Giving Treats: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly - Page 8 - The Horse Forum
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post #71 of 134 Old 04-19-2015, 11:27 AM Thread Starter
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More Parelli........

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Welcome to the land of “Why should I? What’s in it for me?” This horse reads people like abook. He knows what you want and he’s not going to give it to you, unless you treat him right. Even though he appears stubborn or lazy, he’s not at all lazy in the mind! Reverse psychology is where it’s at, oh… and treats!

DO:
Use incentive – treats, grazing, rest, scratches, etc. Incentive
is not bribing because you’ll ask your horse to do something before rewarding him. A bribe is when you use the treat to lure him into doing it. There’s a big difference.
Ask him to do less than he’s offering. It will blow his mind! He’ll then start offering more.
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post #72 of 134 Old 04-19-2015, 07:53 PM
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Hi All!

Horses/equines (dogs, cats, mice, monkeys . . .) are individuals, just like we are. Just because statistics say "X leads to Y", that is no guarantee that any individual animal is going to play along. Much like applying psychology to homosapiens, it can be very misleading, and dangerous, too.
You have to take the time to get to know your subject, and even then there is always the "wildcard" to contend with.
Hard and fast "rules" can generally be contrived that apply to inanimate objects, but add that spark of sentience, and you're skating on thin ice. This old feller's two cents worth.

ByeBye! Steve

Steve Jernigan KG0MB
Microelectronics Research
University of Colorado
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post #73 of 134 Old 04-19-2015, 11:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Hondo View Post
"First let me say that when I deal with biting horses more than 90% of them have been fed treats from the human hand. When we associate food with the human body we are training horses to bite,
Afraid I don't give much credence to a many of Monty's opinions. This is one of them. That's like saying 90% of horses who have a rearing problem have people who hang off the bit, so bits cause rearing & should be avoided.

Personally, my horses, and others I work with are trained NOT to bite, under any circumstances and they will be punished if they do & even if they look like they might bite, or 'even' mouth or 'mug' that behaviour will never be rewarded. No, I don't train horses to bite.

I agree pretty much with Stacey Westfall's article you linked to. That IF a horse has been 'spoilt' before, if he's not well enough trained in basic 'manners'(respect?), if he's come to see people as 'vending machines' or treats are too distracting for eg, I generally would avoid food treats, until a good, 'respectful' relationship is established. Exceptions have been fearful horses, or 'shut down' horses, to 'start the ball rolling' in associating me & my 'games & toys' with Good Stuff. Unlike her, I do use food specifically for training, and (not least from being unfortunately very well acquainted with IR & laminitis) wouldn't be giving my horses a handful, let alone a bucket of those kind of treats!

Quote:
She went on to say that treats were used as a reward for the behavior desired . This horse would actually stalk me and charge with ears back and mouth open.
Basic fact is, horses do what works & quit doing what doesn't work. Again, just because someone has unwittingly *taught* this horse to do that is no reason to blame the tools. I've seen many, many horses develop behavioural issues from being 'round penned', even(especially??) following Monty's own precise 'recipe', so with Monty's above logic, he should be cautioning people to of the dangers of 'Join Up'. Bottom line is, if you don't understand what you're doing, with whatever 'tools', then it's very easy to go wrong.

Quote:
The horse is afraid.
The horse is trying to dominate you.
Sometimes a horse will nip you to indicate he wants to play; this isn’t really biting
...Or yes, the horse HAS been inadvertently trained to do so, with inappropriately timed reinforcement or punishment, including(but not unique to) feeding treats. I have to say, biting is biting is biting IMO, regardless whether it's 'just a playful nip' or otherwise, & I'd treat(pardon the pun, should be I WOULD NOT TREAT) accordingly, regardless of the cause!

Quote:
"Hand feeding treats to your horse is the quickest way I know to cause the horse to disrespect your space. ...
Horses establish dominance in the herd by controlling ... the resources of the herd (food and water).
I agree with the above. You can absolutely teach 'wrong' behaviours incredibly quickly with strong consequences, & food treats are often(not always) one of those. It is also incredibly quick to teach a horse, with *appropriate, well timed* treats, to 'respect your space', have 'good manners', etc. Whatever the behaviour that 'works' will be repeated more frequently. And I do agree with the basic principles of 'NH' as I understand them, and making the most of natural behaviours such as controlling resources is one factor in line with using food as reinforcement in training. Point is, YOU control the resource & don't let the horse call the shots!

