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PostPosted: Thu Jan 17, 2008 6:03 pm 

Joined: Tue Dec 18, 2007 10:12 pm
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Location: Utrecht, The Netherlands
Stimulus control and begging with exercises

When horses (or people) get enthusiastic about a certain behavior, they tend to focus on that and repeat it time and time again. After being rewarded for a specific movement a lot (for example a Spanish walk) they can start doing that over and over again because they think that this will earn them more treats and attention.

That's when you start working on a cue for the behavior so that your horse will realise that even though the movement is good, it doesn't mean that he has to do it all the time. In traditional training stimulus control means that the horse isn't allowed to repeat the behavior without being cued ever again (well, close 8) ), but in AND it's more a case of taking your horse out of the obsession that you have created by starting to reward one behavior specifically. You just fix the problem you have caused - the horse nevertheless is always free to express himself and offer new behavior on his own - we wouldn't want it any other way!



Hi,

I have a questionI started with keri to target my hand last week, she already knows exactly what to do and when she gets a treat. She also knows that she'll only get a treat if I ask for a exercise(her owner did some clickering before). I also did the exercise where she had to hold here head away and then she'd be rewarded, and she understood that perfectly too.

But today I didn't have treats and I wasn't asking for a particulair exercise. She was searching al over me, not keeping distance anymore when I walked with here.

So I went to fix that, and she stopped barching in to my space. To be honest I did have some carrotpieces in my pocket, but the other horses weren't searching like Keri did. She was really searching/begging for treats.

The owner of Keri thought it was ok for me to start with clickering but she really doesn't want a begging horse al the time.

Do you think this phase will pass, or am I doing something wrong?

Kind regards,

Jasmijn

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 17, 2008 7:12 pm 
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Hi Jasmijn,

I had the same problems some time ago with Amiro. I stopped for some time with using treats, but started with them again after some months as an extra motivation.

For me I notice that when my timing is bad Amiro starts begging. When he begs (doesn't matter if he is doing a good exercises at the same time) he will never receive a food treat. Only if he is not focussed on a treat, maybe he does not expect a treat, he get one. If he shows one sign of wanting them they stay in my pocket and all begging behaviour he shows is completely ignored.

Another handy thing for us is to not use food treats all the time. There are so many more ways to reward! For example stroking, scratching, for Amiro also leg lifts since he loves them, playing, voice reward, etc. Using food treats is only one way out of very many others to reward, and I only use a food treat like 3 or 4 times during one session. Although things also go very well without food treats :wink:

Just try to put the food away when she shows the smallest sign of begging. Do not punish or get angry, just do not use the food. I know how difficult it is when she performs a great exercise while begging (one of Amiro's a year or so ago) to not reward with a food treat, but it really helps!

For me personally I do not work very much with food. I am a little afraid that a horse will start to do things just for the treat and not because of the fun or because of communication. I am a bit scared I can not work so well with them, but in very small amounts they can be very useful and make things more fun.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 17, 2008 7:18 pm 
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Usually the reason is on human's side. Especially if you are a beginner in clicker training, you can make faults (and long time after, too) (or even forever, like me :twisted: ) for this reason people stop clicker training after the first try.
Of course not everyone has to like it, but this shouldn't be a reason to stop it.
You can help yourself with establishing a "no reward marker" - a sign, which means, that the animal shouldn't continue searching in this direction, because this will not bring any reward. People use it also during free shaping - where you do nothing and the animal offers many behaviours. When you see that the animal is going one way on and on, and this is not the way you want, you can use a "no reward marker", to tell him to stop and try something else.
It can be a word "No".
But it can be anything else. It's important to let your animal know, that it's not punishment. You don't yell NO!! to scare him, it's only information. Of course you can reward a better try; it can be only a stroke or nice voice if you are not training at the moment.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 17, 2008 11:16 pm 

