The Art of Natural Dressage

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 05, 2008 3:54 pm 

Joined: Fri Feb 22, 2008 4:54 pm
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Location: USA Michigan
Hi Everyone, I will try to answer a few questions about Sats and the differences without writing a how to....for anyone who would like to learn how to, for now you can go to Kayce's website. Hopefully we can have a quick reference here after Kayce returns. I am more than happy to try to answer :D questions.
In Kayce's intro there is a link to her website, there you can hear the bridging.
One significant but often overlooked difference in techniques between clicker and BnT is that SATs doesn't free shape. Let me explain...
In free shaping, the process of successive approximations are used by selectively reinforcing specific aspects of a behavior that will eventually become the goal. A target isn't used. Some may use a food lure to lure the animal into a position, however food can over shadow learning. A bridge is used to mark the approximations. Some trainers have success with this but they generally are very keen in setting up very controlled conditions. What is often seen in less controlled situations is frustration, with uncued behaviors being thrown at the trainer; sometimes even aggression. When free shaping, the trainer starts with a behavior that the animal is doing or offering and the trainer builds on this to a specific behavior goal that is in the trainers mind, the animal has not had the behavior described to him and will make a series of trial and error behaviors trying to figure out what the correct answer is.
With SATS we teach targeting in small steps, it may look like shaping ( successive approximations) however it is not , it is precise.Starting with a simple target that describes a behavior to the animal, then gradually describing the complex behavior by adding more target points if needed. Each step or idea is precisely defined and reinforced. However, once the goal behavior has been described one can use successive approximations to enhance the known behavior that is on a cue. So, in SATS the behavior is precisely defined in small steps, the animal can easily meet the criteria of the trainer, each step is defined. Aspects of successive approximations are used once the animal knows the behavior, but we will use it for a specific aspect or parameter of the known behavior.
Another aspect that is used is the Intermediate bridge, we use it as continuous feed back to let the animal know that he is correct but not done yet. Often it can be confused as a KGS but it isn't really that either. Because we describe everything about a behavior we can name and describe for instance "wait" or "hold" then use the intermediate bridge to let the animal know he is correct and on the way to success. The IB has some nuances that a KGS may not have, depending upon how a individual is using a KGS.
So, SATs uses targets and Bridges, a intermediate bridge called and IB and a terminal bridge TB.
We teach multiple targets with names and a hierarchy, name and describe target points and body parts, which we can use to describe complex positions through these contact points.
The 2 way communication comes into training by using the target, so the animal is giving us feedback as well. One is that if he touches the target he is saying he understands that point of behavior and two, that he wants to be engaged with us.
This is a brief overview of the technique. If anyone has a question please feel free to ask and I will do my best to answer and then we can ask Kayce to expand on anything I miss.
As Miriam said , she actually has or was using some of the BnT technique with her clicker training, then she realized where it came from :D
I myself haven't tried to blend the techniques so I cannot say how it would work with 2 distinctly different bridge sounds. For me the verbal bridges help so much, since I generally have enough in my hands when working with the horses :lol:
Whichever technique or techniques someone uses, I am sure if your here on AND reading this, it is without force and a respectful relationship with your horse is your number one goal.
BEST WISHES,
Carrie

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Force no matter how well disguised begets resistance.
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 05, 2008 4:35 pm 
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Great post!

I don't think that clickertraining depends on using a clicker, or SATs on a vocal terminate bridge: after all, both methods are also used with deaf animals who learn by using a lightflash as TB.

For me the difference lies more in the philosphy that lies behind the methods: how do animals like to be trained the most and how can their training be most effective?

Quote:
In free shaping, the process of successive approximations are used by selectively reinforcing specific aspects of a behavior that will eventually become the goal. A target isn't used. Some may use a food lure to lure the animal into a position, however food can over shadow learning. A bridge is used to mark the approximations. Some trainers have success with this but they generally are very keen in setting up very controlled conditions. What is often seen in less controlled situations is frustration, with uncued behaviors being thrown at the trainer; sometimes even aggression. When free shaping, the trainer starts with a behavior that the animal is doing or offering and the trainer builds on this to a specific behavior goal that is in the trainers mind, the animal has not had the behavior described to him and will make a series of trial and error behaviors trying to figure out what the correct answer is.


