The Horse Forum banner

Status
Not open for further replies.
1 - 20 of 26 Posts

·
Banned
Joined
·
43 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
so i have a new miniature pony that arrived yesterday. i am hoping to do clicker training with him but havent done it before, i have watched lots of videos on youtube and have a few books i have gotten from amazon which have helped lots. with the mianture pony i am hoping to train it to do tricks and pull a cart. does anyone have any tips or anything that you think would help me. hoping to start tomorrow and the mianture pony is two years old but such a cutey :gallop:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,289 Posts
I recently purchased a book by Shawna karrasch 'You Can Train Your Horse To Do Anything'. She trained killer whales, sea otters, dolphins, etc at Sea World for ten years before switching to horses. Her training methods are unique and based on positive reinforcement coupled with the clicker as a bridge signal. Her method or system is called 'Target Training'.


She has a few videos out on youtube that are interesting. I am studying the book to be sure I get it right. I've only tried one small experiment with my horse lasting about five minutes and was very surprised at at the quick results. Time is in the way right now but as I complete the book and reviews of it, my 'plan' is to go fully into the systom of Target Training.


There are neurological brain scan studies that support positive reward training as opposed to pressure release.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
43 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
yes i have the book and love it and highlighters have been massive for me whilst trying to do this. i am really hoping to do this with more young horses but i thought i would try it with Tinker (my two year old miniature) first to learn and everything. i find it amazing how horses pick it up so quickly. thanks for the tips :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,290 Posts
i have tried some target training and i love it. started by training my horse to touch the end of the carrot stick for a treat. i can now get her to stretch her head in any direction. then i started walking and telling her to touch it and she would walk and trot with me to touch it. we even ran a barrel pattern on the ground with her fallowing the stick. she can turn easily on the inside of out side of me unlike before i started target training and trying to play at liberty with her. would like to get the boot to learn more. since none of my horses are ridable anymore they do like to do things so this may entertain them.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,055 Posts
Clicker is a wonderful and powerful tool to have in your toolbox, and horses seem to pick it up very rapidly. Just one caution, from dog training, where clicker has a huge following: clicker, like all other training techniques, has limitations.

The two main ones are first, that you are dependent on being able to provide a more rewarding environment than anything else available. This is usually pretty easy, but clicker-trained habits are not going to trump primal drives. Many people get into big trouble not having a back-up strategy for when those kick in. That's why dog training in areas that harness primal drives like hunting and herding don't use clicker. For horses probably the biggest primal drive you will normally encounter is panic and fear. Clicker is not going to help you control a horse who is afraid. For example.

The other issue is, in pure clicker theory, the animal must GUESS the right answer before rewarded. This gets the animal mentally engaged and highly motivated to "offer behaviors" in hopes the one of them will pay off. Then they are very apt to offer it again. The down side of this is that if they can't guess it, they'll get frustrated and give up, just like a person would. Many purist Positive-Only trainers fail because they refuse to help if it means being "negative". In the real world, learning is full of both reward and unpleasantness. It's like a game of "hotter colder" where there's no colder. Twice as hard!

But clicker is really fun for horses. Go for it!


'
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,289 Posts
I'm only part way into Shawna's book but she seems to stress setting the horse up for success by using the target to help him select the correct guess, either on purpose or accidentally. Then reward, repeat.


She also has a calming procedure that seems to work. Not sure how effective it would be if a bear jumped out. But I'm just impressed with the entire associated concepts. Particularly that the seeking part of the brain is engaged during positive reinforcement and that no matter how gentle the pressure release is, the same part of the brain is engaged that is used during fight/flight/fear. According to brain scans. That to me is reason enough to use all the positive training possible.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
23,918 Posts
I love 'clicker training' principles, find them invaluable to good training. I don't personally use a clicker or other separate noisemaker - 'Good!!' is my 'bridging signal'. But I have found that when teaching new people, using a clicker seems to get the timing etc through to people better, so if you're just new to it, I would suggest you use one, for a while at least.

Agree with Avna on the 'limitations', and there are other limitations to pure positive reinforcement only training, and while I use predominantly +R, I do also use pressure/release(-R) & even occasionally punishment. You don't have to be a 'purist' for it to be extremely effective & helpful.

