Food/Treat Aggression/Pushiness - Page 5 - The Horse Forum
 180Likes
Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools
post #41 of 85 Old 04-19-2019, 07:50 PM
Trained
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: Australia
Posts: 7,013
• Horses: 3
Quote:
Originally Posted by bsms View Post
...I think the big thing is that we don't focus on being the boss. We won't be bossed by the horse, but we also don't micromanage their behavior. We aren't competing with them. Even in riding, we often are mostly hanging out with them while on their backs - horse hiking, I call it. Hiking together. Horses also understand the difference between someone who strolls and someone who marches......and they stroll with strollers.
Yes yes yes! When you focus on "being the boss" that's, first of all, taking a competition rather than a cooperation point of view, when social animals are very cooperative with animals and people they like and respect. I've seen many instances where submissive horses shut down their opinions completely around people focused on being the boss, and spirited, clever horses engage in the fight with such people. This is not how to get the best out of a horse. To get the best out of a horse, or person, you need dialogue, not monologue. I'm not inclined to talk to bullies either - it's an unpleasant business. I only truly engage with people I like and respect. And horses, donkeys etc are much the same. Our people at the Donkey Society are always talking about this. They say, "A donkey would never put up with half the training rubbish and attitudes dished out by a lot of horse people!"

People are commonly saying, "Training a donkey is so different to training a horse!" For me it wasn't in the slightest - the approach I use with horses is perfectly acceptable to donkeys. And dogs. And humans. Once, in a conversation with a high school principal, about a particular class of rumbunctious middle schoolers I was taking, and taming (I really don't like bad manners and inconsiderate behaviour), I remarked, in the middle of a pleasant conversation, "It's just like training horses, really!" and she was soooo shocked at me! " Sue, children aren't animals!"

I don't ever focus on being the boss - or being in control - and I don't micromanage everything. (And yet I'm the leader, but it's not a big thing to me and I don't think I'm above my charges.) I focus on creating a constructive environment, being warm, and not putting up with any rubbish. But you can enforce boundaries in very subtle ways, if you get in early and don't let misbehaviour escalate. There is so much body language in a horse, most of the time, before it bites or whatever. You can be proactive, and not reactive. A lot of people are really reactive, and go ape when the horse has already bolted, so to speak. There's so much prevention if you keep your eyes open and really look at body language, and understand how certain situations tend to go.

And like @tinyliny pointed out in her "do do - not don't don't" thread recently, it's much more constructive to ask for positive actions, rather than jump up and down about negative actions. "Walk on!" rather than "Don't stop!"... "Be nice!" rather than "Don't be horrible!"... "Do XYZ!" rather than "Stop doing ABC!" If you have the "Stop! Don't you dare!" mentality, it becomes a power struggle. If you ask for positive actions, and encourage and reinforce those, while discouraging negative actions, that's so much more constructive, and not overtly about power. Maybe good leadership is also like a butterfly. It alights on you while you're doing other things - you don't get it by focusing on it and chasing it. Because in true leadership, you don't care about your status, you care about the good of the group, about the positive development of relationships, about mutual respect, over and above "being respected". You can impose being feared - but you have to earn respect, by being warm, caring, fair, competent, and not taking nonsense, nor tolerating it between group members. I'd say to classes, "I'm not above anyone in this room. We're all human beings. And if you wouldn't say it to me, or do it to me, then don't do it to anyone else in this room either, because I'm going to take exactly the same view of that, and the consequences will be the same. It's not OK to be disrespectful and rude to other people, full stop." But then I'd get on with the positive role modelling and positive activities, and the discouragement of negative stuff is not the main focus - it gets dealt with as you go along. You basically make it so the least possible amount of focus and energy goes on the negative, and you nurture and encourage the positive.

As the best pastoral care policy I ever read put it, "Immediate and consistent consequences for negative behaviours, but 95%+ of time and energy going to the positive. Showing what you want primarily by modelling it, by being that way. Genuinely respecting your students, and caring for them."
loosie, bsms, Knave and 1 others like this.

SueC is time travelling.
SueC is offline  
post #42 of 85 Old 04-19-2019, 08:23 PM
Super Moderator
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Australia
Posts: 19,468
• Horses: 0
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cedar & Salty View Post
I kind of came to the conclusion that I want my horses to look forward to being with ME, not getting a treat. My ranch horses taught me a thing or two about horses with a work ethic -- when they are haltered, tied, being groomed and tacked, ridden, or waiting to be ridden, they are doing a job. They enjoy their jobs and take it seriously. They don't really need constant distractions and food bribes or rewards.
Yep, constant treats, expected all the time, can cause you to be seen as a bit of a 'vending machine', and if your horses don't enjoy being with you regardless of food treats, then I'd say there is something missing in your relationship.