Both using targets and using freeshaping have lots to say for them. So maybe if you want to post a topic on SATs in the research section, it might be good to tell more about how you can use them both in a positive way? Because now you do point out (very true) risks of freeshaping, but it does have some benefits too, and it can also be done in a good way. Freeshaping and clickertraining aren't evil. ;)

It would be nice to be able to bridge the gorge between the camps of CT and SATs over here. Both of the methods have a lot of things to say for them, and both of them actually use very similar things. After all, clickertrainers do use targets (original clickertrainers don't lure with food by the way!), and the fact that you teach your horse to touch a target in SATs can already be seen as a very subtle kind of freeshaping: after all, your horse at one point makes the decision to push his nose into the target, you didn't drag him towards it. ;)

I guess that in AND we do a lot with freeshaping because we stimulate a lot of mimicry: I trot in a funny way, and the horse copies that and goes into passage. But targetting can also really help a horse and trainer to get certain movements. For example, for raising the Spanish walk, I use a target in front of the horses' knee. It's not stricktly SATs, it's still clickertraining (without a clicker, I use a tongue-click ;)), but it shows that the ideas behind both methods can really support each other in giving the horse what he needs at that moment.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 05, 2008 5:29 pm 

Joined: Fri Feb 22, 2008 4:54 pm
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Location: USA Michigan
Oh yes Miriam exactly. I was trying to just point out some differences, not that one is awful to use and one the number one choice. :lol: Some trainers are very successful with free shaping, no doubt about it.
What I have found, is that the clicker is moving more towards the way SATs is used which actually when you use a target and a single marker, verbal or other wise it is a blending so to speak.
Your example with mimicry is where you could name it, and use an IB to get duration, modulate and change the pitch to mark moments of more expression. But, the beginning steps of the behavior were started with small precise steps that were reinforced.
So, using shaping and understanding how to use it will prove beneficial because you could and I use it to enhance aspects of the taught " idea" or single concept. So, once a target is faded, like your use of mimicry, it is probably on some cue, body language , and you will use what ever motivates energy and mark energy as part of piaffe for instance. Or maybe you were able to get energy and rhythm so again mark it. It is an aspect of successive approximations; shaping an aspect.
With freeshaping, I will write out examples of how to effectively use so that someone new will be successful with it , if they want to use it for teaching a behavior.
I have seen some folks use facial bridging, no sounds and I use tactile bridges also.
I feel as you do, that the most important thing is finding a way to communicate to the horse in the best way for that individual.
I too would like for people to be able to enhance whatever technique they use with SATs if they would like to. I am sure it is possible to blend the two.
Any ideas on an example of a behavior you would like me to attempt to explain? :D
Best wishes,
Carrie

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Force no matter how well disguised begets resistance.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 05, 2008 7:21 pm 
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danceswithmanypets wrote:
I feel as you do, that the most important thing is finding a way to communicate to the horse in the best way for that individual.


I can't agree more!

For some reason people tend to think, I choose A. So B must be wrong, evil, bad and very horrible. :roll: Being a clickertrainer doesn't mean that SATs trainers are controlfreaks and their horses are dull and brainwashed, just as being a SATs trainer doesn't mean that clickertrainers are totally clueless and their horses hyperactive and out of control. Some might be, 8) but an astonishing big amount exists of very normal, sensible people and horses. 8)

The fact that I choose A doesn't mean anything more than that A suits me and my horse best in that part of my life. And just because I choose A, it doesn't mean that A doesn't have any downsides. You mentioned all the risks of what can happen if you clickertrain in the wrong way, ;) but you can also give a list of 'risks' of SATs - or AND, or Parelli or or or... The world isn't black or white - it's made out of beautiful colors, with all their own characteristics. Just because the color red can make people more aggressive, doesn't make it a 'bad' color, the same as 'blue' isn't bad because it makes people calm. They have their own charactaristics, and our job is to find out what color suits us best right now.