I recently purchased a book by Shawna karrasch 'You Can Train Your Horse To Do Anything'. She trained killer whales, sea otters, dolphins, etc at Sea World for ten years before switching to horses. Her training methods are unique and based on positive reinforcement coupled with the clicker as a bridge signal. Her method or system is called 'Target Training'.
I've heard of her but not looked into her particularly(studied behavioural psych 25 years ago & got into 'clicker training' then). Did she work with Karen Prior at all? She is considered the founder of 'c/t' for dogs & horses, after learning/using it on sea mammals. Curious what is unique about this Shawna's methods?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,289 Posts
I've heard of her but Did she work with Karen Prior at all? Curious what is unique about this Shawna's methods?

I'm sure Shawna is familiar with most major clicker trainer and others but she did not learn from them. She worked at Sea World and a trainer for 10 years and learned from trainers there.


Sea ottors, dolphins, and particularly killer whales can only be be trained with +R, as pressure release is out of the question. They use a target to begin the movements and then shape backflips and bows a tiny bit at a time with clickers until it is absolutely fabulous.


All the trainers were awarded tickets to attend a show of equestrian jumping event. She fell in love. Then wound up with an Olympic jumper and started Target Training.


I just discovered her recently but she's been around in the horse world for a while. Her method is very unique as she applies the methods used in training marine mammals.


In her book are examples where she will use very minimal pressure/release but only under certain conditions.


Quote: "Animals such as dolphins, sea lions and orcas cannot be coerced. Only positive reinforcement methods can be used to ask these magnificent creatures to participate voluntarily in activities with human trainers. (You may be able to force a horse onto a trailer, but just try it with a walrus!)"End Quote



Here's a little info on her: https://www.terranovatrainingcenter.com/our-trainers/



Here's her website. https://on-target-training.com/


Buy her book, you'll be impressed.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
23,918 Posts
Hondo, why I asked specifically about Karen prior is that she was a trainer at sea world too, before moving on to domestic animals. I *think* she was the one who started the using a clicker as bridge - they used whistles for dolphins etc.

I wondered, as you said Shawna methods were unique, what is different? Others(Alex Kurland also comes to mind as one of the early ones specific to horses) use pure c/t & I think most start with target training.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,289 Posts
She uses a target to eliminate or at least reduce the amount of pressure/release required. Her book is not expensive.


If you think her method is not unique after reading her book, I'd be very interested in what you have to say about it.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
23,918 Posts
OK, just looked up some stuff, for more info for everyone.

I was mistaken that Karen Pryor started (after her Behavioural Science degree) at Seaworld. It was Sea Life Park in the '60's where she trained marine mammals. Not sure she had this when I was studying 'BS'( :p ) but she now has a 'Karen Pryor Academy' & there's a section specifically on target training; https://karenpryoracademy.com/teach-your-dog-to-target/ I still recon her original cheap little paperback book 'Don't Shoot The Dog' is really valuable, to explaining basic behavioural training principles & 'the 4 quadrants'. I've loaned the book to many over the years, who's eyes have glazed over when I said they should learn behavioural principles & without exception those people have come back to me saying how easy it was to understand.

Alexandra Kurland started teaching horses in early '80's(didn't look at what she did before that). There's a lot on her site to learn about theory/practicing c/t, such as this page which describes how to start off - lots on targeting. https://www.theclickercenter.com/guide-pg-4

I've only had a look at Shawna's 'method' page of her website, haven't seen her $45 book, but it also outlines how to start off & train a horse to target stuff.

There are many others who I've been impressed with over the years, but can't remember more names at present. Can't find the names of a couple in early '90s who advocated learning by training chickens, because you CAN'T use coercive methods with them. That's when I first decided I needed chooks! I trained them to do an obstacle course, among other things & actually found them quicker to catch on than dogs! I also trained some ducks for a film once(thought I wanted to be an animal wrangler, but didn't like the stress the animals were under) and I definitely don't believe in the term 'bird brained', at least when they're taught positively, they're not the least stupid!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,289 Posts
Shawna Karrasch wrote a book titled "You can train your horse to do anything" which was a culmination of her efforts to bring marine target training methods to horse training. The book is copyrighted in 2000 and due to the popularity of her unique methods of using a target to train horses, there is no doubt her methods have been incorporated by both amateurs and professionals since then.


Her book is $25 new on Amazon. Most used copies are only a couple dollars less although I just saw one at $13. Just one.


