets the animal know that whatever behavior they did in that exact second was the behavior that they are receiving a treat for. A clicker is very precise, but any marker can be used instead (as long as you are quick). I use a clicker when training my birds because they are super fast, performing many behaviors/movements in quick succession, and I need to be very precise as to what behavior I am reinforcing. I use a verbal "Yes!" with my dogs because a clicker can be cumbersome working with a larger animal when I am moving around rather than just sitting by a desk or perch to train. I have used either a clicker or a verbal "Yes!" with target-training different horses and both have worked.
I also found this: "How to Clicker Train a Horse to Fetch" How to Clicker Train a Horse to Fetch | eHow.com
It's a pretty good general outline, but I would change a couple things. First I would recommend teaching the horse to target first (this can be your first prop behavior; it is easy, and can be used to get to many other tricks). On step 7, I would not "take" the item from the horse... I would just hold my hand directly under the item so that the horse would be guaranteed to drop the item into my hand. On step 8, I think a more gradual approach would be better. They go straight from the horse picking up the item and dropping it into the trainer's strategically placed hands to making the horse turn and walk several steps with the item, yikes! I would break it down further... So, once the horse is picking up the item and placing it into the trainer's strategically placed hands consistently, start moving the hands an inch or two out from under the item so that the horse must pick up the item and move her head ever-so-slightly to place the item into the trainer's hands. If the horse simply drops the item on the ground, then they have not learned that part of the trick is the item landing in the trainer's hands. If that is the case, then move the hands just half an inch out of the way so that the falling item will sometimes bump (and sometimes not bump) the trainer's hands. The horse should notice that proximity of the hands is important. Once the horse makes an effort to drop the item near the hands, they can be shaped to drop the item into the hands (selective reinforcement for drops that are progressively more "into" the hands). Then start adding distance, but only inches at a time at first. Only once the horse clearly understand that the object must be placed into the trainer's hands can distance be quickly added, or turns be thrown in.
I hope some of that was helpful. I have not trained a horse to fetch, but my bird is a little fetching machine... and the general principles should be largely the same or at least similar. :)
(ETA: target, pedestal, and fetch would be 3 prop behaviors)
Thanks! You have been a big help!
I might look into using a clicker.
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