So perhaps it is an idea to compare the philosophies of both training methods in a positieve way: stating what they are and what the ideas are behind that - and not by stating what they are not and why the other is wrong. That might not only create more mutual understanding between both sides :roll: , but also be more informative for people who don't know about either method and especially not about the sibling rivalry going on between them. :wink:


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 05, 2008 10:03 pm 

Joined: Fri Feb 22, 2008 4:54 pm
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Hi again Miriam, I am not the best at writing eloquently :oops: It was my way of trying to describe my observable differences,and to clear up any misunderstanding about SATs because in SATs we don't use free shaping and you had remarked that in BnT it was used. It was my way of trying to explain why this technique (SATS) doesn't. I didn't however mean it to sound that across the board freeshaping causes all of this this and this and that's why, it just has the potential to. I could have made it clearer about the use of free shaping and where it can benefit. With SATs some folks get discouraged in the beginning due to the process of teaching and testing ideas and steps, as well as some of the stages of convincing the animal to be engaged and motivated.
I used the clicker and clicker techniques for 10 years of better, then I started using SATs a little over 2 years ago. I enjoyed much success with the clicker, I enjoy the success I have with SATs. Since it wasn't that long ago that I used the clicker techniques with training I can still recall my confusion when first attempting to use SATs but with clicker techniques. So, I personally chose to just immerse myself with SATs to get a better feel for it. I think at first it is really difficult because of the differences. Not that one is bad or good, just different. The wonderful thing about both techniques is that the aim is to teach a common language without force.
The reason for me being here is to learn whatever I can to achieve teaching dressage without force and to enhance my relationship with my horses. I invited Kayce because I thought she would enjoy this too....and for the selfish reason of getting her to help me :lol: with developing steps towards more complex goals.
To tell you the truth , I hadn't even thought of bringing it up as another option, the only reason I may have brought it up at all was from inquiries or a question asked that I thought I could perhaps offer some direction towards success. I want to share my experience in the diary and inevitably my training involves SATs. I am also carving my way through uncharted territory(dressage at liberty) by trying to figure out how to present new ideas to my horse that will not confuse him and use SATs. Its tricky and challenging to say the least. So far, my horses haven't a clue as to how much study I put into this... :lol:
I guess the reason the uncued behavior offering stuck out for me with free shaping is that, that is part of the process. For some it may not be a bad thing at all, for others it has the potential of causing some conflict, not that across the board free-shaping causes ....this , that or the other.
On the flip side, if one has a horse that has a history of shutting down from force/compulsive training, using free shaping can help them come out of their shell because there isn't a wrong answer.
My intentions were to just try to give a brief overview of the more obvious differences, to me. Perhaps I am lousy free shaper :lol: and require the structure to keep me on track and not confuse the heck out my animals. I have seen some trainers get awesome results with free shaping, they are very keen observers,with excellent timing, they keep a clear goal in mind, and are very skilled at raising criteria without causing the animal to get frustrated or to stop offering behaviors all together. So the trainer that uses free shaping with success is skilled, no doubt about it because this trainer is able to communicate that one specific behavior is the one being marked and reinforced. This is difficult when you consider that behavior doesn't occur independently but rather as a steady stream, with other behaviors occurring at the same time.So it is a compliment and a testament to your skills when you are successful with freeshaping.
I hope this clears up my intent. In no way, shape or form did I want to offend anyone's personal technique that is working for them. If I did, I am sorry. I don't seem to have a way with words, so I will leave this up to Kayce to explain further before I create any more confusion. :oops: :(
Sincerely and Respectfully,
Carrie

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Force no matter how well disguised begets resistance.

Lakota proverb


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 05, 2008 10:38 pm 
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Don't apologize, you posts really make me think and they're really interesting!

I'm really interested in how teaching dressage with just targets is going to work. I can see movements like haunches-in, because that could be just a case of asking your horse to target one hand with his hip, and the other with his nose, while you walk backwards away from him (that's what I do with Blacky now in order to ask him for the right bent of his neck). But how would you go about teaching your horse to move sideways away from you, for example in a shoulder-in. Can you do that with targets alone? Do you hang a target over his back that he should then touch with his body, so that he moves away from you?

I can see why busloads of people just stick to the old pressure-release thing. 8) :wink:
Actually, a lot of clickertraining with horses is very traditional in that it exists of the old pressure-release system, done in smaller steps and with foodrewards. My idea when training the ponies is to delete the pressure/release. Where freeshaping/mimicry doesn't suffice or more clarity is needed, use targets to give for more precise actions (like not counterbending in the haunches in ;) ). My target by the way is very basic: I've taught the ponies to touch my hand when I snap my fingers with the nose as default response, and otherwise the bodypart that I'm pointing at.
Asking the ponies to move away from me I don't do with pressure/release, but set it up and wait: I just touch the bodypart that should move away, untill it shifts away, and then reward of course.
So it's quite a mixture!