I think, in the same way as trailer loading problems are not so much about the trailer specifically, people get hung up on thinking 'it's about the food', when it's about understanding the underlying principles(of behavioural training, of timing, etc) to be able to be effective and minimise 'side effects' of whatever you use.
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Last edited by loosie; 04-19-2015 at 11:20 PM.
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post #74 of 134 Old 04-20-2015, 12:57 AM Thread Starter
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I'll have to say that if feeding hand treats led to biting Hondo would surely have killed me by now. As it is he shoves my fingers out of the way with his lips and/or tongue to separate from the treat. He is, however, the only horse in the herd I'd fool around with like that.

I so much appreciate all of the posts and value each one. They all add something.

I think one big division on how to handle/train/etc a horse is a person on one hand that has a large herd that are all working and have to be trained accordingly. Maybe similar to a classroom of kids. You have to go at it differently than if your favorite niece or nephew is visiting for the summer.

If there is only one or maybe two horses involved and there is a lot of time available for each for deeper bonding probably some things would make sense that would not make sense with a herd.

As in you just don't bond with a classroom of kids like you would the favorite niece/nephew. Or your own child. Or grandchild.

Does that make any sense?

One example of time versus not so much time is Hondo's sarcoid ear that he would not let me touch. He actually gently put his head against my body once and then flung me to the ground when I insisted. I just laughed and said, "Oh, you really mean it huh?"

It has taken me over three months but I can now rub the inside of his sarcoid ear with my fingers. He will still absolutely object if I have anything in my hand. I believe he was hurt by medication in the past. If I had a whole herd of sarcoid horses there would simply not be enough time to be slowly gentle with that many horses.

Both Monty and Parelli said to never ever punish a horse for biting. They claim it just makes it worse. They claim a horse does not understand punishment in human terms. They say the horse will just wait and figure a way around it. Or be quicker and jerk back to avoid the hit which makes the bite more damaging. I don't know, I'm just a newbie.

On clicker training: I'm still reading Animals in Translation. This morning I was reading page 318 where she states that for an animal to make an association between a food reward and the desired behavior the food must be given within one second after the desired behavior occurs.

She goes on to say the advantage of either target or clicker training is that it is much easier to use the correct timing for the reward.

One one hundred. On second is pretty fast. I'm thinking about the clicker training.
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post #75 of 134 Old 04-20-2015, 12:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hondo View Post
More Parelli........

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Left-Brain Introvert
Welcome to the land of “Why should I? What’s in it for me?” This horse reads people like abook. He knows what you want and he’s not going to give it to you, unless you treat him right. Even though he appears stubborn or lazy, he’s not at all lazy in the mind! Reverse psychology is where it’s at, oh… and treats!

DO:
Use incentive – treats, grazing, rest, scratches, etc. Incentive
is not bribing because you’ll ask your horse to do something before rewarding him. A bribe is when you use the treat to lure him into doing it. There’s a big difference.
Ask him to do less than he’s offering. It will blow his mind! He’ll then start offering more.
Sorry, don't give much credence to Horsenality, any more than to animal communicators, or other spins offs, aimed at making money off gulibilities of people
You gotta wonder how those great horses in the past were created, working day in and day out, staying sound in body and mind, without all of this quasi horsemanship!
Horses have been trained for eons, on the principle of making the right thing easy and the wrong thing hard, plus learning to move away from pressure, versus into it, and being rewarded by that release of pressure
Also, more horses are killed by kindness now, than by neglect, and just like type2 diabetes is increasing in people, so is IR in horses
I don't mind treating a horse, with no metabolic issues, in a random manner, but see absolutely no positive benefits for rewarding horses with treats while training or riding.
I'm not about to put my horse on a psychiatric couch, before training him. I think we as the human race use that resource enough, without applying Freud and Jung to our horses!
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post #76 of 134 Old 04-20-2015, 01:09 AM
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^^^^^No dessert for Smilie!
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I am not here to promote anythingNo, that's not true, I am here to promote everything equestrian and everyone enjoying horses!
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post #77 of 134 Old 04-20-2015, 01:17 AM
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Hondo
Both Monty and Parelli said to never ever punish a horse for biting. They claim it just makes it worse. They claim a horse does not understand punishment in human terms. They say the horse will just wait and figure a way around it. Or be quicker and jerk back to avoid the hit which makes the bite more damaging. I don't know, I'm just a newbie.