So saying, while I *generally* only give treats when teaching/reinforcing newer or extra Good behaviours, I do find that it helps get off to a good start with new horses, to create an association between myself and Good Stuff, esp if they may be too nervous/shut down/just don't like being scratched or groomed or such. I've had horses to whom it was a punishment, being touched in any way, that I've taught to accept & then enjoy grooming by associating it with treats. Then I was able to use scratchies or an ear rub or such as reward.

*Of course, food treats aren't the only reward you can give, and a horse may well prefer - or be distracted by, rude about - a 'vending machine' of scratchies rather than food. While food is a common, practical, strong positive reinforcement for horses generally, as is almost always the case when discussing positive reinforcement, people tend to get hung up on food as THE thing.

As for 'ranch horses' or otherwise horses who aren't ever given rewards, be that food treats or otherwise, that are trained solely with negative reinforcement/punishment to 'just do it'... They may well learn to like their job too, but it's just training & often an 'obedient' horse trained like that is rather 'shut down' to any choices he may have. I don't think of this as 'work ethic' - that is a human concept, needing human capacity for conscience & concept of feeling responsibility for doing stuff despite not wanting to. And even with our social conditioning for stuff we 'should' do, how much genuine 'work ethic' would you have, if you were never rewarded for your efforts?? But if I had to lable a horsey attitude 'work ethic' it would be that the horse enjoyed their 'work' and strove to do it as well as possible, to think for themselves, not just dumbly follow 'orders'.

Quote:
We did offer treats at the beginning, but they really did prove to be distracting, and all four of ours get tempted to be pushy, snuffly and unfocused if they think they are getting treats.
Yep, that is why I think they're best used as part of conscious training, and that part of that is, horses need to be trained also, what treats/whatever rewards are about - eg. they are to reward focus, as well as good manners.

Quote:
I don't really see the benefit of setting them up to expect and demand food, just to correct them and put them in their place. What's the point of that?
It is not about expecting & certainly not about demanding food - again, that's not the fault of the 'tool' - food, but of WHAT the person is rewarding with it.

You could say 'whats the point of training ANYTHING just to 'correct' them, and if you're not using any positive reinforcement, then you must be using all negative reinforcement/punishment. Which means all you are doing is teaching Right by 'correcting' Wrong. It is about the very common mindset of focussing on 'correcting' - punishing Wrong Stuff. Whereas one great advantage I see with +R training is, it gets people focussing on rewarding Right Stuff - and horses focussing on doing Right Stuff in order to be more likely to earn Good Stuff. It's about setting the horse up for success, not failure. Eg. you don't just offer a horse a treat & punch it in the nose when it goes to take it grabbily. You teach the horse to keep it's nose to itself & be 'polite' and reward it for that. You don't just wait for the horse to run over you, mug you & then correct it, but you teach it to stop at a 'respectful' distance from you and reward that. You may be ready to punish/correct at any given time, but your focus is teaching/reinforcing Right.
bsms, SueC and Equilibrium like this.

Some info I've found helpful; [COLOR=Lime][B]www.horseforum.com/horse-health/hoof-lameness-info-horse-owners-89836/
For taking critique pics; [COLOR=Lime][B]https://www.horseforum.com/members/41...res-128437.jpg
loosie is offline  
post #43 of 85 Old 04-19-2019, 08:27 PM
Trained
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: Australia
Posts: 7,013
• Horses: 3
I'll give you a clip now, of my horse and me interacting after a ride. A lot of people focused on being the boss would go, " he's moving around, he's pinning his ears, he's biting the air, how horribly disrespectful, you must correct him." I disagree. Here's what I care about: That I'm safe, and that the job gets done. And I don't mind him expressing his opinions, or his feelings, about the matter. (He really hates water, and he's really ticklish.) But I do the job that needs doing. When he moves, I simply maintain my relative position to him, so moving doesn't confer any advantage to him, or stop me doing whatever I'm doing. He moves because he's tense about the washing part and in the same way that I have a physical and emotional reaction when I jump into a cold lake or ocean. I'm not going to insist he doesn't have that reaction, or that he has to stand stock still and pretend he likes it. But he's not stopping me from doing my job. I empathise, because I too hate cold water - so I'm humorous about it, and try to distract him with being playful. I understand that being bathed is really unpleasant to him, but it's necessary for me to do it. I'm OK with hearing his displeasure about it. And he's not actually biting me, or trying to (and it wasn't always like this - when I adopted him, he was a serious biter). And, the number of times he's actually bitten me, in the 22 years since I've known him, is zero. When I first adopted him post harness racing, it wasn't for his lack of trying! And this is how I fixed it - with creativity, not with aggression: https://www.horseforum.com/horse-tra...post1970522651