By the way, I also started to use something else lately, something that sort of evolved on it's own during training the ponies in faster movements with me running along; a body-tag. When I run (and start to hyperventilate from my lack of training :roll: ) my regular click (tongue-cluck) sometimes loses it's timing, which is too bad if you just have that superb canter-jump. So I started using a body-tag for that: I quickly tap on the nearest bodypart as terminal bridge and then reward. That really works great and with a much better timing when running, and the pony's understood after just a very few times of clicking & tagging together. Do you know if other people do that too?


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 05, 2008 11:21 pm 

Joined: Fri Feb 22, 2008 4:54 pm
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LOL, that is why I am here...I intend to see how I will go about doing it :shock: If I knew, I would produce a DVD with steps....yes? ROTFL I really want to do it too, I guess just for the torture of my brain if nothing else. :lol: And, that is exactly why I asked Kayce to come here. I don't know if I could figure it out without some input. Well I use stations also and depending how they are explained I could use them.
Your taking the words out of my mouth, multiple targets to get the idea across fade out the targets once I have a name, then use my IB to work on parameters of the behavior.
I am pretty close to what your doing as well, I don't use any pressure with the yearling, he is mine. With Cree , the mustang, I have to introduce him to it because his owner will compete. I named it though and taught him with targets the behavior at liberty and then added rein pressure, ever so slight then the name then reinforcement. So at least he knew what to do with the pressure.
You can use as many different bridges as you like, you just teach them as a single idea. IME, once they understand markers, they will very quickly understand many. I often have to switch the bridges because if I xxxxxxxxx'd all day my mouth would hurt. :D
Tactile cues are really nice and teaching a tactile IB is very helpful. I use that with the farrier and the Vet, so they won't think I am a lunatic making weird sounds. :lol:
It rattles the brain doesn't it?
So far with Cree I have gotten a shoulder fore without touching him at all, just him targeting his shoulder. We will learn together.
Best Wishes,
Carrie

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Force no matter how well disguised begets resistance.

Lakota proverb


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 06, 2008 12:23 am 

Joined: Fri Feb 22, 2008 4:54 pm
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Miriam, I forgot to comment about mimicing. One of the things that was taught to me about this , is that when we do imitation and enjoy success it is because we ( the trainer) is showing the animal that we are as much a part of the "exercise" as the animal is and it becomes mutual play rather than work. It also allows the animal to teach and lead. So, in fact, SATs has suggestions for imitation and does use it ( of course with guidlines ) :) but it is a wonderful motivator.Your doing what works for your horses with a blend of positive techniques 8)
The targeting is the foundation of SATs with the Bridges, the IB being in my own personal opinion more important for me than the actual TB.
All the critters here perk up to the sound of an IB happening....fancy rats, macaw,cat, dogs and all 5 horses ( doesn't work with hubby anymore ) :?
Anyways, I just thought of that and wanted to tell you. I look forward to getting your feedback on how I will go about doing all of this with SATs
but I do like your techniques for canter and trot work. We will have to break it down and see how it can be used. Then we will have our brain cells catch fire. :P :wink:
Carrie

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Force no matter how well disguised begets resistance.

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 06, 2008 4:17 am 
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Miriam and Carrie,
Thank you both so much for exercising your brain cells here. You've both brought up many of the things that I've been thinking over about SATS,CT, freeshaping, mimicry in the last few days.

I have been blending a lot of different things as I've been feeling my way into what works for me and mine. Have come up against all sorts of problems, some mentioned by each of you, which have helped me to learn. Yes, some of my horses sometimes get completely hypo with CT approximation.... and yes, they become a little boring and difficult to encourage towards self expression with too much controlled BandT etc etc.. and I'm sure that these problems are really coming from my own ineptitude in the application of the techniques.. unfortunately I'm not one to learn by others mistakes. :roll: , I insist on making my own. :lol:

I have come to believe though that there's lots to be gained by blending.. most of my problems stem from not understanding fully enough the implications, cause and effect, and not knowing where or how to differentiate clearly between different techniques. As I become more skilful and knowledgable, I think I will find myself becoming more and more adept at choosing a technique to suit a situation, a specific task, a specific horse (or different trainers as I teach others). And knowing how to transmit to the horse what my expectations are in each different type of training so that they know when to be precise, when they need to experiment, and when they're being invited to freely express themselves.

