Giving Treats: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly - Page 12 - The Horse Forum
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post #111 of 134 Old 04-21-2015, 09:33 PM
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I want to 'like' your posts again Steve.

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Originally Posted by george the mule View Post
Furthermore, I doubt that the majority of forum members fall into the professional trainer category; a pro already has his/her tool set pretty well defined, and probably will not be online looking for generalized answers.
Agreed, generally. But what you learn after you know it all is also valuable! I've had a few decades training horses now, nearly 2 in hoofcare, and I come here to learn too. Just because I know what I know, and know it works, doesn't mean to say there aren't many different valuable experiences, studies, practices to learn from. Even from the 'majority' of 'normal' forum members. Dare I say it, even from 'newbies' with little experience.... even 'no nothings' who have discovered horses later in life!

Quote:
If someone wants a "stock" answer, they can get it from Linda, Pat, or Clint. Or from Smilie should she choose to contribute. But let's not discourage the alternate points of view.
Yep, and 'stock' is different the world over anyway, different places, cultures, times... I suspect for eg. Smilie wouldn't consider any of that mob you mentioned 'stock'

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My exalted opinion, and worth every penny you paid for it Steve
Hehe!
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post #112 of 134 Old 04-21-2015, 09:35 PM Thread Starter
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Mulefeather explained well it's not the trick you ask for or the reinforcement that's given, but that it also needs to be learned that it should not be done in absence of a cue.

Why people get addicted to poker machines & not vending machines
Great example on the poker machines. And yes, I have embedded that pieces of Mulefeather's explanation into my gray matter. That may in fact be the most valuable tidbit I have gotten from this thread.
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post #113 of 134 Old 04-21-2015, 09:43 PM Thread Starter
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But what you learn after you know it all is also valuable
Hehe!
Not sure this exactly fits here, but it reminded me of one of my favorite quotes, if not my favorite quote, "Education is what remains after you have forgotten every thing you learned".

By none other than AE. Not from the internet. I have the book.

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post #114 of 134 Old 04-21-2015, 11:07 PM
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^It is absolutely one of my personal topics that fit actually. I'd owned & trained horses(not yet for others) for years, solely with negative reinforcement, having been told by those I assumed right that positive reinforcement didn't work on horses. Through dog training and the internet, I learned about 'clicker training' and got interested enough to then study behavioural psych. Been making the most of those principles with any animal since.
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post #115 of 134 Old 04-22-2015, 12:20 AM
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Hi loosie!

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Originally Posted by loosie View Post
Agreed, generally. But what you learn after you know it all is also valuable! I've had a few decades training horses now, nearly 2 in hoofcare, and I come here to learn too. Just because I know what I know, and know it works, doesn't mean to say there aren't many different valuable experiences, studies, practices to learn from. Even from the 'majority' of 'normal' forum members. Dare I say it, even from 'newbies' with little experience.... even 'no nothings' who have discovered horses later in life!
There is an old Bob Dylan song; what was it called . . . My Back Pages? No matter, the chorus goes "Ah, but I was so much older then; I'm younger than that now." :-D

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Originally Posted by loosie View Post
Yep, and 'stock' is different the world over anyway, different places, cultures, times... I suspect for eg. Smilie wouldn't consider any of that mob you mentioned 'stock'
No, probably not.

But then my boy Oily is a retired Dressage horse. A friend (who speaks Dressage well) rides him now and then, and I've never heard any complaints from her about the way he goes. He's bilingual I guess :-)

ByeBye! Steve
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post #116 of 134 Old 04-22-2015, 11:36 PM Thread Starter
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This thread is about done I think, but one thing has been lingering around in the back of my mind that I have not seen mentioned about punishment, although a little off topic perhaps.

In human terms, there often seem to be, or so I am to think, a certain amount of resentment often associated with punishment. Even when it is so called deserved. The perception seems to often be, "You were mean to me on purpose and I resent you for that. Today and tomorrow." Don't know if horses do that but from my reading it sure seems that mules do.