He's a really excellent riding horse - we have a lot of fun together. He's playful, I'm playful, we both love to explore. He's one of the few horses I've ridden who doesn't give a fig if a herd of other horses is galloping past him - he does his own thing. And when we were on a group ride ten years ago, when I was saddle educating him, and someone broke their collar bone two hours out in a fall and there was no mobile reception to call an ambulance, it was Sunsmart and me who, by group consensus, got the job to ride back solo and fast to the place where we had started, to get to a landline and call an ambulance. He was completely reliable to do it, it only took him half an hour to get back, and he wasn't pooped afterwards. This is the sort of horse I love - a thinking horse, great fun, and you can do anything with him. (Sometimes, after having a little chat about how and why! )

loosie, bsms, Knave and 1 others like this.

SueC is time travelling.
SueC is offline  
post #44 of 85 Old 04-19-2019, 09:04 PM
Trained
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: Australia
Posts: 7,013
• Horses: 3
Quote:
Originally Posted by loosie View Post
You could say 'whats the point of training ANYTHING just to 'correct' them, and if you're not using any positive reinforcement, then you must be using all negative reinforcement/punishment. Which means all you are doing is teaching Right by 'correcting' Wrong. It is about the very common mindset of focussing on 'correcting' - punishing Wrong Stuff. Whereas one great advantage I see with +R training is, it gets people focussing on rewarding Right Stuff - and horses focussing on doing Right Stuff in order to be more likely to earn Good Stuff. It's about setting the horse up for success, not failure. Eg. you don't just offer a horse a treat & punch it in the nose when it goes to take it grabbily. You teach the horse to keep it's nose to itself & be 'polite' and reward it for that. You don't just wait for the horse to run over you, mug you & then correct it, but you teach it to stop at a 'respectful' distance from you and reward that. You may be ready to punish/correct at any given time, but your focus is teaching/reinforcing Right.
I just thought that needed repeating.
loosie likes this.

SueC is time travelling.
SueC is offline  
post #45 of 85 Old 04-19-2019, 09:24 PM
Super Moderator
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Australia
Posts: 19,468
• Horses: 0
Quote:
Originally Posted by Equilibrium View Post
So, food aggression/pushiness should be corrected (when the food is already down and the horse is eating, but you want to go over there an mess with the horse, instead of leaving the horse to eat in peace), but choose to simply not give the horse treats (instead of trying to fix the aggression/pushiness).
I'm not quite sure I get what you mean here, but I do think that there is good reason to 'mess with' a horse while they're eating, because 'what if' something happens & you need to - just like what if you need to go grab your dog away from some food, but you haven't taught them that it's OK & that it's Wrong to aggress at you when you do so. Regardless of the fact that it is *generally* not necessary to 'mess with', I think it's important that you establish the rules that they accept you doing so.

Quote:
I still don't understand why people are so adamant about correcting food aggression/pushiness, but not treat aggression - as in simply not dealing with it by simply not feeding treats.
I don't get what you mean. Do you mean that people just don't give food treats, rather than teaching the horse good manners with treats? I think this has been explained. I think it's that it's their prerogative, to avoid rather than 'treat' it, but this is usually based on misunderstanding - people blame the food for the behaviour.

Quote:
Isn't it kind of a safety thing to teach a horse how to be respectful around treat time, even if you aren't going to feed treats a lot/regularly?
Yes, IMO.

Quote:
I do not, nor do I condone, feeding random horses treats without their owner's permission, but in the case above, wouldn't it still have been safer to teach the horse to accept treats respectfully?
But every time you are interacting with a horse, they're learning. And if you can't 'train' the 70yo man, or the other people giving treats, you still can't rely on the horse to be 'polite' with other people. For eg. I've always been a stickler for manners, more so since I had kids 15 years ago. I am consistent about it & my horses have learned to be reliably polite & gentle with us. 2 of them had been with me many years before I agisted them on a property with other horses, one owned by a 70yo man who couldn't be told(is there something in that specific?? ), who despite my requests, would go into the paddock with a big bag of carrots & let all the horses 'mug' him & just dish them out regardless of behaviour. These 2 horses(& the other horses in the paddock) were still 'well behaved' with me, but they learned to be rude with him, because it worked, and as a result, learned it's worth a try with other people. I recently leased out a kid's pony & he's come back to me a fair bit ruder than when he left...

