Giving Treats: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly - Page 14 - The Horse Forum
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post #131 of 134 Old 04-27-2015, 02:51 PM
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Originally Posted by loosie View Post
....there are just too many other stupid things he's said to pick just one??
LOL. I don't know what it is about Monty Roberts that rubs me the wrong way. Maybe his choice of hats. I've seen him live once, read his book Shy Boy, and watched a couple of his videos. He's on a different planet than I am when it comes to the ability to read a horse, just like the rest of the good trainers, so I have no business knocking him.
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post #132 of 134 Old 04-27-2015, 10:37 PM
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Yeah well, apart from a couple of short vids about 'Join Up', I've never seen him in action myself. I just disagree with his basic premise about 'Join Up'(sure, it can be a handy tool, but it's not magic & not natural horse behaviour IMO), and after reading his 'listens to horses' book, I thought, in his own words, he sounded like a dill & a fraud.

Things like carpet armour for racehorses... & repeatedly standing in front of racehorse gates & being knocked down, to come up with that idea, his keeping a stallion who was apparently so 'incurably vicious' that he'd had his teeth removed & had to be managed in a maze of pens with electric prods, his claim of solely coming up with the 'language of equus'... They're some of the things that rub me the wrong way about him. Dunno about his hats!
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post #133 of 134 Old 04-28-2015, 12:40 AM
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I like the link to the definition of "treat" vs "reward" that Smilie posted. I think that is a very good thing to be mindful of.

I hand feed my horse cookies*, and I hand feed horses that are not mine cookies too (with permission of their owners). My guy gets one cookie reward for letting me come up and scratch his neck in pasture/toss a rope over his neck (no neck-stretch cookie-snatch allowed), one cookie reward for standing like a rock and letting me halter him, and one cookie reward for standing like a rock when I unhalter him and set him loose back in pasture. Usually. About half the time I forget the cookies and he just gets a scratch.

But, those three behaviors are very important to me. I HATE having to chase a horse in pasture, I HATE horse being evasive about being haltered (or bridled), and I HATE when they try to tear away from you when you're turning them out. So, for me, it is absolutely worth it to make my day better by motivating him/making it worth his while to do exactly what I want him to.

He also has been trained to "look away" on command to get a cookie if you want, and that he DOES NOT TAKE cookies from humans. Cookies are inserted into his lips by the humans if he holds his head nice and still. That pretty much nixes any and all pocket searching/head pushing/nibbling/lipping/space invading nonsense that I see many owners rewarding with food. The moment his head moves towards the food, he is wrong, though if it's just an inch or two in a vague direction, I'll make allowance that he can't see in front of his nose and use my closed hand to push his head back where it belongs before inserting cookie.

Right now, with permission, several of the horses in pasture are getting treats from me simply for coming close enough for me to insert a cookie in their mouth. My guy will not run away in pasture, but he'll also just stand there and watch me make the 15 minute tromp out to get him. I am hoping to encourage a little more "herd enthusiasm" for actually coming to me at the gate by feeding several of them cookies when they see me. We will see if it works. I am not afraid to chase off rude horses and rude horses get no cookies, so I am not too concerned about mass mayhem occurring.

*Cookie = baked horse treat, pellets, alfalfa cubes, apple, carrot, etc. Apples were really tough at first because he keeps his teeth closed when recieving cookies (as is polite) but that made getting him to bite off a piece like I wanted him to do very tough. Now I just bite off a chunk and feed it to him, and once he realizes it's an apple he is allowed to bite, he carefully does so.
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post #134 of 134 Old 04-28-2015, 09:21 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Sharpie View Post
I like the link to the definition of "treat" vs "reward" that Smilie posted. I think that is a very good thing to be mindful of.
Agreed. I thought about that also. For a treat to be just a treat it can't be associated with anything. If he's doing anything and associates the treat it then becomes an unintended reward. I like your method of hand feeding treats. I may gradually try to get Hondo on that page. I was so taken by him early on I'm afraid I may have went a little over board on treating.

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