So I just dunno. I am seriously wrestling with this notion of punishment. I mean, do I punish a good friend? A lover? I mean, it seems that when it is discovered that rote behavior modification protocols are being applied there can be substantial blowback. (couldn't think of another term)

Heart to heart may seem or sound sort of melancholy and silly but really, I think it may be important. Sure people know, but if horses really do know us better than we know ourselves, then they may be able to read heart to heart better than we suspect. Body language, facial expressions, the way we are walking. I really think they know more than we think.

I admit, I have done acts that would qualify for punishment of Hondo, and I cringe and repent for every second of it. I'm getting better.

So, is there any reason for your horse to resent you for anything you have done?

Just something to think about..............
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post #117 of 134 Old 04-23-2015, 06:53 AM
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There's punishment & there's punishment I reckon. As mentioned I think punishment often comes with a lot of hassles - other associations get in the way. For many reasons I avoid punishment in training as a rule. Not afraid to use it tho, when I see fit, but that is seldom & I generally think there are far better ways, with less 'side effects', including the 'resentment' you mention. I also think punishment is usually not all that effective unless in conjunction with reinforcement.

I think it depends how & when it's done - setting the horse up to punish himself *as* he does a behaviour is better understood and less likely to lead to 'resentment'. I think the *motivation* behind the behaviour is also vital to consider too, as who's to say your punishment isn't seen as a dominance game, if that's what's on his mind, or that what you punish him for may have been in fear or self defense... then I don't think punishment is helpful or warranted, and resentment, fear & mistrust can easily come out of it.

Also 'punishment' tends to come with a lot of mental baggage for us, the iron glove & all. Leaving behind ideas of showing anger, 'deserving punishment' for 'naughty' behaviour... but strictly speaking, it is any undesirable consequence to an action. If we think of punishment strictly behaviourist fashion, applying as little as possible but as much as necessary, ensuring there is complete release when the animal ceases the 'wrong' behaviour, I think it can be used fairly and effectively. And yes, I do punish my kids too. Seldomly, but I do do it. I reckon as humans, they cope OK with a fair bit more than a '3 second rule' by the way too
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post #118 of 134 Old 04-23-2015, 09:19 AM
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Hi Harold!

Punishment. Another one of those "human" words, and one I'm not sure has an equivalent in "Equus". About the nearest thing I have come across is a description of how the alpha mare will segregate an unruly brat/foal from The Herd until he learns some manners. The Butt, applied over an extended time :-) Most everything else falls under the broad heading of language; ears are pinned, a well timed nip is applied, the offending individual moves, often with a parting "screw-you" mock kick, and it's over.

Punishment implies accountability. Accountability implies a level of sentience I'm not sure can be granted to most equine, dogs, cats, and at least some humans. I tried to corner a friend who attempts to teach Equus and equine-human relationship into a discussion of equine accountability, but she was unusually noncommital :-) Might be a great topic for another thread.

I have certainly had plenty of opportunities to "pin my ears" at George, and we've had some pretty good arguments, some of which I have even won. I do not think he harbors resentment, but he doesn't forget, either, and the next time a similar situation arises, he is more than willing to pick up right where we left off. I guess I see this with my horse as well, but he is generally way more compliant than MuleBoy, and lets me have my way rather than argue for the most part.

Just saw Loosies post pop up. This does deserve another thread. How 'bout we start by defining Punishment? I'll crosspost this over into horse training. Steve
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post #119 of 134 Old 04-23-2015, 09:52 AM Thread Starter
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Horse Accountability. Are horses accountable? Ever, when? Yes, that is a great topic and one that I will be ruminating about.

Yet another topic is herd dynamics. I am beginning to consider the boss mare in my herd more the group bully than anything else. Like the town bully in an old western mining town. I'm drifting toward the idea that the perks of herd boss are available to the one most willing to be aggressive enough get them while others just don't think it's worth the effort even though they would take the perks otherwise.
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post #120 of 134 Old 04-23-2015, 11:20 AM
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I think feeding treats is great, so long as the horse us respectful. I would rather have a horse who gets treats and knows how to behave with them than a horse who doesn't know and doesn't get treats.


If a horse is extremely pushy, I will work through some issues before before introducing treats for training.
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