Joined: Tue Dec 18, 2007 10:12 pm
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Location: Utrecht, The Netherlands
Thansk for the answers,
Els exactly what you describe is my'"dilemma", but it feels so unfair to give a treat and then a couple of times not and then again, because she's really trying you know.
I'll try to give a minumum(because that's really what I want) treats and a maximum of compliments with my voice and strokes and be vey enthousiastic about everything she does ok.
@ ania: I know it's probably my fault but I really don't know if I did something wrnd, because it's very simple what we do so I really don't feel like i'm making a mistake. But I'll try to use a no-sign.
I feel like maybe she's testing me to see if she'll get treats the easy way: begging.

It is not so bad now, but I don't want this spiral to go downwards,I want it upwards, especially because I get the opportunity to do this with Keri.

I'll keep you posted!

Thanks!

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 18, 2008 9:04 am 
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An other thing that works for me is walking away when they start to beg really 'in your face'.
Bye bye horsey, I'll come back when you can act like a normal adult...

They'll learn quickly that this bully behaviour does not have any positive consequences whatsoever.

But I think Miriam should give you a better explaination.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 18, 2008 10:18 am 
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moved to groundwork

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 18, 2008 11:33 am 
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Jasminum,
I'm not sure what do you mean by "some clicker training" (that the previous owner had done with Keri). In clicker training most of the animals go trough the phase when they look at you and think about food. Maybe it's not yet finished in your case? It gets better with time (if you don't do too many mistakes). But on the other hand - with time most of the animals start enjoying not only "treats" but also the process of training too. So I can imagine an animal asking - hey, let's start this game I like!

I would make sure that you spend some time "doing nothing". So Keri would start feeling ok with the fact, that sometimes you play-clicking and sometimes not. And there is no need to remind you...

I would also think about building duration in some "calming" exercises. Maybe that could help building patience? Standing still, lowering her head - this kind of exercises.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 18, 2008 11:57 am 

Joined: Wed Sep 05, 2007 6:09 pm
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Location: Voorthuizen, Netherlands
Josepha wrote:
An other thing that works for me is walking away when they start to beg really 'in your face'.
Bye bye horsey, I'll come back when you can act like a normal adult...


Good one!

Sometimes Donanta gets so focussed on the foodreward that if I try to walk away from her, she simply trys to cut me off!!!!

Very pushy behaviour..... I always have trouble in finding the fitting level of assertiveness in myself to move her out of my way. I will not get angry, but sometimes I think I am still to soft (read non-assertive) on her at those times....... What would you do?


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 20, 2008 9:51 am 
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My horses don´t beg much, so what I am doing might not be suitable if you have real problems with that, but in our case, I just have to freeze. For Summy this means that I sometimes stand still and do nothing for several seconds until he stops, for Titum it is enough in most cases just to end all movement for less than a second. And then of course I reward them for stopping to beg.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 20, 2008 9:57 am 
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My Lisa beg for treats with terre a terre or collected trot or gallop or levade or spanish lift (she doesn't know walk yet). I like it, but of course, yesterday when my 7 year old daughter rode and first thing she got was levade and second terre a terre.... 8) Well, she actually loved it, but I was a little afraid the levade should get too high or something... (wich is why i won't tetch her pesade yet... :lol: ).

But, as Miriam says - you shoud very soon get stimuluscontrol on a horse, meaning they only do the exercice when asked.... I am just too used to dogs... 8) 8)


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 20, 2008 10:05 am 
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Kirsti wrote:
But, as Miriam says - you shoud very soon get stimuluscontrol on a horse, meaning they only do the exercice when asked.... I am just too used to dogs... 8) 8)


I can´t really agree with that. At least not as a general statement. I WANT a horse who is picking his own exercises. Of course I have to differentiate a bit between different exercises and situations (e.g. rearing is not always okay...), but generally I don´t want a relationship like "I ask and the horse performs," but a more balanced communication. But of course everyone has to decide what kind of interaction he prefers with his horse, but in our case, (absolute) stimulus control is not the solution we will choose.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 20, 2008 10:15 am 
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Maybe I misunderstood Miriam as well, but I can recall she saied something about it because it would be more safe (and of course, when Lisa first learned the spanish leglift and almost knocked down my sleeping baby in his wagon when we was on a walk and I did not pay attention i can agree...).

