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PostPosted: Mon Mar 21, 2011 8:01 pm 
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I did a quick search but didn't find what I need (crunched for time today :sad: ) but I was wondering if anyone could point me in the right direction as far as books & websites for beginners who want to learn clicker training? 8)
The reason being: a boarder at my barn who owns the BML mustang told me she'd like to try this with the mare, hoping it would help give her exercises to calm the mare's anxieties. She wants to watch me do C/T with Diego but she also wants "the basics" as she's still new to groundwork & training. I wasn't sure what names or books to recommend... as I simply learned it from you guys. ;)

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 21, 2011 9:07 pm 
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Alexandra Kurland's books seem to be well received and useful for beginners. Lots of pictures that suggest the sequences involved in reaching a desired behavior, etc.

http://www.theclickercenter.com/

I'm not recommending her work over anyone else's in particular. There's plenty to draw from in a search:

http://www.bing.com/search?q=horse+clicker+training&form=OSDSRC

Many BLM mustangs go through a gentling period with volunteers mostly so it's difficult to judge where this one might be in calming and accepting people.

Here we have Kali Kiger who recently is posting more, and worked with mustangs. She might be able to put the plot together better than i.

The few range bred horses I've worked with seemed to go through a very resistant period, but when they come over they really do bond to the handler, and sometimes to all humans as well.

Each is an individual of course, and that needs to be considered. I think some research on mustang gentling is of more importance than the kind of "training," one uses, though of course I tend to have a bias toward the more gentle ways.

I can neither recommend any methods over another, or warn against any methods over others offered at the websites and their offereings listed in the search results at the following link:

http://www.bing.com/search?q=gentling+mustangs&form=OSDSRC

There might be people more in your area that are familiar with mustang handling. They certainly go to all the far corners of the U.S.

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 22, 2011 1:43 pm 
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Aha thanks Donald! :) That's the lady I was looking for but couldn't remember her name... I will print out some info from her website for the lady. She tells me she was going to try it a few years ago with Sugar (the mustang) but she had a major disagreement at a previous barn with the woman who was "helping" her learn. (apparently the woman taught targeting before charging the clicker OR working on treat manners and Sugar got muggy, then the woman went behind her back when asked to stop) :roll: I explained my misconceptions about clicker training too, since my first taste of it was seeing my parents with our dogs and it was messy and all about them getting FOOD rather than the interaction. Seems we both had a bad taste of it at first but she's willing to try again. :yes: That's good. I'm a bit floored she asked for info from me, so I better not screw this up! :funny:

As for the gentling of the mare in general I'm not sure where she is along the lines of mustang gentling. This woman has owned her 3 years, the mare is about 13 years old. A rather kind, regal - but very skeptical horse, especially of men. She does NOT like our Barn owner. :funny: :roll: ;) Her owner can brush her, pick up her front hooves, lead her in calmer situations... etc. She's still really touchy about her hind end and doesn't always want her tail brushed. Hind feet haven't been attempted yet. The owner can get on a stool and lay across her back on occasions, I've even heard the mustang almost went to sleep with her like that once. She obviously trusts the lady, but they are both new at this and there is anxiety for both of them. Mistrust, etc. I think on the human side of it - it's been easy to fall prey to everyone else's comments or fears "Oh it's a WILD HORSE." and though the mare has never offered to harm her owner, that mentality of a ferocious fighter still comes to mind and creates fear. Even I personally fall victim to it, I remember walking up to her pen one time feeling 'nervous that I was nervous" if you know what I mean... I was honest with her though and breathed to her that she was rather awe inspiring (HUGE bone structure...the horse is like a tank!) and I was a tiny bit intimidated by her. She just kind of looked at me, studied me for awhile. She will take a treat from my hand but is often suspicious of my motive... I think people in the past used it to grab her halter. :sad:

I think she'd catch on to clicker training really quickly though... her pen is right next to the round pen and she has gotten used to leaving her hay and standing next to the fence watching me do C/T tricks with Diego. ;) It seems to interest her very very much.

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 22, 2011 2:13 pm 
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Oh, please do report how this progresses! :yes:
I´m very interested in CT right now. I´m practicing a rather crude, autodidactic version of it with Mucki. So I should get myself to read the basics one day. I basically took the idea of CT, read the postings here about introducing food rewards and off we ventured into the world off positive reinforcement. Don´t know if we are doing it right - so far no catastrophes. But there sure is room for improvement.

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 22, 2011 2:29 pm 
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I am definitely interested in how it will progress as well. :yes: Especially starting with a clean slate like an adult mustang...