So.. I'm so glad that you are both able to share freely your knowledge and perceptions about the different techniques, without the need to go bi-polar about it. :lol:
Miriam, you're absolutely right, dualistic thinking, if A is right, B must be wrong, is so limiting.

Carrie(?) said:
Quote:
On the flip side, if one has a horse that has a history of shutting down from force/compulsive training, using free shaping can help them come out of their shell because there isn't a wrong answer.


Yes, I agree. This is one instance that I think really suits free shaping techniques, (although specific teaching is good for some tasks for these horses too).

Something that we do here in AND which (correct me if I'm wrong) isn't used in SATS, is spend a lot of time (and energy!) encouraging the horse to express and experiment with their own natural behaviours, with or without the use of freeshaping.

The benefits of this are three fold. THe first is, this is a main ingredient for obtaining natural collection. Yes, it can be trained, with targets, CT or BandT, and we do that too... But that's only part of the equation of what most of us feel to be real collection. The other part is in the mind. The intangible quality of life, expression, vivacity, power, exuberance, joy, passion. This is where the free work comes in, encouraging the horse to be joyous and uninhibited and connect with one of it's natural behaviours that has so sadly, usually been repressed out of it's repertoire. (Only to have a sad parody of it forced back in again later. :cry:) I don't know if this same quality of SELF expression could be obtained from simply training it. I'd love to hear what Carrie and Kayce think about this.

The second reason for encouraging the horse towards FREE self expression - that is, not even free shaping, simply delighting in spontaneous play and responding creatively to what the horse has to offer - is that it changes the quality of the relationship.

No matter how good you are at CT or BandT, you're still in the position of employer/ employee, boss/worker, master/student. In fact, probably, the more skilled you are at that, the more the horse will be looking to you for direction and instruction. By changing the quality of the relationship to add much more of a friendship dimension, we add another form of motivation for the horse to follow our ideas, and increase our significance. One of my best friends back in NZ was also my boss. In work hours, we had a healthy, mutually respectful working relationship, with clear demarcations of responsibility and decision making. After work, we were equals, once again mutually respectful, who enjoyed playing, relaxing, talking together, with no boss/employee discomfort. I like to believe this flexibility is possible with our horses as well.
I believe there is SO MUCH to be gained by opening ourselves up to the horses real friendship and communication... on every subject..not just that they understand the target,
both on a personal level (what I gain from it) and on a training level (how it improves the horses ability to learn and respond to us).

The third reason..
I think horses can be much more difficult to get to the "Sophisticated Learner" stage than other animals that SATS trainers are commonly working with... not because of their innate nature.. but because of what's usually already been done to them in controlling, squashing, repressing, punishing, forcing. Horses are incredibly co-operative, so they learn quickly and solidly how to adapt to this sort of dynamic. And it can be so terribly hard to undo. Combined with that, even once we start with R+ training with a horse, we also have so many preconceived notions of what a horse must do, how they MUST behave, what constitutes politeness and acceptable behaviour, and many of these notions are completely counter to both the underlying philosophy of SATS, and to successfully encouraging the kind of feeling in the horse that will lead to the expressive natural collection we're looking for. These notions can be just as hard to undo in ourselves as in our horses. I find it quite amazing how often I encounter these notions still strongly at work in people who are using SATS with horses - bottom line, I must show him who's boss. (Not in you Carrie, which was why I was so delighted to meet you. :D )

Spending time in true free play, encouraging decision making, spontaneity and self expression in any form as long as it is safe, IME goes a long long way towards helping to undo the negative effects of previous (horse and human :wink: ) indoctrination. I've found myself peeling like an onion as I uncover and discard more and more layers of old junk.
And I've experienced almost miraculous changes in really shut down horses that I didn't get with specific training (B and T or CT) alone.
The results really show in their sense of pride, their self carriage, and their energy levels.
And of course, playing spontaneously is just plain fun!

Seems to me at the moment that there are specific areas that are more suited to one or other of the methods: B and T, successive approximation (CT), Capturing, and free encouragement of self expression...yes and even that ole pressure/release when used very sensitively and without escalations of pressure.

B and T style seems to be great for teaching something like a shoulder crunch, bow, laying down, etc.
I've also used if very successfully for teaching shoulder in, but to be completely accurate, I'd have to say that I also blended in just a tiny amount of pressure in the form of the direction of my walking body as the horse targeted nose to stick as it moved under her neck.

