Experienced horse Clicker Trainers, I need help/ideas to induce a behavior
I've been using the clicker to do carrot stretches and other exercises from Hilary Clayton's Activate Your Horse's Core dvd and book.
The stretches are easy, with targeting, but I'd like to do the tummy lifts with the clicker.
Obviously he's not going to randomly offer this, and so far I've just been using a stiff brush under him to get him to lift, and clicking the lift. (Actually using a voice marker, cause I can't hold clicker and brush at the same time.) But I'd really like to just cue it by tapping him with the end of the whip under his belly.
Present the whip tap just before the brush, just as though you were adding a voice cue. Or of course you could indeed just add a voice cue instead, such as, "Suck it up!" then use the brush, then your verbal reward marker ["yes" or "okay" or whatever you are using], then the reward.
Will you be able to hold the whip in one hand and the brush in the other? If not I'd just go with the voice cue, since you already mentioned juggling the clicker and the brush was a prob.
Or maybe you could see if vigorous scratching with your fingers/fingernails will get him to lift his tummy? If so, that might make adding whatever cue you want easier since you won't have to juggle the brush plus the clicker or the whip or whatever.
Doh. Of course I could use a voice cue! And then the key would be fading the brush...do I have that right?
Holding the whip and brush is very awkward, I tried that today. It's kinda difficult to see the lift, especially up close when you have your arms under the belly and your face in his ribs, hah. He doesn't lift for just scratching, and my fingers aren't strong (carpal tunnel) so I need something he will really draw away from.
It would be hilarious to be able to stand back and say, "Suck it up!" and have him tuck his tummy.
^I thought "suck it up" might make a cute trick, too, lol! Yup, if he reliably lifts his tummy to the brush, which I'm sure he does, then just say the voice cue first, then the brush (careful not to say it AS you use the brush or the voice cue will be blocked and he won't pick up on it). Pair them at least 12 times and then try the verbal alone to see if he's got it yet -- if not just pair it another dozen times or so til he gets it. (I'm sure you know the drill, but in case anyone else might be curious ...)
Have fun, those core stretches are such good things and I should have the discipline to use them myself!