Houyhnhnm wrote:
I basically took the idea of CT, read the postings here about introducing food rewards and off we ventured into the world off positive reinforcement. Don´t know if we are doing it right - so far no catastrophes.


That is exactly what I did with Diego when I came here. (everyone jumped in and helped teach by giving experiences and advice) I don't even use a clicker as I don't like alot of equipment, I just use a tongue click. It takes alittle practice some days to make sure that certain "sharp" click sounds right in my mouth, but D seems to know that click compared to little short ones. And I have certain noises I've incorporated that I guess are "bridging signals" like Donald talks about. A "warmer" or "colder" type communication. Some are words, some are sounds. I tried to pull from the noises I already use with Diego and associate them specifically. It needed to be an easy change/transition for me, because I was so out of sorts with this new way of training, new barn, new philosophy... I was so lost. I feel like we have a good language on the ground together now, thanks to clarity in communication. Personally what I need to look into now is how to incorporate it into mounted exercises. :yes:

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 22, 2011 11:47 pm 
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That's a coincidence! Just today when tidying up our youtube account I rediscovered the video of Rumba by Georgia Bruce.

She's an Australian Paralympic dressage rider and... clickertrainer! :D
This is the clickertraining part of her site: http://www.horsetraining.org/clicker-training/
I haven't read it all, but as she's a rider I guess that she also writes about clickertraining while riding.

By the way, a really nice news item on the same site:

Clicker Training Horses News- Steffan Peters Uses Clicker Training with his FEI World Cup Winning Grand Prix Dressage Horse:
http://www.horsetraining.org/news/2009/ ... ining.html

I thought it was a wonderful thing to read! :)

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 23, 2011 2:14 am 
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Here's some of our youtube vids that might be helpful. I find the Alexandra Kurland materials to be more helpful with timid horses. If her horse is mugging, she might do better with Leslie Pavlich's faster pace? There's also Shawna Karrash of On Target Training and the SMAART program. If she were to post on AND about what she needs help with, we could recommend specific videos. There are so many free ones online.

Horse Training With the Initiator Signal - Asking Your Horse's Permission
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ynPDdlnWFWw

Desensitization with Tarps - Clicker Training
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4VJwHCAP3d4

Innovate - 101 Things to do with a Box, Kids Clicker Training Ponies
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r90CRCeCRds

Part 1: Rekindling an Ex-Race Horse's Interest in Humankind - Haltering King
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VdiYseph0gQ

Part 1 - How Your Horse Learns: Why it goes bad before it gets good again
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oCP5XcYQshw

Part 1: Horse Behavior/Body Language Study with Rescue Mustangs - Catching Game
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z-9h0_UkYTQ

Equine Body Language Study, Training Horse to Pick Up Feet
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GRoJy-RFdKY

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 23, 2011 4:25 pm 
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Awesome! Thanks guys :)

Miriam - I will definitely check out the mounted stuff... I used the same technique as on the ground and Diego responded ok but it is so awkward for me to deliver treats and get the timing right, I have wondered if I'm doing something wrong. :blonde:

I had no idea about Steffan Peters. I have some friends who are obsessed with him, but I never really paid attention to him. It makes me so glad to see someone say they're working with positive reinforcement and want a willing horse of his own accord. :yes:

Kali - great stuff! Makes me wish I could watch videos at work, I'm dying to see these! Very good point about different styles working for different horses. I don't know what method I learned... but this is important I feel for myself and Diego. D is very pushy and demanding and at first food nearly sent him over the top.
Sugar on the otherhand, (even though she got a bit snatchy previously) I feel would be a more timid personality in general. I clarified with her owner and she did mention Sugar "reaches" more than actually invading a human's space. Diego just bursts right into your space with his chest and if needed will push you out of the way. :roll:


On a general note I took a small print out from Alexandra's website to the barn yesterday and gave it to the owner. She was very happy and said she would look into her materials. Currently her internet is down so she can't view all these great videos until they get it back. :sad: But I will send her the link.
She also wants to meet this weekend to watch alittle 8) cool.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 23, 2011 7:21 pm 
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i do also clickertraining and give lessons in it.
The most important thing to begin with is that the horse is polite to you....always....even there is food to earn. ;)
This can you get when you are consistent, have the right energy, and the horse is relaxed. i mean with that that he is not over exited, in a state of mind "i wanted that cookie and nothing else" Otherwise the horse wont learn anything.