No, you do not punish a horse for biting by hitting him, esp a stud, as it becomes a game-horse tries to get in that bite, and jerk head away , before retaliation . Sure the horse knows it is wrong-see a lower down horse even think of biting an alpha horse? If they ever did, that alpha horse would make sure the message got across, by strong retaliation.
What you do, is make that horse punish himself. Carry a pin, and let the horse run into it, wehn he goes to bite-or if you follow that 3 second rule, you do not need to hit the horse in the face-backing him up, hard, whipping those hips around with the end of that lead shank, gets the message across.
Just because a horse does not bite when you hand feed him, doe snot amke it good horsemanship-the type that is taught in basic programs like 4H. You can also lead a horse with the horse dragging behind you, or rushing ahead, and maybe that horse is fine that way, but still does not make that technique correct
You mentioned a classroom-well, in a classroom, or in any organization, techniques are taught by the book, in a manner that is accepted as being the best to cover safety in a broad spectrum, and not for exceptions-ie it becomes accepted and standard protocol.
I have raised, trained a, shown and trail ridden numerous horses for more than 30 years, loved quite a few of them, but they were always my partners, never my pets, and I followed good horsemanship, taught by those that make a living using horses and training horses, not by those new NH who are more into training people to train horses , than actually proving any of their training fundamentals by actually turning out great horses
Do you give your kids treats for every chore they do, or do you just accept certain behavior from them, giving a treat at a random time?
I know kids that won't take out the garbage , clean up their room, etc, unless they are handed some extra money
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post #78 of 134 Old 04-20-2015, 01:29 AM
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Come on people, if you were teaching basic 4H, would you tell those kids it is okay to hand feed treats to horses?
We all ,that have owned horses for some time, deviate from what is accepted techniques, as we know both own horses, plus have learned to really read horses, and thus can easily get away with hand feeding treats to our horses, without any negative consequences, but that does still not make that practice solid good horsemanship that you teach to entry level people, or in any formal horse education program.
Why does 4H or any horsemanship program, teach the quarters in showmanship? Does that mean that if you fail to obey those quarters in daily horse handling, you are going to get nailed, or someone working on your horse?
Course not, but it is horse handling by the books, and by the books, hand feeding treats is not standard accepted good horsemanship.
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post #79 of 134 Old 04-20-2015, 01:29 AM
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Quote:
Also, more horses are killed by kindness now, than by neglect, and just like type2 diabetes is increasing in people, so is IR in horses
I don't mind treating a horse, with no metabolic issues, in a random manner, but see absolutely no positive benefits for rewarding horses with treats while training or riding.
I think I need to share this because I posted a silly bit about one of my ADD-esque 'projects' who I began riding when I was fourteen. At that point he had come off of a surgery and stall rest that ended up with him not being able to eat grass for about the next two years due to the sugar. He was super food motivated. (as you can see in the picture as he stretches that lovely neck of his) he could have some treats so long as he didn't have a complete diet of them. Because of how food motivated he was he was very easy to teach tricks to. I never used a treat to lure- but I did use it as a reward and it was a very effective motivator. However the downside is that the horse thinks that 'okay my cue for her to give me a carrot is to bow.' which while amusing the first few times it occurred unsolicited really wasn't all that helpful and had to be addressed without the treats after the trick was established. I still do use treats for trick training but for any behavioral or riding training i would agree with Smilie that it is not ideal (for most horses...have met some exceptions) It never occurs in the wild that one horse will give another horse food for doing what they want... but for trick training where the maneuvers are not reliant on correct movement (riding) or instinctual reactions (behavioral) I like treats- because I am asking a horse to do something they never would do in the wild so I can hardly expect to be able to use familiar approaches.

PS I do not think the horsenality fad is a good replacement for simple common sense and attentiveness to one's animals. Study behavior in your horse. You will miss less about them than if you quickly assign them one of the stereotypes of Parelli. Just like a person isn't ever in entirety a perfect example of a mental condition or trait neither is a horse.
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post #80 of 134 Old 04-20-2015, 01:50 AM
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This is a good article, far as hand feeding treats, giving some great examples, and why this trainer, anyway, is totally against hand feeding treats to any horse, or using food as a motivator.

The sun does not rise and set on the wisdoms of the likes of Parelli! I am absolutely sure that I can hand feed my horses safely as anyone else here, but that to me is just not basic good horsemanship
Charles Wilhelm - CW Training | Ride Magazine

Another good article-Treats versus rewards, and yes, there is a difference

Treats versus Rewards
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