I still find that pressure and release is the simplest way to train and cue many things, but I limit it's use to a communication, not a demand. (Much the same as I would with a family member; I may gently put my hands on their shoulders to ask them to move out of the way and allow me to pass ..my mind is boggling at the thought of having to supply a target on the opposite side for them to move to :roll: , but I would never push, poke, flap my hands in their face or shake a stick at them if they didn't respond. :lol: )
And I look for alternatives that engage the brain whereever practical.

I can't begin to imagine how creative and athletic I would have to have been to have used B and T to train the liberty airs above ground that Sunrise is now athleticising herself with.. or how long it would have taken us to get there. By using free play, with just a little shaping and capturing, she's performing these moves that can take years to achieve, in just six months. Of course they're not perfect, and they're not on cue yet, as they would be if I trained successively, but my goal is not to put on a show, my goal is to allow her to experience a high level of fitness, athleticism, agility and collection, and to learn to enjoy her vitality.

My two most abused horses responded best to the two methods in tandem.
Having very clear communication with B and T increased their confidence and stopped oppositional defensive behaviour.
But rewarding and encouraging spontaneous actions (no wrong answers) was what put the joy back into their lives.
Initially I tried to differentiate between "task time", when I'm asking for something specific and "play time" when I'm encouraging self expression with a "cordeo on/cordeo off" routine. But I think that with careful attention to my intent and my language, this is unneccassary. THere is still some confusion now.. but that's usually because I'm not clear about what I want.


So, please, Carrie and Miriam, and all others, don't stop the information flow. It's such a wonderful opportunity expand our knowledge and our thinking. I'm really excited to learn more about all these techniques and investigate the pros and cons and pitfalls of each so that I can choose and apply what's best in each unique situation.

:D :D

Sue


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 06, 2008 1:54 pm 

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Well, I just spent the better half of the morning writing a reply to have my computer dump me off the internet when I submitted the reply :twisted:
I had answered some of Sue's questions, I will try again later.....
At any rate, I will say this, that I am thrilled to be able to have a positive discussion on different techniques. Of course, this would only happen on this forum, this truly is a place where the philosophy we have towards animals is the same towards humans as well. We will carve a path through the forest leading the way towards a kinder, respectful world towards all beings.
HUGS
Carrie

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Force no matter how well disguised begets resistance.

Lakota proverb


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 06, 2008 3:10 pm 
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Welcome Kayce :lol: :lol:

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Jolanda
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our introduction with photos: http://www.artofnaturaldressage.com/viewtopic.php?t=744


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 06, 2008 8:01 pm 
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Yes, dropped right with the nose in the butter. 8) :lol:

I know that SATs works a lot with vocal cues, but horses have different learning styles (more auditive, or tactile or visual orientated) - does SATs provide in that too? I know for example that Blacky is really, really good at auditive cues. You can steer him around in all different gaits by saying very softly 'walk. halt. canter. back'. Sjors on the other hand is much more visually orientated.

It's most visible during the learning process (teach a cue) and confusion: If there's a conflict between bodylanguage and spoken cue, Sjors will go for the bodylanguage (see my toe-story :roll: 8) ), while Blacky will go for the bodycue. Do you notice differences in learning styles too, and how do you handle that in SATs?


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 06, 2008 9:19 pm 

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Hi Miriam, yes actually, I have tactile bridges too.
I have notice differences. I want to be able to give more detail, and today I tried like He :twisted: but for some insane reason I am getting booted off the internet. I wrote out more detail, answered Sue's questions yada yada and then bye bye. :(
Now that I have access I don't have time to type, so I will have to return later, but I did want to say that when we use targets they are in the very beginning and are faded, they can be on a verbal cue a tactile cue or a visual/body language. One trainer is deaf, she uses all hand signals including sign language. So when it comes to the actual behavior, the steps to teach ( the targets) are faded and it is on some kind of cue whether it is a verbal, verbal with bodylanguage or hand signal. Then we use aspects of shaping with the various parameters. Using the IB, we can encourage more duration or animation etc. Once the targets are faded the animal understands the concept. So intitially a shoulder in, may look a bit weird as the horse does it but there isn't any force cause he is at liberty. Side pass is first taught with shoulder hip, then one could just ask for a bit more shoulder with forward and you have the start of half pass. No more targets,just your verbal and or hand signals. Turn on the fore, hip targeting. Turn on the haunches, shoulder targeting. Ramener chin and poll. This is just to name a few. I will write more later, I wish I could stay, I find our discussions very fun and I hope that we will be able to provide information on all aspects of the methods used in training animals. Knowledge and informantion is empowering and will allow everyone to make the best choice for themselves and their horses. I actually wrote that all out today to only watch it go into cyper space :evil:
Take Care
Carrie

