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Training with treats - do you?

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  • #61
    One thing about behavior that's rewarded by variable reinforcement: it persists! Poor mare is on a "no treats" regimen right now, but if I go into her stall without her halter, she will run herself through her carrot stretches because she's sure there's a carrot coming! (She has recently diagnosed laminitis in one hoof, almost certainly mechanical rather than metabolic, but I've backed off the treats until we know more.)
    You have to have experiences to gain experience.

    1998 Morgan mare Mythic Feronia "More Valley Girl Than Girl Scout!"

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    • #62
      I suspect this is why my nearly 11 year old dog still steals socks...for the trade with the treat. We created the situation with the reward for giving up the sock!


      Originally posted by quietann View Post
      One thing about behavior that's rewarded by variable reinforcement: it persists! Poor mare is on a "no treats" regimen right now, but if I go into her stall without her halter, she will run herself through her carrot stretches because she's sure there's a carrot coming! (She has recently diagnosed laminitis in one hoof, almost certainly mechanical rather than metabolic, but I've backed off the treats until we know more.)
      Ride like you mean it.

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      • #63
        Originally posted by horsehand View Post
        Meupatdoes: You are obviously an advocate of clicker training and treats. Sounds like your a flippin' genius with the clicker. Your argument is that it is either clicker training, or everything else that is harder, slower, abusive and adversarial, which I find offensive.
        No, this is not my argument. Just because you deliberately misstate does not mean that is what I said. I have said (and third parties have pointed out to you, so it must have been written passably clearly) that THERE ARE TIMES when treating is the fastest and most effective method.
        Can I non-adversarily train a horse to stand at the mounting block? Sure. But if I add treats to the occasion with a difficult horse, it goes much faster. I can train the horse in one session for $25 instead of in three for $75. Owners like that.

        Originally posted by horsehand View Post
        But if the bottom line is, if you are getting your horse broke, and he stays broke, whatever you are doing to get there is good by me. If you got a horse to be good to get on and off by using treats, in a timely, effective manner, and now the horse will stand without them, it is all good in my book. If you can now clip a horse that once could not be clipped, that's great. That is the goal. But so you still need to use the treats or to use the clicker?
        No, I do not still need to use the treats.

        Originally posted by horsehand View Post
        Because when I see people that use a treat to simply get on and off, and use a treat to get in a trailer, or use a treat to bridle, and all manner of things, I see a horse that is not really broke to do any of those things. You may not be one of these people,(then I want your autograph) but I am yet to see it be that effective, or even handy in general. Its a hard sell for me.
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gviC13Pc0hM

        Where would you like me to send it?

        It may be a hard sell for you, and you may not want to employ the method for whatever reason, but criticizing other people for using something that you have no personal experience with (by choice) and saying it is unnecessary and the horses aren't really broke -when it's not like you TRIED treating and it FAILED you, you have just written it off from the outset- is a little premature.

        Maybe play around with teaching a horse a trick or two and see how it goes before you criticize others for something you have not even tried.
        The Noodlehttp://tiny.cc/NGKmT&http://tiny.cc/gioSA
        Jinxyhttp://tiny.cc/PIC798&http://tiny.cc/jinx364
        Boy Wonderhttp://tiny.cc/G9290
        The Hana is nuts! NUTS!!http://tinyurl.com/SOCRAZY

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        • #64
          Meup you missed your calling making buckets in the natural horseman clinics LOL
          ~~Member of the TB's Rule Clique ~~
          http://www.off-breed-dressage.blogspot.com/

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          • #65
            Meupatdoes: I am not going to argue. Thank you for posting. I watched the video. It does not show you using treats, other than there may be a morsel waiting for him. It may even help me with my point. This "self loading" is a common every day occurrence in my world. It's called a horse knowing how to get in and out of a trailer. I have seen better examples also. For instance (being uber- critical here, because your horse will obviously load and unload the rest of his life.). When you are presenting the trailer to the horse, he is not lining up. He is not getting ready. He swings his rear end. he is not thinking about going in until you finally have to push his nose in. You could getting him ready 15 feet away. Line him up, focus his attention, observe what he is thinking, feeling, what he is about to do and what he isn't about to do. Then you just send him, having all the ducks in a row. These are the important things. I have loaded horses with a rope around their neck while sitting on the bumper of the truck. That's just showing off. Nothing wrong with just leading them in anyway. When he is outside the trailer, is is all over the top of you. He walks right by you and over you, pushing right through the halter. You still do not really have a good feel of where his feet are, or in control of them. You should be able to stop him, back him up, move him over, whatever. But none of these things I have just mentioned have anything to do with using food to get it done. It is about feel and observation and presentation. Whether or not you reward him with food is irrelevant, because being aware of these other things is what is most important. So I am not against the treats, but it is useless unless there is something going alone with it. This is not a left brain, scientific approach. It is just an understanding.