I first learn the horse that a click means a cookie, put the horse behind a fence or in a box for your savety if you do not know what the horse will do, or is in a state of mind "i wanted that cookie"
You click and give direcly a cookie, this will go in a quiet flow...slow and easy...no stops in it. You will see at the horse if he understand the click and that he will get a cookie.
Then you stop for that session! Go an other time furter.

When you start for the second time you click and give a cookie for a few times, to check if he still know what the meaning of the click is.
Then you start with the first exercise. Use your hand and place it it front of the horse, he have to thouch your hand with his nose, as soon he thouch your hand you click and then give a cookie.
Set it up for succes!! So made it in the first time easy for the horse, so he can not avoid your hand, like a bit of a accidental.
Can you follow me? dont know the exact english word for it.
Then you put your hands in differend places in front of the horse, at his left side, right side, above, below and so on.
So he slowly understand that he need to do something before there come a click and then the cookie.
Dont practise this too long, only 5 or 10 minits. It is better to train this 2 or 3 times a day a few minits then 30 minits
Still the horse is behind a fence or in a box if you practise this.

The next day you check if he still knows it.
Then you learn the horse to be polite. For example the horse have to go one step backwards before he get the cookie.
Or turn his head away from you before he get the cookie, it is what you personaly prefer.
The first one is better when the horse is to far in to your personal space, but you will know that when you work with your horse.
It is not a first rule each horse is different.

When the horse understand all this, then he is ready to do more with clickertraining. Then he is ready to learn new things.
Because you trust him, he will not bite, pushing, or what ever. You own your personal space so you have "room" to move or give signals which the horse have to follow for a new exercise.

As long the horse does not respect this, clickertraining will be quite difficult to do. But that is mine opinion.
In mine diary you can find a link to two little movies i made from my pony, i started clickertrain her and film the progress.

She have still some days were she relapse in her behavior and think 'i wanted that cookie and nothing else" i did not have taped it yet, i have to do that. Sometimes i get frustrated (i know it is wrong :blush: ) But i ignore her as much is possible.
i dont give her any attention or commands.

i work then with the other ponys, who are polite ;) but they are much older, so they have already learned how to behave. She is so young and have to learn more.
When she is relaxed again, i ask her to join us when it goes well i give her some commands when she still is in the same mind, i ask her to leave again, or ignore here.
This give after a few times some good results. She get every day better :)

But as long a horse is chase/persue you for a cookie you can't go further with the training. Or you have to leave the cookie away.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 23, 2011 9:15 pm 
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Fantastic, Inge

I hope your advice is taken on the subject of starting with clicker training. I do reviews from time to time, even going all the way back to charging the clicker, and accepting, rather than taking treats.

I had forgotten that I had to use "one step back for the treat," with Dakota four years ago. Great reminder and excellent advice for the person and horse just starting out with +R.

Have you ever looked at SATS, the Bridge and Target method? I found it fascinating. A great deal of "language," is built with the horse (any animal, bird, reptile) in this method.

Among the first things to do is to name all the body parts of the animal so you can communicate about what you wish and even tell the animal what you are going to do.

I taught this to my wife of many years ago (she is gone now RIP) when she wanted to find a way that made sticks and blood draws (she was a laboratory med tech) with small children.

I told her to be honest, to name the parts of the child to the child, no matter how young, that were going to be touched and pierced, and to tell the child it WAS going to hurt and to instruct the parent to NOT tell the child it WASN'T.

The first child she did it with, a toddler being held by mommy who was telling him to be brave and that it wasn't going to hurt, and of course screaming his head off, when she explained precisely what she was going to do to his arm, and that it WOULD hurt some and them be okay, he quieted. She, of course, continued using this throughout her career until she retired.

I am a strong believer the horse, and other animals, are very good at nouns and verbs identification IF we make the connection for them.

And what do we start with with human children? After "mommy," and "daddy?" Why, naming body parts, of course. Those nouns stay with them because they are part of them. And they can review lessons themselves very easily.

Once the nouns are clear to the horse, the verbs are easy. Horses are already very verb focused, action based behavior is language to them. Well, to all of us really.

And there, as you know from your own work, is a set of targets handy for use in combinations. Hip, chin, eye, ear, rump, hock, etc.

One of the first things I taught Altea when I got her, via clicker training, was to spin. I taught her to reverse target my flat hand ... move that body part away from it I presented my hand to, and to approach and touch two fingers wiggling with the nearest body part.

I'm sure you can see it in your imagination. Her head coming to my fingers, her hips moving away from my palm.

If I reversed them, she stopped and changed direction. We had great fun.

