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PostPosted: Thu Jan 17, 2008 6:03 pm 

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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 

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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 

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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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PostPosted: Sun Jan 20, 2008 8:35 pm 

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Yes! Thank you for that :lol:


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 20, 2008 11:05 pm 
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Quote:
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)


Whew, I'm being quoted a lot! 8)

I think that Romy and I in reality train very much in the same manner: always supporting the horse when he shows more confidence and uses his own imagination more. But for me personally stimulus control doesn't just mean that you erase that and turn the horse into a robot who does everything on cue only. Not at all! It's quite logical to interpret it like that (you teach the horse only to do things on cue from now on) but in reality stimulus control is something much more subtle and isn't about making life easier for the human, but repairing a distortion that you as a trainer have caused.

Stimulus control for me is more something that kicks into action once you disrupt the balance of a behavior as a trainer. You do that in order to show the horse what kind of behavior/movement you want from him. And then you have to balance that out again once the horse knows what you mean. So the need for stimulus control for me isn't something that needs to be done because horses are maniacs, :wink: but because as trainer we disrupt the balance and value of the behavior of the horse all the time. And stimulus control only needs to be focused on if that temporarily shifted balance is getting disturbing.

Teach the horse the Spanish walk or Jambette is a good example for that: if you leave your horse on his own, with other horses or with you totally at liberty and he stretches a frontleg every now and then without you reacting to it, then the stretched.kicked out frontleg doesn't have a realy high value for your horse. It's not more precious to him than lifting a hindleg in order to get into the sleeping posture, or than placing a front hoof forwards in order to start walking. However, now you decide to use that pawing frontleg in order to get a Spanish walk, and you reward for such a pawing leg by giving him lots of love, food and attention. Your horse will now start to repeat this movement more and more and more fantatically and enthusiastic, because the balance has shifted: lashing out with a frontleg suddenly has because much higher in value than walking or sleeping, so your horse will want to do this all the time.

In the beginning of training the Spanish walk, you actually use that obsession with the leg kicking, because that enables the horse to learn faster what it is you want exactly. However, once you have made a cue for that leg-kicking and you are ready to start shaping the movements in more subtle ways, you need to move the leg kicking out of the spotlights again and give it the same worth as other movements your horse does unconsciously, in order to restore the balance. Because otherwise you will just get a very stressed and annoyed horse, who will start pawing more and more and more in order to get attention, and will overrule every other movement he could have been thinking of on his own. Placing a specific spontaneous behavior in the spotlights, means that all the other spontaneous behaviors will move to the background because this one is clearly worth much much more than the other things he might think of. If a horse gets obsessed with a particular movement, he will actually show much less to no other spontaneous behavior anymore.

So that's where the stimulus control kicks in: as trainer we have distorted the balance of worth of movements in order to use a specific movement, and then we have to restore that balance again: the leg-lift has been put on cue for further training, and now we want to tell the horse that from now on spontaneous leg-lifts won't be stimulated anymore in the way that you did before. You want to let him realise that he of course can lift his leg if he wants to, but to you that doesn't have any more worth than lifting a hindleg to go to sleep again. Of course one day you might start thinking about the piaffe, and suddenly start rewarding that hindleg-lift enourmously in order to use that for the piaffe. But in the meantime, untill you have turned your spotlight onto a specific movement, all movements are equal. Only that will allow your horse to be really free in expressing all the movements he can think of - which you can then stimulate again.

Therefore, stimulus control isn't about forbidding the horse to do a specific movement if you haven't asked for it. At least, that's not how I use it. I do use stimulus control, but I don't use corrections in order to force that down onto the horse. Instead, stimulus control for me really is about restoring balance. In a short period of time I have released a massive amount of rewards for the frontleg-lift, and with that ranked that movement far above all the other movements possible, like standing still, lowering the head, walking etc.. So stimulus control means that I restore that balance, not by showing the horse that the leglift is now illegal, but by showing him that all the other movements are just as valuable too: so I do stop rewarding for illegal leglifts for a while because in the horses' mind that has already has gained a huge worth, but I'll reward all the other spontaneous behaviors that have been ignored a bit lately: I'll reward a lot for just standing still on for legs, for regular walk, for halting and especially for the head-lowering. It restores the balance of the exercises without punishing the horse for something that you as trainer have caused. You restore the problem you've caused.

So what is my ideal? A pony that in the end doesn't lift a leg anymore without me commanding it to him? No, my goal of stimulus control is to get the spontaneous movements into the proper balance again: A spontaneous leg-lift is nice, but a good halt too, and a nice head-lowering or a ramener is even better. And if the horse is more high-spirited and wants to show off, that leg-lift is nice, but other movements he can think of are more than welcome too, especially those! I just want to restore the mental balance of the horse: in the past, he wouldn't think much over lifting a frontleg. Then I caused an artificial obsession with leg-lifting, and all I want to do is to erase that artificial obsession again. The horse still can offer a spontaneous leg-lift occasionally like before we started training, and it will earn him perhaps even praise, but the horse needs to learn again that this is just 'one of those movements' he can do, instead of the one and only thing that will lead him to treat-heaven.

