Clinton Anderson Backing Up Method 1 - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 15 Old 11-14-2016, 07:19 PM
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Originally Posted by XeniaSprings View Post
I am a safe distance away from her. But I'm still close enough that I have control. Tapping the air is the cue. Tao the air if the horse doesn't respond increase the pressure tap the rope, If the horse still doesn't respond then whack the rope, still no response then whack the clip, no response than whack the nose.
She knows what is wanted she just doesn't want to do it. Tapping the air isn't a meaningless cue. At least not to me because safety is very important to me. It teaches the horse to get out of your space safely. Without making you get closer to the horse.
Any cue is meaningless until the horse understands what it means. The horse will never learn that tapping the air means back up until that cue is associated in the horse's mind with the behavior of backing up.

Having a progression of cues does not mean the horse will relate them to the desired behavior. If the only cue that is reinforced is "whack the nose," the horse will believe she must back up with "whack the nose" and not necessarily relate the other cues.

If you want the horse to understand that tap the air means to back up, then you should tap the air, then go to the horse and back her up using the halter. If you do this a few times in a row, the horse will start to understand that this cue is associated with the action. Otherwise she thinks the cue is "whack the nose" since that is the one apparently being reinforced.

What you are being taught is to give "pre cues" in reverse, and is a very difficult way to do it. A better way to teach pre cues is to teach a simple cue that makes the horse do what you want such as pulling back under the halter or pressing on the horse's chest. Once the horse does this reliably, teach a pre cue such as lifting your hand to one side before pulling the halter until the horse will back with just the hand cue. Then begin to put distance between you and the horse.

Otherwise it is like you're trying to first teach your dog to lie down from far away without teaching him to lie down up close. Then you're smacking him with things if he doesn't get it. That's a very backwards approach.

Is your horse so dangerous you must keep a large space between you? Then I'd work on having the horse accept you in her space safely before trying to teach her to back up. Once it is safe for you to be close to her, you can easily teach her to back up closely, and then add distance. A much simpler way and easily understood by the horse.
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post #12 of 15 Old 11-14-2016, 11:12 PM
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Originally Posted by XeniaSprings View Post
Tapping the air is the cue. Tao the air if the horse doesn't respond increase the pressure tap the rope, If the horse still doesn't respond then whack the rope, still no response then whack the clip, no response than whack the nose.
She knows what is wanted she just doesn't want to do it. Tapping the air isn't a meaningless cue. At least not to me because safety is very important to me. It teaches the horse to get out of your space safely. Without making you get closer to the horse.
If you know she truly knows what is wanted, she must have done it reliably for you in the past, for those cues, and has stopped doing so now, without you changing anything? If that is the case, then I'd strongly suspect something is physically wrong, that it hurts her somehow to back up. Or else you're not reinforcing her for doing as asked, so it's not working for her, she's getting 'untrained' about it.

'Meaningless' was referring to *her* not you(you wouldn't do it if it was meaningless to you ), assuming she hasn't learned well what it means. Many/most 'cues' that we use are innately meaningless, and we teach the horse by associating it with something meaningful - being reinforced/rewarded for doing a behaviour *at the time of* that 'cue'. Why I suggested to get more direct(to start with - agree it's a good *goal* to teach her to do it at a distance), clearer, is that the 'stronger' cues of tapping the line etc may also be meaningless to her, and when you put pressure on a horse that they don't understand how to get out of/switch off, they naturally resist it. And the stronger you get, the more resistant/reactive they get.

At any rate, I find if something isn't working, it's time to change your approach, not just get 'louder' or persist with the same thing. Think of it like communicating with a person that doesn't speak your language. No point in shouting, or continuing saying the same words over & over, but if you used some obvious gesture while you said that word, then the person will learn easily.
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post #13 of 15 Old 11-14-2016, 11:42 PM
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Originally Posted by XeniaSprings View Post
She knows what is wanted she just doesn't want to do it. Tapping the air isn't a meaningless cue. At least not to me because safety is very important to me. It teaches the horse to get out of your space safely. Without making you get closer to the horse.
Oh, right. I got the idea from your post that you were just teaching this horse, not that she was already trained, knew what you wanted. If she truly knows what you're asking(so she used to do it reliably & now has stopped), then I'd strongly suspect she 'doesn't want to' due to a physical problem - something about backing up is causing her discomfort. Or perhaps she 'knew' this cue with someone else, and you're doing it a little differently, or not reinforcing/rewarding her for 'right' answers, so it's not working for her - she doesn't quite know it with you.

Assuming she isn't already well trained(& if she was but is learning it doesn't work for her any more with you), the cue being meaningless was about *her*, not you(I imagine you wouldn't be doing it if it was meaningless to you! ). Many/most 'cues' we teach a horse are innately meaningless & we teach them by associating them with a behaviour they are reinforced/rewarded for. That is why I suggested teaching it up close first(& you say she 'doesn't want to' like that either), so you can be clearer, more direct, to get the response. If she doesn't understand, and you just get stronger(tapping the rope, her nose...) that will be equally as meaningless, and it is natural for a horse to get resistant/reactive about pressure they don't understand.

Think of it like communicating with a person who doesn't speak your language; they're not likely to learn better just because you shout louder or keep repeating yourself, but if you use an obvious gesture or guide them to do whatever, at the same time as you say the words, they will learn easily what they mean. IOW, if something's not working, change your approach, rather than just getting 'stronger' or repeating the same thing more.
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post #14 of 15 Old 11-15-2016, 08:32 AM
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post #15 of 15 Old 11-15-2016, 08:40 PM
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Pardon the repeats, I couldn't even see the second page... so couldn't see also that gotta basically said what I meant too.
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