She, as horses will do, voluntarily transferred this to my whole body cues, somethings horses know from each other so well. I need not ask her to move over (as must Bonnie who has yet to learn these particular signals well) but simply step into a pathway and travel close to her. If I turn my full body toward her as I pass, she really moves over strongly. Even while eating, without, as you can guess, losing a single chew on hay. LOL

I can call her into a trailer by leaving her at the back opening, and sticking my hand inside the front window and wiggling my fingers for "touch face."
I back her out the same way, wiggling fingers near the root of her tail and saying to touch rear-end, and out she comes.

In fact, I no longer need to say anything, just wiggle my two fingers. Bonnie does know this one, and has followed me about the yard, backwards, and thinks it great fun.

A very quiet way to load, and teach loading.

The SATS Bridging signal has made all this more sophisticated and effective.

Thank you, Colinde, for letting me jump in.

Donald, Altea, and Bonnie Cupcake

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 24, 2011 7:29 pm 
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Thank you Donald that is was clear what i had written. :) I know about SATS this can be very usefull.
you give also a good idea about trailerloading....Not that mine ponys have any problem with that, but i can try it also as a game, to get even better with body/hand cues.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 25, 2011 2:23 pm 
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Inge, I loved reading that. Makes me realize how much work I have to do with Diego.. I forget we are still very new to CT ourselves. :blush: I also realize I've been subconsciously 'psyching him up' trying to get extra excitement and energy out of him when we CT, but it is blocking him from being relaxed and he is being more aggressive because he can't calm down. I also get too caught up in the 'hurry' to treat him, and in the process I'm accepting some rude behavior from him that I shouldn't be (coming into my space etc.).

Donald, your descriptions also reminded me I have alot of different cues I can come up with... the spinning thing was too cool. Maybe I should try to find some cue for Diego to actively turn away from me...since he's got the "come to me" thing down.


I'm sending the link to this topic to the lady at the barn this morning, actually. She's been reading on CT and is interested to get more details. :)

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 25, 2011 5:53 pm 
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just ask and i try to anwer it.
maybe make a little movie to explain it better?? It depents on the questions if i can make it more clear with a video

When you clickertrain be self relaxed too, think about your breathing, it should be low. Your arms and legs and so on have to move slowly also. So your bodylanguage is more clear to the horse and for you to see on what sign the horse give a reaction.
When you know on what sign the horse give the right movement then you click and remember you what cue you had given.

If your horse know the click is a "good" signal then it doesn't matter that the cookie comes a little bit later.
Thats why you have to train the click and cookie first. In this part the click and cookie have to follow quick after each other.
As you can see in my movie http://www.youtube.com/user/bitloosrijden?feature=mhum#p/a/u/2/eFnK-E1Lt_Y
When your horse knows this exactly then you can go ask for more things.

In the first part you see click and cookie and i ask nothing else, just click and cookie.
In the second part i ask for touch my hand i click and then the cookie follow.
After doing this you stop and do something else, but no clickertraining.

The next day you ask the same so you can check if the horse still know it. If you see some... i dont know..., just ask the same and nothing more. The first start is very important.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 25, 2011 6:33 pm 
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inge wrote:
When you clickertrain be self relaxed too, think about your breathing, it should be low. Your arms and legs and so on have to move slowly also. So your bodylanguage is more clear to the horse and for you to see on what sign the horse give a reaction.

I think I tend to "match" Diego's excitement, and then my actions become much quicker. He is ok with this, but at the same time it is probably interfering with us having a clear body 'language' together. :yes: So yeah...I agree, I'm probably confusing things by not staying constant and moving too fast.

Quote:
If your horse know the click is a "good" signal then it doesn't matter that the cookie comes a little bit later.

That is what I needed to hear. Really... a problem I've been struggling with lately. Diego is to the point where he very much understands the click means "yes! You did it right". As soon as I click he starts nickering and becomes very proud of himself for doing it right. ;) I think I had been too concerned that he would feel cheated if it took me too long to get a treat out of the pouch and give it to him. I am clumsy and sometimes have trouble with the pouch zipper or dropping the treat. :blush: I guess I am being too hard on myself trying to be "perfect" for my horse. Basically giving the treat quickly had become more important in my mind than relaxation or manners.

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 26, 2011 2:54 pm 
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Just a small note: I specifically reminded myself lastight that we should always be calm, polite and slow about the treat after I clicked. Our whole atmosphere changed for the better. Even if I was slow, I was steady and it didn't seem to affect Diego negatively that I took alittle longer to deliver a treat.. Working together was SO much easier. :cheers:

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