So everything is in the hand of the trainer: you cause an obsession,you take care of it. That is the essence of stimulus control. If you see that your horse shows much more spontaneous leg-lifts than before, even an obsessive amount, you should fix that problem that you have caused. That is stimulus control. And with some horses, it means that you just reward three times extra for putting the leg down again, or standing still with four hooves on the ground (Blacky), and with others (Sjors) you need to spend more time on restoring the balance again, by ignoring the spontanous obsessive scraping and rewarding all other spontanous movements for a longer period of time.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 20, 2008 11:33 pm 
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If this is your understanding of stimulus control, then I agree that we train in the same manner also in this aspect. ;)

At the first moment I thought that only in our case I don´t need to be the one who balances the situation again, because Titum does this by himself (remember the new favourite exercises that he offers all the time for two or three days and then their frequency becomes normal again?). But my second thought was that maybe he does this because I do (unconsciously) use stimulus control as a balancing tool. Not so clear as ignoring the exercise or rewarding the opposite, but of course I get less happy about a back crunch after two days of almost nothing else - and reward it less enthusiastically. Of course he realizes that, so yes, if stimulus control is defined in that way, we also use it.

Thanks for the clarification!! :D


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 21, 2008 8:56 am 

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It does!
very interesting discussion :) .

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 22, 2008 12:38 pm 
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Romy wrote:
At the first moment I thought that only in our case I don´t need to be the one who balances the situation again, because Titum does this by himself (remember the new favourite exercises that he offers all the time for two or three days and then their frequency becomes normal again?). But my second thought was that maybe he does this because I do (unconsciously) use stimulus control as a balancing tool.


I think we all do that on an unconscious level already, and with a lot of horses these unconscious actions (rewarding less, placing more focus on other, newer exercises) will automatically tell him that he doesn't need to focus on that exercise that much anymore either. With Blacky it works like that too and he learns that on his own, without me having to focus more on that. Sjors however.. :roll: 8)

I guess that Sjors' problem is that he is extremely intelligent, but also is extremely focused on what he learns. He is over-focused. If you teach him the Spanish walk (or trot, or anything else), he turn a switch in his mind and suddenly all his grey cells are thinking is 'we should do this exercise!!!'. And he looses himself in that exercise: he shuts off his brain and just does that one exercise in that one manner he knows it, and doesn't notice anything else anymore. If you give Sjors four times a treat when he pushes a handle and then stop rewarding, he won't notice it. If you stop giving treats for pushing that handle he just will continue pushing that handle as long as it takes to get that treat again, be it a 100 times or a 1000. So with Sjors I really have to actively train the obsession away. If I don't do that, he will do that same exercise in that same manner over and over again. Not only will we not be able to do any other exercises, but I won't be able to shape that first exercise any further either, because Sjors has engraved in his mind that it should be done in this way - and only this way.

So when teaching Sjors Spanish trot I really have to empahsize that regular trot is still very good too, and trot with a low neck too, and a regular ramener-trot too, and that a correct bend in his body during trot is still very good too. If I don't reward all those old exercises extra when he learns something new, he will replace them all with Spanish trot. For example, when he learned shoulder-in in trot, he lost the shoulder-in in walk, and the ability to make voltes and to move straight, and actually the entire walk, for quite a while. Let's just say that he is a wonderful challenge. And that I learned some important lessons on training Sjors. 8)


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 22, 2008 12:52 pm 
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marleen wrote:
Yes! Thank you for that :lol:


Welcome :) 8)

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 24, 2008 9:22 pm 
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I have upgraded this topic to a sticky!

(Heheheh... The power of being a moderator... :twisted: :twisted: :twisted: 8))


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 16, 2013 7:48 pm 
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I'm glad this topic is a sticky, as it means that I have found it easily :D

This is a really useful thread for me, as Skylark has begun 'cutting me off' when I try to walk away from her, like some of you have described. I try to make a visual boundary with my arms, but I like what Josepha has said about saying 'no', not looking at her, and meaningfully moving around her until I find an opening to leave. It has reminded me to set my intention completely and apply myself with my focus.

:f:


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 16, 2013 7:53 pm 
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Summy did the cutting off a lot (and still does sometimes when he is very excited), but then I simply froze: I stopped all my movement and did not walk on anymore at all, until he stepped out of my space again. Thus, him blocking my way made the game end immediately, whereas making room for me started it again. He learned that very quickly. :smile:


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 23, 2013 4:31 am 

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This topic has been an interesting read for me...

I had the cutting off issues and aggression when no more food was given (especially if Kami new I had some left). It took me ages to work out what to do :blush: I stopped using them for awhile to get her out of the routine of expecting them every time I came to interact. She is food aggressive in the herd also and moves the others (except Nambi) away when she wants too.

I finally decided to start walking away, not looking at her (almost ignoring her as I watch Nambi do), sometimes like Josepha said and widening my arms out with or without my grooming stick (a long whip). I had to communicate to her I could not cope with her actions and they were frightening me - wanted her to realise she is powerful and stronger than me physically - know her own strength.