_________________
Force no matter how well disguised begets resistance.

Lakota proverb


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 06, 2008 10:00 pm 
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Joined: Thu May 17, 2007 8:18 pm
Posts: 4941
Location: Alberta
the secret was revealed to me long ago...maybe by Miriam, or Bianca...someone here told me.

Write a long post in a text program. Something you have on your computer. Then, when you're ready to post it, copy and paste it here.

I have lost some good responses (well, I thought they were good :wink: ) in the same way...either my connection lost, or some slip of the finger, press teh wrong key, and everything is just GONE!

So if you have some little notepad type of program, write there...then copy, and paste!

TaDa! No more lost posts!


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 07, 2008 4:26 pm 

Joined: Fri Feb 22, 2008 4:54 pm
Posts: 176
Location: USA Michigan
Hi Sue, I wanted to reply regarding some questions you brought to the table :lol:
You commented that you found BnT to be too controlling for some horses.
I personally have not found that at all, and I have had some really severe abuse cases here, a horse that couldn't be touched at all without him going
bi polar :lol: ( had to use that, very funny)The beginning stages of communication would look as if nothing was occurring to an onlooker, that's how subtle it had to be. The time it took, was on the horses time frame, not mine. Somewhat similiar to the way you described getting Sunrise to be interested in you. Food wasn't an option at first because he wouldn't take food that from me. There was too much time that elapsed to be able to condition a bridge or reinforce anything. I would have inadvertently reinforced freaking out, or the anxious behavior of human approach. Kayce taught me, personally with this horse. What I mean, is she guided me every step of the way. I consider myself very lucky to have had her as a mentor for this case. Also, this was my very first SATS case. Talk about jumping in without a life jacket :lol: He wasn't the first horse I ever trained, but my first SATS student. There were times that I wasn't sure if I was using the techniques correctly, I probably wasn't very skilled with it either. So, for me it wasn't controlling, it gave all of the control back to the horse. The first time ever in his life that this occurred. Could other techniques been used? I am sure of it but it would have still taken time. Rome wasn't built in a day :lol:
Regarding blending techniques....This is my take on all training, you have to have knowledge of cause and effect in the method you decide to use. This boils down to understanding the basic ideas/definitions of behavior modification and then understanding each and every individual animals, likes and dislikes. For instance, if you were here on my farm and wanted to do some work with Sid, and you were going to use horse cookies as +R, no matter the technique or bridge....you would send him away. He hates cookies. In fact, he would probably (piggy that he is ) take it, then feel punished after having it in his mouth. :(
Of course this is obvious to a person, that this did not positively reinforce the behavior. However, there more subtle things that occur as well....which I believe is what your concerns are with any training technique, horses are coooperative by nature. How do we know if a behavior is being reinforced or punished ? By observable behavior and knowing exactly what we did, what immediately followed the behavior....did the behavior increase in frequency or decrease ? Did we add something or remove it, was it something unpleasant that was removed or added? This is something everyone needs to know, and know the horse. Just because I think I am doing something positive ( and by the way, this gets mucky with me too ) Positive means adding, but we humans take it to mean , something we like. That is a whole other, chapter :lol: So, just because I think I am rewarding something doesn't neccesarily mean I am, In fact, in working with dogs with reactive issues, pre SATs, following the guide lines of experts in the field, keeping the dog subthreshold, which means no observable reactivity, taking the food reinforcer, I conditioned mild anxiety with chicken. Classical Conditioning. I am pretty good arent't I... :lol: So, through the years, I too made my own mistakes and enjoyed my successes. Is it horrible to make mistakes, I don't think so as long as the relationship is kept in tact and the number thing for me; SAFETY. I believe , everyone here has the same concerns and goals when it comes to safety. Which is why I believe Miriam would like to have information available for new people, that may have horse experience but not a diverse training background, they may not know all of the pitfalls of the different approaches or how to be successful with them. When you know what to look for, how to avoid it, how to set it up for safety and success, then you will not run into a serious issue. For me, because it is the internet, I cannot see another's skill or observe what the horses attitude or emotional response is...we can only go by....what behavior has increased in frequency....what immediately followed the behavior.....Does the behavior occur everywhere, or does it only occur in the corner of the arena at sunrise? If that wasn't the behavior you were aiming to teach, then you will need to go back and see how that is being reinforced.