But, I, as you Romy, think it is sooo much fun with them picking exercices and showing what they can.

It is the same with my dogs as well - one will only offer a few, but the other sits, lays, heels, whatever when she tries to tell me it is time to train. If i am training with her and want her take real brake, I have to sit down and pet her - else she will train the whole brake, waiting for me to join in :lol: As Lisa yesterday who was finished, but let loose in the garden while I should train Gabriella. Lisa did maybe her best gallop ever in front of Gbariella to try to get the reward.. :lol:


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 20, 2008 10:21 am 
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Kirsti wrote:
Maybe I misunderstood Miriam as well, but I can recall she saied something about it because it would be more safe


I think I know what you mean - it was in Madeleine´s stimulus control thread, wasn´t it? But for me, the question is more what feels right for me and my horse (and in Titum´s case we do (did?) have this lack-of-autonomy issue), not so much what someone else said - even if it is Miriam, who I regard as one of the best horsepersons in the world. ;)

Kirsti wrote:
It is the same with my dogs as well - one will only offer a few, but the other sits, lays, heels, whatever when she tries to tell me it is time to train. If i am training with her and want her take real brake, I have to sit down and pet her - else she will train the whole brake, waiting for me to join in :lol: As Lisa yesterday who was finished, but let loose in the garden while I should train Gabriella. Lisa did maybe her best gallop ever in front of Gbariella to try to get the reward.. :lol:


Great!! What a pity would it be to stop this, wouldn´t it? I can understand the safety arguments, but for me it would be a better solution to ensure that the dangerous exercises are not offered all the time - not that we generally use stimulus control. If we did, most of the change I see (and love so much) in Titum would not have happened.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 20, 2008 10:30 am 
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Yes, I agree with you...

But - I have done very little leglift with Lisa after she offered that the whole time no matter how small kids was in front of her - and I also anly do the levade when alone, and only reward it when i ask for it. I would like to not do it thins way, and if I was sure there always was a levade I might would not - but I have to keep in mind she is a pony for my kids, and they must also have the ability to be safe around her.... 8) :lol:

Well, now I guess I kind of stole tis tread - sorry, we tracked it off a bit here....

I of course never reward if they search my pockets for treats. If a horse do that a lot, I would click and treat at once he stopped. Then most would very soon learn that it is by NOT sniffing pockets they get something.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 20, 2008 6:21 pm 
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marleen wrote:
Josepha wrote:
An other thing that works for me is walking away when they start to beg really 'in your face'.
Bye bye horsey, I'll come back when you can act like a normal adult...


Good one!

Sometimes Donanta gets so focussed on the foodreward that if I try to walk away from her, she simply trys to cut me off!!!!

O does the same, and not even so much for the foodrewards, simply because he 'owns me' and does not see it fitt that I should leave untill he says so...
But sometimes one simply has to or wants to.

Quote:
Very pushy behaviour..... I always have trouble in finding the fitting level of assertiveness in myself to move her out of my way. I will not get angry, but sometimes I think I am still to soft (read non-assertive) on her at those times.......


I am not sure it has anything to do with anger or softness even. It is about being clear, that's all :)

Quote:
What would you do?

As I am the same as you (I let them push me around lot's ha ha, I simply define my space with my hands and arms (boundaries as Chris Irwin puts it so well) and I move around them untill I see an opening to leave, not looking at them and saying 'no' everytime they try to force me to do what they want.

Seeing as they have to right to leave every time they do not like the way things are going... I do not see why I should not have that very same right.

Hope it makes sense to you.

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