Like Marlene I was too was feeling very non-assertive and weak and soft. I remember mentioning this to Imke and she said - you can never be too soft with a horse :smile:

I have not done any clicker training (guess i need to look into it - i had and aversion to if for some reason) to help also. I still have to be mindful how I use treats with Kami. I also was giving treats 'just because' for awhile and still do sometimes but not as much - feel I was too lavish with them in the beginning.... Guess i was stuck for anything good to do with them when they first came as they were so anti human.

I also did not want to block the energy flow of forward movement or get in her way so I had to move away. Standing still did not work at all for this challenging mare - it was dangerous as I found out. I had to learn to MOVE :sun:


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 23, 2013 9:01 pm 
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Tracey, what you said is very interesting, as I have found that the method you described, walking away and completely ignoring, works well with Skylark, but only if I do this with complete focus and resolve. If I try to do this, but do not really mean it, then I may as well not even try!
I do find that Romy's suggestion of standing still works with Skylark, but I think that this is because she is young, and has a short attention span! She gets bored and walks off. The first method seems to be more 'conversational' to me, as a process of getting the message across that "I want to be left to my own personal space now, please :smile: "

So, personally, I use both these very different methods but depending on the situation. I also have tried to give the clear visual aid of arms out etc, but Skylark seems to find this fascinating and it draws her closer somehow :funny:. She responds better when I clearly ask her to back away or to the side, using my hips as the main body language.

The other thing that I wanted to comment on was what you said about "you can never be too soft with a horse" :f: I love this and it is very true to how I feel in my heart. But I do feel that it is something that I do have to regularly remind myself of - sometimes when Skylark in particular is so huge and exuberant in her character, I find that I tune up the volume too much and my softness dwindles.


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 28, 2013 5:30 pm 
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This morning while working in the pasture, I realized that stimulus control plays quite a big role in my interaction with my horses. I always thought it did not, and actually it's slightly different from the way many other people use stimulus control. My horses usually get rewarded for any exercise they offer, regardless of whether I had asked for that exercise or not. Sometimes I even give a treat in response to an offer that I am not particularly interested in (see this thread: Treats as communicative feedback). So where is the stimulus control?

First, it's in the fact that my rewards depend on how much I like what they do and how good I feel about it. For example, the horses don't get rewarded, or not very enthusiastically, if they did a wonderful exercise but it made me worry about my safety (e.g. Pia running towards me on her hindlegs while waving her frontlegs in the direction of my face). On the other hand, for the 20th repetition of an exercise I don't reward as enthusiastically as I did for the first one or two. The result of this is that they don't just choose the things they do based on the exercise itself (throwing exercises at the human) but closely look at the human's expression. Thus, they learn to only offer exercises that the human feels good about.

But besides this more emotional aspect there is a situational kind of stimulus control, which I became aware of this morning. It's in the dependence of my reaction to their offers on the context. With context I mean all kinds of things like my current activity, the place we are at or the presence of other hoses or humans. I realized this because Bacardy still offers all kinds of exercises in a way that does not seem to depend on the situation at all. That is, for example he offered his leg lifts no matter if I was busy with the hay or not, no matter if I was looking or not, and no matter if I had any free resources to focus on him or not. Or he offered backing up so that he was standing in my way. This made me realize that my other horses don't do that. They don't offer exercises that seem inappropriate in a given situation. For example when I am pushing a wheelbarrow, they sometimes walk in front of me, yielding away from the wheelbarrow in shoulder-in. But they don't rear in front of the wheelbarrow, or don't offer leg lifts while standing in my way. Similarly, they rear next to me while I am watering their hay, but they don't offer any exercises in movement that would require me to come with them. And then there are situations where they don't offer anything at all, which perfectly coincides with the moments when I have no free time or capacity to do something with them.

This made me conclude that they have learned what exercise, if any, will be rewarding in a given situation, during a particular activity or at a particular place. I like this kind of "emergent stimulus control", because it prevents the performance of innappropriate exercises, but it does so in a way that is directly tied to the actual requirements of the situation. In that way, it does not only create horses that are safe to interact with but who seamlessly integrate themselves and their communicative acts into the currrent activity. This, in turn, makes it possible for me to not strictly differentiate between time for work versus play, because both is possible at the same time. :f:


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 28, 2013 7:13 pm 
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Romy wrote:
I like this kind of "emergent stimulus control", because it prevents the performance of innappropriate exercises, but it does so in a way that is directly tied to the actual requirements of the situation. In that way, it does not only create horses that are safe to interact with but who seamlessly integrate themselves and their communicative acts into the currrent activity. This, in turn, makes it possible for me to not strictly differentiate between time for work versus play, because both is possible at the same time. :f:
You're so right! :idea: I never thought of it as stimulus control, but it is exactly that. Except that the control seems to emanate more from the horse, contrary to the conventional idea of stimulus control being something that comes from the training skills of the human handler. In fact it's a result of the exceptional observation skills of the horses 8).

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