Now, I feel like I am taking all the fun out of it, but really we can have alot fun, enhance our relationships with our horses by being informed.
So back to blending, SATs is a technique that is based on information, educating the animal. We use targets but there is much more than just targets. So like the clicker, telling the animal that behavior right there, I like it, so too is the bridging , naming and explaining. We have found that the IB is reinforcing on its own, I have found horses, dogs, birds to delight in the IB'ing.
So IMO, even with basic understanding of SATS it would blend with mimicry and pressure/release, in the way that you describe your use of pressure/release. Having knowledge of shaping and how to use successive approximiations, would blend with SATs after a behavior is understood and named. This area is where most people have difficulty with blending in the beginning because as I previously said, we don't teach a new concept or idea using shaping. This is where I had the most difficulty at first. I immersed myself with SATs because I believe it made me correct some of my faults as a trainer. This is my personal feeling. I know my own strengths and weakness, this has made me better and keeps me in check. Others may be so observant and skilled with clear goals, able to set up controlled enviorments, and clearly define that one behavior they want to increase in frequency without having other behaviors reinforced along with it. I cannot manage that with my current animals, they are very fast, offer multiple streams of behaviors in seconds. God only knows what I would create :lol: My point is, that with certain methods, one technique would be better suited than another. For free shaping, clicker technique....no IB's, it would I feel make it mucky, because you would want a clear precise well timed mark.
That said, aspects of shaping come into play with SATs after the behavior in taught and on a cue, what ever your cue is for that behavior. The targets have been faded, now its the animal and the cue/cues (verbal or otherwise) Now, we would use the IB's to enhance the various parameters of the taught behavior. Mimicry could come into this as well, to encourage energy or cadence whatever one is working on.
We do encourage self expression, play etc. It isn't talked about on the lists very often, but we do alot of this at workshops with Kayce. I use play all of the time for many different reasons, which I won't go into here, other than to say, we are always concerned with emotion and not just a behavior on a cue. The philosophy of SATs is a partnership with animals, so they do have choices with the exception of safety , there are mandatory behaviors, just as there are for us humans. If a particular animal doesn't understand what is expected of him in our society, then we show him without punishment...unless we or someone or another being is about to be injured or killed, then yes do what it takes.....but then go back and educate. In fact some very sophisticated animals, make lots of choices and descisions on their own. I personally have cried tears of joy when I finally see an animal that I have been educating make a choice on their own for their own emotional benefit. I have seen my guys go out and practice things on their own, I am delighted with that.
I think what you may have read with SATs as in many other tecniques as well, is that it was/is a blending of methods. Not everyone on the list is using pure SATS philosophy. They are using parts of the technique. This is where you read the dominance mind set. I know Kayce personally and she doesn't dominate anyone or any animal and she has never encouraged me or anyone to dominate. She will however point out where things could go down a dangerous path and what to watch for.
Prevention is the best medicine and knowing the animal. Heck, what many are doing here with horses at liberty could be injured without any intent by the horse to do so. So we need to just be aware, have keen observational skills, understand body language of the horse so that when he is telling us he doesn't like something, in a very subtle way, we recognize it before he has no choice but to "yell" at us. Then of course there's those instances, like Harley, Sid, ( Josepha's Ino ) were we, beyond a doubt know that they are just being stinkers, they know what to do instead of, they choose to be rebels without a cause. This doesn't hold up to our philosophy either. Mutual respect. I guess it really comes down to what each persons perception is.....regardless of technique.
Maybe we could put something together of questionable behaviors, what they may look like and what one could teach instead of. ????
As many of us know, alot of aggressive type displays are rooted in either fear or conflict.
So it would benefit everyone to recognize the first signs of conflict, anxiety in their own horse before it escalates to outward aggression/reactions.
Well, that's it for me now, hope I answered most of your questions....I want to write more on the methods of training....not technique but will do so in another post.
Thanks for your insight, I believe the insight of others is very important in opening the doors for further learning for everyone.
BEST WISHES,
Carrie

_________________
Force no matter how well disguised begets resistance.

Lakota proverb


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