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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi I was wondering if anyone knew how to teach a horse to stick its tongue out on command? I knew a gelding that would stick his tongue out for a treat and I thought it was just the cutest thing.

I have a 3 year old I am working with and she is just started under saddle. We are taking her saddle training slow so I wanted to have something else to do with her. I just started teaching her how to hug yesterday an she is already almost to the point of doing it on command. Today I started teaching her to kiss and I think she will have that figured out in a day or so. I am going to wait until she has both of those tricks completely learned before adding others. I would like to have a list of things I plan on training her and have it organized so I can teach the easier stuff first. So if there are any other tricks you like please share them with me and how you trained it. Thanks!
 

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Unless you have a very self mltivated horse who will do anything for a laugh, you'll have to use clicker training. There is a thread called "clicker training: challenge accepted" which has a great description of why clicker training works and how to use it safely to train every skill from a simple trick to advanced riding manuevers. Im on my phone otherwise id post the link but im sure you can search for that title.
I use CT to trajn my horses everything they know, and believe me its given me lots to work on while I wait for my 3 y/o to mature more physically.
First I start with teaching manners, I stand at their shoulder and click and treat when their head is forward and their body is relaxed, I carry this on through all my training they never get food if they are in my space or being antsy. This maintains their respect and keeps you safe from muggjng. Even the worst mugger in my rescue figured out in under 3 minutes that the best way to get the food was to look forward. I did this for several short sessions, each time I moved around a bit more. I did this until I could do anything and touch every inch of their body while they stand calmly and face forwadd. I click and treat everytime the respond appropriately. And gradually I increased the criteria.
Once they were solid on that I taught them to touch a target with their nose. I used this target to teach mlst other skills like leading, lunging, backing up, standing still, steering, and trailer loading. I do all my work first at liberty using no pressure until the skill is solid, then start using tack or tools to make slight pressure the cue for the skill they already know.
Once they have manners down you can teach them anything. To get them to stick out their tongue you could try tickling their top lip if they lick it click just as their tongue is comjng out of their mouth. Soon theyll connect all the dots :p
 

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I taught my gelding how to bow and shake hands/hooves. I didn't use a clicker but I did use food. :wink: I'm teaching him how to hug and other things like come, stay and follow (which are now on hold since I've become injured) but anythings possible with a bit of food and common sense! :lol:

I don't know if those are tricks that sound good to you so if you want me to explain how I trained him to do it then just ask! And don't worry about the whole with treats they can become food pushy, etc, etc. It's in my program to avoid that but still get a result. lol

I love trick training! :lol:
 

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Ya these skills are easy to teach without a clicker, but the big reason we use a clicker and not just hand them food is so that we can mark the correct behavior. For example, teaching a horse to free jump, if you dont have a clicker they just get the food when they land. They will just try to get to the other side of the jump as fast as possible. But with a clicker you can mark the moment they take off, this will encourage them to jump higher, clicking as they land will encourage jumping flatter. Clicking when they tuck their legs nicely helps too. You cant fine tune these behaviors without a bridging sound like a clicker.
Same for riding if I didnt use a clicker my horse would only ever stand still and turn her nose within reach. But since I use a clicker to mark the correct behavior I can mark a good sidepass or a solid canter depart on the right lead.

Also using a clicker, when you "load" the clicker by clicking and feeding repetitively you also teach them never to invade your space. I do this by standing at their shoulder and clicking and treatkng when they face forward.

All this and much more is explained on the link I posted, and explained much better too :p
 

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I agree completely on all points, I don't use a clicker on my horse because he freaks out. If I did every session would be nothing but chasing him around (literally he's afraid of his own shadow). When I use food I use it sporadically and at irregular intervals so that the horse understands the trick/cue. When I taught him to bow I rewarded the action when he did so on cue. If he invades my personal space, pushes, or does it without a cue he does not receive a reward and is told NO. I don't tolerate a loss of manners and on the same hand I wouldn't do this with a horse who had no manners or a habit of losing them over food. I probably would clicker train. ;)

For him I want him to understand and think about the cue, action, and reward. For instance when I taught him to shake hands I stuck out my hand and tapped his knee gently (cue), then when he picked it up paused while holding it and waited as his brain processed it while vocally reinforcing the cue, and then often the reward was setting his foot down/a pet or scratch in his favorite spots. The treats really only come out for him as a reassurance for when he works himself up trying to get the concept. And I'm pretty sure that if I tried a clicker while riding I would be on the ground.... lol I tend to use my voice a lot more for guidance, reprimands, rewards, etc anyway.

That's interesting that you use it while riding! I always used my hands, seat, and voice to show a horse praise. (I never give treats while I'm on the horse just in case I may have mislead that belief.) I've probably also butchered my explanation, I was just trying to offer another way to still trick train a horse who might turn out to not like a clicker.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I taught my gelding how to bow and shake hands/hooves. I didn't use a clicker but I did use food. :wink: I'm teaching him how to hug and other things like come, stay and follow (which are now on hold since I've become injured) but anythings possible with a bit of food and common sense! :lol:

I don't know if those are tricks that sound good to you so if you want me to explain how I trained him to do it then just ask! And don't worry about the whole with treats they can become food pushy, etc, etc. It's in my program to avoid that but still get a result. lol

I love trick training! :lol:
I would be interested to hear how you tough to shake!

I will read up on the clicker training for the added knowledge but I probably wont use it. I also don't worry about the "getting to pushy" thing because I teach my horse respect and I will not tolerate nippy or disrespectful behavior. I started my mare with hugging yesterday by giving treats and by the end of today she was doing it on command without treats
 

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To teach him to shake I made sure he had a halter and a leadrope on. (long enough so I could get away, but not enough that he could get tangled up in) If you have someone to help you by holding your horse and rewarding right away the first few times it goes a lot easier!

1. Stand off to the side of your horse by the leg you want them to shake with, like your going to pick up it's foot to clean it, and pick it up. When both of you are relaxed (but don't keep it up for too long lol) move to the front but still keep off to the side a bit (just in case they should move their foot forward or anything like that). Bring the bent leg (hold it like your picking it out, but give the lower leg a comfortable amount of room) and shoulder forward slightly not like a walking step though (it should be noticeable but the knee should be bent and the foreleg kept out of the main action). At this point I reward and use the vocal command "Horses name, Shake" and if you want to incorporate a physical cue such as a tap on the knee for a while until you can use vocal cue alone now's the time to do so. Mine is a few taps on the front of the knee and sometimes off to the side or behind if he doesn't respond (but not harshly).

2. I keep at the same step above until they understand that a tap on the knee as well as the vocal cue means to pick up their leg and move their shoulder forward towards you without too much prodding. Eventually the lower leg should either but bent up slightly or just hang limply (it depends on the horse and depends on the day, I let him choose because he knows how to balance himself and how to keep his leg out of my space)

At this point you can decide whether or not you want to gently shake their leg or if you just want to hold it for a few moments. If you do gently shake the leg I would recommend having another person to hold the horse and just be prepared for anything just to be safe. This way also can lead to pawing so what I did was to smack my horses leg whenever he began to paw or get over antsy and then redid the trick until he realized that he could not do that and be rewarded, and it meant more work. Now he lifts his leg, gently brings his shoulder forward and waits until we grab above his knee and gently either shake or just hold his leg (I wanted him to do both so that if someone who was visiting wanted to do this with him they didn't have to shake it if they felt uncomfortable).

Throughout training a horse to do this I always make sure that they are responsive, and light when they give you their leg. A few movements of other legs, and shifting their body weight I tolerate because they have to get balanced and such, but other than that I keep them mainly where they are. They should not lean on you for balance and you arm(s) should not be a foot rest. lol depending on how heavy your horse is it could take one or two hands to shake, my gelding is pretty big so sometimes I have to use two hands!

You know your horse better than anyone else so if you want to find a way to incorporate the lower leg I suppose you can and you know when to reward with treats and what not as well as when to quit. I will say it's ok in the begining if the shoulder doesn't come forward much and they just sort of hold it up without reach out to you, once they get comfortable with it they loosen up and lift the shoulder more. If you have any other questions or need something cleared up just ask and I'll do my best! I do believe somewhere I have a video that shows him shaking when we first started him before he was incredibly comfortable with it. It's not the best quality but if you want to see a visual I'm sure I can dig something up! Good luck! :lol:
 
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