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            • #66
              Originally posted by horsehand View Post
              "Quite frankly, I have a hard time trusting those horses trained with negative reinforcement. I don't want my horse to be "broke."

              There is that same black and white argument again. Either you reward your horse constantly, or you are some sort of barbarian, intimidating and harsh punishing kind of trainer. Its hogwash. There is a large area between making a horse and begging a horse.
              I am sorry these days the term "broke" is so offensive these days. Maybe the term habituated is better instead? Sounds more scientific, but it means the same thing. Habit is about a horse learning things the way he lives them every day. The horse you describe, eager to please and learn, socialized, is a broke horse in my book. He shouldn't need constant affirmation he is doing the right thing by giving him treats for his good behavior, as if it might all fall apart if you didn't. His reward is the way you treat him and approach him every day.
              Don't feed the troll

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              • #67
                ^^^ You asked me if I still needed treats to get trailer loading. I said no, I do not still need treats, and demonstrated.

                So first you criticized me for training at all WITH treats, and now you criticize (at length) the trailer loading WITHOUT treats.

                Nobody is allowed to post, "Hey, treats work for me!" because that is "unnecessary" and the horse's "aren't broke," but then when the horse still hops on the trailer without treats (which was apparently supposed to be a big 'gotcha') well then the without treats loading is All Wrong Too.

                Is there something the OP who initially asked the question is supposed to take away from your contributions? Just generally that whatever she is contemplating, it will probably be wrong as far as horsehand is concerned? Because apparently the purpose here is to tell everyone else they are doing it wrong no matter what they are actually doing.
                The Noodlehttp://tiny.cc/NGKmT&http://tiny.cc/gioSA
                Jinxyhttp://tiny.cc/PIC798&http://tiny.cc/jinx364
                Boy Wonderhttp://tiny.cc/G9290
                The Hana is nuts! NUTS!!http://tinyurl.com/SOCRAZY

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                • #68
                  Originally posted by mjhco View Post
                  Don't feed the troll
                  since when does a dissenting voice, a troll make???

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                  • #69
                    Unfortunately, this dissenting voice is not dissenting, she/he is arguing and giving absolutely no credence to methods and/or opinions that differ from hers/his, even when demonstrated with video. There is a willful refusal to see or learn from any point of view that does not fall in line with hers/his. Maybe not a troll, but neither is this someone whose opinion I would seek for advice.
                    Donald Trump - proven liar, cheat, traitor and sexual predator! Hillary Clinton won in 2016, but we have all lost.

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                    • #70
                      Originally posted by meupatdoes View Post
                      ^^^ You asked me if I still needed treats to get trailer loading. I said no, I do not still need treats, and demonstrated.

                      So first you criticized me for training at all WITH treats, and now you criticize (at length) the trailer loading WITHOUT treats.

                      Nobody is allowed to post, "Hey, treats work for me!" because that is "unnecessary" and the horse's "aren't broke," but then when the horse still hops on the trailer without treats (which was apparently supposed to be a big 'gotcha') well then the without treats loading is All Wrong Too.

                      Is there something the OP who initially asked the question is supposed to take away from your contributions? Just generally that whatever she is contemplating, it will probably be wrong as far as horsehand is concerned? Because apparently the purpose here is to tell everyone else they are doing it wrong no matter what they are actually doing.
                      Easy there. Don't get your panties in a wad. This is not a pissing contest. I am not critizising you. I missed the reason you posted the video, to show me you don't need treats. I am not looking for a gotcha. My opinion here is that the use of treats, and the argument of their use, is a distraction from what is really important, the application of good technique and understanding and observation. You could use a treat to reward a horse for doing something poorly, so it is more important what you are doing before the reward, than the reward itself. And I have found that by the time you get a desired response, the treat losses its value in the whole equation anyway. After a few repititions, the horse gets pretty solid pretty quikly. You get a desired response by the multitude of little actions and reactions, corrections and guidance. This is horse handling. My attempt was to point out how you could get it better, by paying attention to details. It does not take any longer to fix up the little things.
                      As far as the time it takes, or how hard it is, I do not charge by the hour. So I can take the time it takes.

                      Comment


                      • #71
                        Originally posted by SillyHorse View Post
                        Unfortunately, this dissenting voice is not dissenting, she/he is arguing and giving absolutely no credence to methods and/or opinions that differ from hers/his, even when demonstrated with video. There is a willful refusal to see or learn from any point of view that does not fall in line with hers/his. Maybe not a troll, but neither is this someone whose opinion I would seek for advice.