Quote:
Some horse (and I speak from experience) get a little aggressive/pushy after their first treat looking for a second
Of course they do. It's worth a try! You've just got to teach them that kind of 'try' doesn't work. It's the Incorrect Answer.
SueC and Equilibrium like this.

Some info I've found helpful; [COLOR=Lime][B]www.horseforum.com/horse-health/hoof-lameness-info-horse-owners-89836/
For taking critique pics; [COLOR=Lime][B]https://www.horseforum.com/members/41...res-128437.jpg
loosie is offline  
post #46 of 85 Old 04-19-2019, 09:32 PM Thread Starter
Foal
 
Join Date: Apr 2019
Posts: 77
• Horses: 0
Quote:
Originally Posted by loosie View Post
Do you mean that people just don't give food treats, rather than teaching the horse good manners with treats? I think this has been explained. I think it's that it's their prerogative, to avoid rather than 'treat' it, but this is usually based on misunderstanding - people blame the food for the behaviour.
Perfect.
Thanks.

-

I don't condone aggression/pushiness at feedings or treat time. I do like for my horse to be "respectful" before, during, and after feedings/treatings, but I'm not one to religiously "show the horse whose boss" either.

I was, again, just wondering how contradictory and hypocritical is sounds to fix food aggression/pushiness through correction, but take the "easy way out" in treat aggression/pushiness by simply not feeding treats - ever.
loosie and SueC like this.
Equilibrium is offline  
post #47 of 85 Old 04-19-2019, 09:50 PM
Super Moderator
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Australia
Posts: 19,468
• Horses: 0
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cedar & Salty View Post
If I fill my pockets up with treats that they can smell, and dole them out at random intervals, they are distracted, hoping they will get a treat, and are not focused on their jobs. So why fill up my pockets with treats? Why try to fix something that isn't broken?

It's like sitting four little kids around a table with a heaping platter of cookies in the center, then serving them a big old plate of broccoli. Even if they normally like broccoli, they are going to want to eat cookies more. Why put the cookies on the table in the first place, when you know it's going to start a battle?
I think that's a great analogy... as a good reason TO have treats in your pocket, TO leave cookies in sight of kids. Why do this? Because, again, you can't teach a horse to mind their manners when there's food involved(what if you had an apple in your pocket for yourself, for one...) if you don't have food involved. You can't teach kids self control, that they can't just have whatever they please just because it's there, if you don't ever allow that situation.

As an argument against doing this, I feel your egs are just like saying 'you shouldn't take kids into shops, because it's unfair to not buy them every attractive thing they see on the shelves.'
SueC likes this.

Some info I've found helpful; [COLOR=Lime][B]www.horseforum.com/horse-health/hoof-lameness-info-horse-owners-89836/
For taking critique pics; [COLOR=Lime][B]https://www.horseforum.com/members/41...res-128437.jpg
loosie is offline  
post #48 of 85 Old 04-19-2019, 10:02 PM
Trained
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: Australia
Posts: 7,013
• Horses: 3
Here's an education concept I'm appending to that horse clip: Tactical ignoring. It's the idea that you don't have to micromanage every single thing, you just manage the things that allow you to work smoothly, whether in a classroom or with a horse. It's not making a fight out of something that you can work around with no skin off your nose, something that's not particularly bothersome. The horse's moving around and expressing his displeasure in the washing part of the interaction isn't something that fazes me - but clearly, there's a difference between that and if the horse were actually trying to bite, kick etc, which he's not (but which he used to do, at first, and I dealt with that). For this horse, what he's doing isn't a preliminary to "I'm going to escalate if you don't stop XYZ" - I've already dealt with the escalated behaviour historically, which is what he came to me with. He's simply left with an expression of displeasure which I don't mind hearing, and which I empathise with. Sort of like kids getting vaccinated - he's that much of a hydrophobe, and been one since he was a foal - puddles etc. And yet we've learnt to get our feet wet, cross creeks etc, out on the trail.

Dealing with horses is a very individual thing, and this is one of those horses on whom aggression from a human would do nothing but set up a fight for dominance. This one can't be cowed, you'd have to kill him first - and people had tried that with him, unsuccessfully. He'd have died rather than give in, and in that, he's very much like me, actually. So with him, establishing two-way communication was really important, and listening and considering him, and remaining relaxed and unfazed, and using humour and play, and showing that you did want to respect his boundaries, not just expect him to respect your boundaries and do your bidding. It had to be a two-way street with him, and yet, with any horse, even ones that can be easily cowed with dominance displays, the two-way street gets you so much further - the partnership is so much more fruitful than a boss-underling or even an employer-employee relationship could be. On this matter, I think very much like @knightrider , @bsms , @gottatrot , @Knave , and all of them have really impressed me with what they've done with their horses, in their various circumstances. Those people are real horsepeople, to me. Sometimes, I have trouble distinguishing them from horses. Horses are hairier than they are, I suppose. And they eat hay...
loosie, bsms, knightrider and 1 others like this.

