clicker training - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 26 Old 10-01-2019, 07:40 AM Thread Starter
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clicker training

so i have a new miniature pony that arrived yesterday. i am hoping to do clicker training with him but havent done it before, i have watched lots of videos on youtube and have a few books i have gotten from amazon which have helped lots. with the mianture pony i am hoping to train it to do tricks and pull a cart. does anyone have any tips or anything that you think would help me. hoping to start tomorrow and the mianture pony is two years old but such a cutey
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post #2 of 26 Old 10-01-2019, 07:56 AM
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I recently purchased a book by Shawna karrasch 'You Can Train Your Horse To Do Anything'. She trained killer whales, sea otters, dolphins, etc at Sea World for ten years before switching to horses. Her training methods are unique and based on positive reinforcement coupled with the clicker as a bridge signal. Her method or system is called 'Target Training'.


She has a few videos out on youtube that are interesting. I am studying the book to be sure I get it right. I've only tried one small experiment with my horse lasting about five minutes and was very surprised at at the quick results. Time is in the way right now but as I complete the book and reviews of it, my 'plan' is to go fully into the systom of Target Training.


There are neurological brain scan studies that support positive reward training as opposed to pressure release.

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post #3 of 26 Old 10-01-2019, 08:27 AM Thread Starter
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yes i have the book and love it and highlighters have been massive for me whilst trying to do this. i am really hoping to do this with more young horses but i thought i would try it with Tinker (my two year old miniature) first to learn and everything. i find it amazing how horses pick it up so quickly. thanks for the tips :)
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post #4 of 26 Old 10-01-2019, 11:36 AM
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Look up Peggy Hogan on You tube.

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post #5 of 26 Old 10-01-2019, 03:10 PM Thread Starter
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ok thank you for the recommendation have you ever tried it before ????
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post #6 of 26 Old 10-02-2019, 02:21 PM
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i have tried some target training and i love it. started by training my horse to touch the end of the carrot stick for a treat. i can now get her to stretch her head in any direction. then i started walking and telling her to touch it and she would walk and trot with me to touch it. we even ran a barrel pattern on the ground with her fallowing the stick. she can turn easily on the inside of out side of me unlike before i started target training and trying to play at liberty with her. would like to get the boot to learn more. since none of my horses are ridable anymore they do like to do things so this may entertain them.
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post #7 of 26 Old 10-03-2019, 12:29 PM
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Clicker is a wonderful and powerful tool to have in your toolbox, and horses seem to pick it up very rapidly. Just one caution, from dog training, where clicker has a huge following: clicker, like all other training techniques, has limitations.

The two main ones are first, that you are dependent on being able to provide a more rewarding environment than anything else available. This is usually pretty easy, but clicker-trained habits are not going to trump primal drives. Many people get into big trouble not having a back-up strategy for when those kick in. That's why dog training in areas that harness primal drives like hunting and herding don't use clicker. For horses probably the biggest primal drive you will normally encounter is panic and fear. Clicker is not going to help you control a horse who is afraid. For example.

The other issue is, in pure clicker theory, the animal must GUESS the right answer before rewarded. This gets the animal mentally engaged and highly motivated to "offer behaviors" in hopes the one of them will pay off. Then they are very apt to offer it again. The down side of this is that if they can't guess it, they'll get frustrated and give up, just like a person would. Many purist Positive-Only trainers fail because they refuse to help if it means being "negative". In the real world, learning is full of both reward and unpleasantness. It's like a game of "hotter colder" where there's no colder. Twice as hard!

But clicker is really fun for horses. Go for it!


'
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post #8 of 26 Old 10-03-2019, 09:21 PM
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I'm only part way into Shawna's book but she seems to stress setting the horse up for success by using the target to help him select the correct guess, either on purpose or accidentally. Then reward, repeat.


She also has a calming procedure that seems to work. Not sure how effective it would be if a bear jumped out. But I'm just impressed with the entire associated concepts. Particularly that the seeking part of the brain is engaged during positive reinforcement and that no matter how gentle the pressure release is, the same part of the brain is engaged that is used during fight/flight/fear. According to brain scans. That to me is reason enough to use all the positive training possible.
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post #9 of 26 Old 10-04-2019, 04:27 AM
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I love 'clicker training' principles, find them invaluable to good training. I don't personally use a clicker or other separate noisemaker - 'Good!!' is my 'bridging signal'. But I have found that when teaching new people, using a clicker seems to get the timing etc through to people better, so if you're just new to it, I would suggest you use one, for a while at least.

Agree with Avna on the 'limitations', and there are other limitations to pure positive reinforcement only training, and while I use predominantly +R, I do also use pressure/release(-R) & even occasionally punishment. You don't have to be a 'purist' for it to be extremely effective & helpful.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hondo View Post
I recently purchased a book by Shawna karrasch 'You Can Train Your Horse To Do Anything'. She trained killer whales, sea otters, dolphins, etc at Sea World for ten years before switching to horses. Her training methods are unique and based on positive reinforcement coupled with the clicker as a bridge signal. Her method or system is called 'Target Training'.
I've heard of her but not looked into her particularly(studied behavioural psych 25 years ago & got into 'clicker training' then). Did she work with Karen Prior at all? She is considered the founder of 'c/t' for dogs & horses, after learning/using it on sea mammals. Curious what is unique about this Shawna's methods?
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post #10 of 26 Old 10-04-2019, 09:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by loosie View Post



I've heard of her but Did she work with Karen Prior at all? Curious what is unique about this Shawna's methods?

I'm sure Shawna is familiar with most major clicker trainer and others but she did not learn from them. She worked at Sea World and a trainer for 10 years and learned from trainers there.


Sea ottors, dolphins, and particularly killer whales can only be be trained with +R, as pressure release is out of the question. They use a target to begin the movements and then shape backflips and bows a tiny bit at a time with clickers until it is absolutely fabulous.


All the trainers were awarded tickets to attend a show of equestrian jumping event. She fell in love. Then wound up with an Olympic jumper and started Target Training.


I just discovered her recently but she's been around in the horse world for a while. Her method is very unique as she applies the methods used in training marine mammals.


In her book are examples where she will use very minimal pressure/release but only under certain conditions.


Quote: "Animals such as dolphins, sea lions and orcas cannot be coerced. Only positive reinforcement methods can be used to ask these magnificent creatures to participate voluntarily in activities with human trainers. (You may be able to force a horse onto a trailer, but just try it with a walrus!)"End Quote



Here's a little info on her: https://www.terranovatrainingcenter.com/our-trainers/



Here's her website. https://on-target-training.com/


Buy her book, you'll be impressed.
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