As mentioned, I'm only a little over half way through her book with several youtube videos watched prior to the book and do not consider myself an expert on the unique methods she introduced to conventional clicker training and behavior shaping to the horse world.


But after a good night's sleep I'll take a shot at explaining what I understand about the method she introduced.


The first thing she does which has nothing to do with target training is to teach the horse using normal clicker bridging not to mug the food pouch. This needs to be solid prior to advancing to the target.


Then the target is introduced which can be almost anything. The horse's curiosity is used to voluntarily touch the target at which time the horse is bridged with preferably clicker or other bridge and rewarded. If the horse does not become curious enough to actually touch the target, any movement toward the target is bridged and rewarded. This as I understand is traditional behavior shaping.


At some point early on a cue is introduced to touch the target. Shawna uses the word "Target" but any verbal cue can be used.


This is a game the horse seems to enjoy. Shawna has had individuals in seminars to train each other (including herself) using pressure/release and pure reward with interesting observations by all.


After the horse is trained (or one might say learned how to play the enjoyable game of target), the target is used as a sort of lead rope to begin to initiate a movement in a desired direction, or to initiate the beginnings of a desired behavior. Then traditional clicker shaping is used.


The thing that is unique is the use of the target in various creative ways resulting in desired voluntary behavior of the horse. After the behavior is developed and solid, both the clicker and target can be phased out while being replaced with other cues.


The cues, to me, are never commands but rather, hey lets play this game.


So far, that's it in a nutshell. The target is used as a voluntary lead rope to initiate behavior. From all of my reading Shawna was the first to do this with horses which makes her method unique although as it becomes even more widely accepted it will certainly no longer be considered unique.


If anyone knows of anyone introducing the target method to horses prior to Shawna, I'd sure like to know about it. But I believe there are none.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,289 Posts
loosie........



Quote: " In 1998 Alexandra launched the rapidly growing field of clicker training for horses with the publication of her first book, Clicker Training for your horse. " End Quote


This quote is from her site, About.


Alexandra did not use target training in her early career but started it later. I did not see a date when she first started using a target and do not have her book nor will I.


Shawna published her first book two years after that but prior to publishing it she had spent a number of years developing the target training system for horses and even got married during that time period.


I am completely convinced by the time lines I have seen that Alexandra saw an opportunity from Shawna's experience which she was freely sharing with others and claimed it as if for her own.


I am for certain not accusing Alexandra of stealing the method, just stating my own personal belief that she did.


With that I shall abstain from further bleeding upon the kind OP's thread.








of her first book, Clicker Training for Your Horse. n 1998 Alexandra launched the rapidly growing field of clicker training for horses with the publication of her first book, Clicker Training for Your Horse.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
23,918 Posts
I just got excited at the thought that there may be something new for me to learn(that'll learn me!). I really couldn't care less personally, who was doing what first. My point of giving those dates was just to show others had been doing it a long time. I learned about clicker/targeting in mid 90's & there were absolutely people target training horses then for me to learn from and SK wasn't one of them. My point of giving site links was just to show the info is there, for others to find, who may not have your book, as you said you could find nothing on their sites yourself. I hope those sites help people understand the theory better. That's all that matters to me.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,768 Posts
I bought Karasch's book at a second hand book store. Whether or not it was groundbreaking or just a different iteration of others methods I have no idea. I do know she worked with Madden's horses for awhile. And from what I can tell she is good about integrating the clicker training with classical/traditional training. The clicker training and the target training was night and day different for Nick when it came to trailer loading. And it gave me confidence that I could rely on him to get in the trailer 100% anywhere anytime. And RIP the Toaster- it was not a trailer many horses would load into willingly.

Since the accident we are back to just groundwork clicker training as something to do for both of our catharsis and brains. Doing basics like targeting stationary objects and performing actions in response to cues, that will be useful down the line in dressage. Months ago we used it to work on our piaffe, and to pony out a car window without the rope. It's fun. It gets the horse thinking and it can add extra motivation to activities.

I thought the book was well laid out. And used it ran about $8.00 which I thought was pretty good. I've never tried Pryor or the others. I haven't needed too, but if we get farther along and hit a road block I might invest in a few different books.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,289 Posts
I read about the toaster 'incident'. Hoping you find another exactly like it!
 
1 - 20 of 26 Posts
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top