SueC is time travelling.
SueC is offline  
post #49 of 85 Old 04-19-2019, 10:09 PM
Super Moderator
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Australia
Posts: 19,468
• Horses: 0
Quote:
Originally Posted by Equilibrium View Post
I never said to carry around a fanny pack full of treats and tempt the horse....
I actually DO very often have treats in my bumbag - for horses, dogs, me... and very often they don't get ANY in the regular course of riding - tho lately with a puppy in training, it's more often than not that the dog treats get doled out... Just because I'm carrying them, doesn't mean they should expect/demand them. I also don't like/allow my dogs staring & 'begging' food while I eat either.
bsms and SueC like this.

Some info I've found helpful; [COLOR=Lime][B]www.horseforum.com/horse-health/hoof-lameness-info-horse-owners-89836/
For taking critique pics; [COLOR=Lime][B]https://www.horseforum.com/members/41...res-128437.jpg
loosie is offline  
post #50 of 85 Old 04-19-2019, 10:23 PM
Started
 
Join Date: Dec 2015
Posts: 2,377
• Horses: 0
I didnít read all of the responses, but @SueC called me back to reading the last couple again. :)

I just didnít have much to say on it. I give some horses treats often, and some I rarely give treats to. It depends on the horse for me. I donít have anything to do with food aggression because we throw hay over the fence into the feeder.

I do catch horses while they are eating sometimes, and give them oats, but Iíve never had one mind when I caught them. Cash paws before he gets his oats, but I ignore it. I donít really care because heís not bothering me, even if heís being dramatic.

I donít give him treats often, although Iíll give him an apple core at lunch. Heís the type that it probably would become an issue with, closer to that aggressive mentality, so I donít see a reason to create an issue. So, in response to the question ďwhy not deal with the aggression rather than not feed treats?Ē I just figure heís learning enough right now about respect and training that I donít want another issue to deal with until heís a bit more gentle. When I figure he wonít have an issue Iíll probably give him treats more than just the lunchtime apple core. Why set him up for failure?

Bones though, for example, I gave treats right off the start, but he doesnít have any aggressive tendency towards people. Most donít.

As far as the responses I read regarding other things, I am with @SueC that it is more of a relationship. I was, not offended, but something milder than that about @loosie saying ranch horses have no positive reward. All Bones can process is positive because heís overly emotional, and all my other horses receive just as much reward as anyone elseís. So do 99% of the ranch horses I know. We work hand in hand with horses, and if we are out there without a true love of that we wouldnít be there.
bsms, SueC and Cedar & Salty like this.

Am I not your own donkey, which you have always ridden, to this day? Have I been in the habit of doing this to you? - Balaamís Donkey
Knave is online now  
Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now



In order to be able to post messages on the The Horse Forum forums, you must first register.

Already have a Horse Forum account?
Members are allowed only one account per person at the Horse Forum, so if you've made an account here in the past you'll need to continue using that account. Please do not create a new account or you may lose access to the Horse Forum. If you need help recovering your existing account, please Contact Us. We'll be glad to help!

New to the Horse Forum?
Please choose a username you will be satisfied with using for the duration of your membership at the Horse Forum. We do not change members' usernames upon request because that would make it difficult for everyone to keep track of who is who on the forum. For that reason, please do not incorporate your horse's name into your username so that you are not stuck with a username related to a horse you may no longer have some day, or use any other username you may no longer identify with or care for in the future.



User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.

Password:


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:
OR

Log-in









Old Thread Warning
This thread is more than 90 days old. When a thread is this old, it is often better to start a new thread rather than post to it. However, If you feel you have something of value to add to this particular thread, you can do so by checking the box below before submitting your post.

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page



Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Home made horse treat tips for a safe, tasty treat. cheyennemymare Horse Nutrition 6 12-07-2014 02:37 AM
Yearling- Pateince and pushiness TurnNBurn77 Horse Training 19 08-21-2014 08:04 AM
Food Aggression or Aggression towards each other ? Calming Melody Horse Training 7 01-06-2013 11:13 PM
Pushiness will not be tolerated! any tips or advice? Tayz Horse Training 22 09-19-2011 02:27 PM
kicking and food aggression lilkitty90 Horse Training 18 02-02-2010 10:09 AM

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

 
For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome