Clicker training

chunky monkey

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May 2, 2007
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Ive done a bit of clicker training with Billy and a bit of target to. He gets it and is quick to learn. He will also take a few steps away from me to the target.
Chunky however who has never really been tip bitted just stands and looks at me. Ive tried to click for the smallest cm turn of the head to my batton but he really cant be bother. Any ideas on how to get more than a cm. He does like treats but is just lazy for them. He will stretch his head towards me where ever i stand but even if the batton is in front of him practically he just isnt cottoning on to sniff equals treat. I shall persevere but any ideas.
 
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Pete's Mum

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Jun 4, 2014
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I dont use much traditional clicker training anymore so by no means an expert myself, but have you tried breaking it down into even smaller sections and 'tries'. If the physical movement of his neck is too much, then reward the shift of his weight or movement of an ear or eye.

Also, if he's not motivated by food - use what he is motivated by. Is it scratches? Patting? Higher value treats?

I had better responses with Pete using a bridging word and not a clicker.
 

Skib

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Dec 21, 2003
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There was once a long discussion over whether clicker training which was designed for dogs was appropriate for use with horses.
Ditto food rewards. Mark Rashid does not use them.
So if he is not reponding to either, he could just be being the average horse?

But if he doesnt respond to sound at all, is his hearing OK?

I have a subsiduary question. What makes a horse touch something? Mare has a hay net in her stable. She is always eating it when I arrive. I stand at her left shoulder and she turns and puts her nose on my sleeve near my shoulder. I then touch her on the shoulder to say Hallo and then we stand there quietly together and she goes on eating.. But every now and then she turns and touches her mouth (full of hay) on my arm. Why does she interrupt her feeding to put her nose on me?
 

Jessey

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Dec 20, 2004
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Probably looking for a treat/scratch, many are conditioned to react to us in this way. That's all clicker training is, conditioning a certain response with a positive reinforcement, it's just with the aim that the click alone will eventually be the reward, but many of us condition our horses without even realizing we are doing it, or they can also condition us to respond to them in certain ways.

Jess wasn't exactly great with clicker/treat training, as she was so pushy as a baby I trained her that she gets nothing from my hand without turning her nose/head away from me, and I'd been doing that for 10+ years before suddenly I'm asking for another response and she was very unsure about it and would often keep repeating the previously conditioned response, to wait politely and move her head away, and when she didn't get the reward she got quite stressed by it.
 

chunky monkey

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May 2, 2007
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We had a eureka moment today. Ive been only trying the clickering during the weekday. So nothing over the weekends. Its been really hard work over the last couple of weeks. Ive tried for the slightest move but he just wasnt connecting at all or connecting in the wrong way. Its been really testing my patience. Ive had to stay calm.
Ive had a dressage whip in my hand which ive been trying to get him to touch but he kept touching the wrong end as he was reaching out to my hand. Initially I rewarded for it but then i realised i was setting him up to touch my hand. Even though there was no food in this hand only whip and clicker i think he just associated hand with food. So i tried to get him to touch a cone with the end of the whip pointing at it but again he reached for the hand holding it even if the cone was between us. So i then used my right hand with a treat in to entice his nose towards the cone. As soon as he followed my hand and nosed the cone i clicked. After a few minutes of that i got him to walk to another cone. Initially i had to entice the nose down but then he seemed to grasp it. So i walked to another cone with him at my side and put him between me and the cone and he choose to turn his head away from me and touch each cone rather than turning his head to my hand first. We did this for a few cones then called it quits whilst he was getting it right. It was small progress, hopefully he wont have forgotten by tomorrow.
Ill try using the dressage whip again for him to follow and touch but i think he is actually better off without it at present.
 
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chunky monkey

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One of my neighbours is doing some building work so this morning i got his rubbish blown into my field. A bit of rubber lining was hooked up on the bramble bush. Couldnt miss an opportunity on my training. Ive been walking them just over the poles. But added in the addition. Billy wasnt too sure so had to walk around it. Then plucked up some courage to nose it. They decided it was ok.

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View attachment 101426It seems something has clicked with Chunky, i got him walking to cones and i stopped short of each one so he either had to stretch for it, or take a couple of steps. Well he did it so im proud mummy this morning.
Chunky also went round on the pole course to start with but then changed his mind. Of course i had to reward for this.
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