                        There was a good deal of hyperbole on both sides.
                        The OP of the video was satisfied with the movement of the horse, horsehand indicated where he/she would want different movement from the horse - how is this a refusal in perception; it is a dissent in opinion, but why is that unacceptable?

                        For instance (being uber- critical here, because your horse will obviously load and unload the rest of his life.). When you are presenting the trailer to the horse, he is not lining up. He is not getting ready. He swings his rear end. he is not thinking about going in until you finally have to push his nose in. You could getting him ready 15 feet away. Line him up, focus his attention, observe what he is thinking, feeling, what he is about to do and what he isn't about to do. Then you just send him, having all the ducks in a row. These are the important things.


                        but neither is this someone whose opinion I would seek for advice
                        but that isn't a prerequisite to post on this board either - I just don't see where there was disproportionate reaction/negativity/trolling exhibited by horsehand

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                        • #72
                          Most of mine get treats quite frequently. If someone looks at me funny when we stop so that I can stuff a treat in my horse's mouth I tell them that I have to put another quarter in.

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                          • #73
                            Originally posted by kande04 View Post
                            Most of mine get treats quite frequently. If someone looks at me funny when we stop so that I can stuff a treat in my horse's mouth I tell them that I have to put another quarter in.
                            Donald Trump - proven liar, cheat, traitor and sexual predator! Hillary Clinton won in 2016, but we have all lost.

                            Comment


                            • #74
                              Meupat, nice horse! A cutie!

                              Treats are useful for so many reasons. I even make the vet and farrier give each horse when they are done. Consequently when the vet or farrier drives up the driveway they run to the gate! They can't wait to be worked on!

                              I can stop a horse and have stopped them even at a show as someone else said just by letting the horse see me in front of them (IF it ever does not work I won't be here anymore). THey can be spooked in a dead run in a field and I can snap a carrot and they stop. I find that extremely useful.

                              I had a good ol boy farrier years ago. My colt was very young and jumpy. I mashed up a big bowl of carrots and while the farrier was trimming him i fed bits of carrot mash to the youngster. He was sarcastic when he asked how big a bowl I'd need when the colt was full grown! I told him he wouldn't need ANY! Just the one when he was done like the others. Years went by and my colt, now a stallion was tied to a post one day when I came up the driveway. He had gotten to the farm early. I was surprised and told him so. He told me this was the only farm where he would pull a stallion out and straight tie him with no worries. He told me my horses were the best he'd ever worked with.

                              Now I have a question. Why DON'T you work with treats? Too expensive? Too messy? Cumbersome?
                              “Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.”
                              ? Albert Einstein

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                              • #75
                                I'm really interested in this topic.

                                For the rewarding during movements, with and without a clicker:

                                Without a clicker -- how do you know that the horse is relating the treat (reward), to the precise movement (behavior)? Do you have the horse do the movement and immediately stop and get the treat? How does this happen without loosing a "forward" attitude -- I could see the horse doing a movement and then immediately stopping and craning its neck around to get a treat- potentially dangerous for the rider and for the horse, and doesn't seem good for training. Once the behavior is learned, could the horse end up having a jarring way of going, always slightly waiting and wondering if he will get a treat for what he has just done?

                                With a clicker - does your horse actually understand the "bridge" function of the clicker - if you click for a flying change and reward with some time passing between these two actions, does your horse truly understand the moment you clicked for and know he will soon be rewarded? How do you know? It seems like a clicker isn't much help unless you can incorporate the bridge (and time passing) aspect -- otherwise, like the above, isn't there a risk that you would create a horse who is always waiting to hear a click and immediately stops to get a treat?

                                It's been many years since I really learned about clicker training (I helped train exotic animals for film, between high school and college) -- I think the next step is to click & reward, but you don't need to reward for every single click -- the animal understands that the 'clicked' behavior is what the trainer is looking for, but this mentality is not extinguished if a reward is not given all of the time. The animal's "click and treat" mentality is preserved as long as they randomly get a reward every few clicks or so. Has anyone gotten this "advanced" with their horse? It seems like this would solve the problem of losing a "forward" way of going, etc, etc.

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                                • #76
                                  Imho most of the time that the being than needs to be 'clickered' for recognizing the behavior is the two legged one. The horse just 'is'. Read about how dolphins/whales are treated, totally different things from horses.
                                  I.D.E.A. yoda

                                  Comment


                                  • #77
                                    Honestly, I must get all the smart horses here.

                                    As far as training, I have a new horse that is sweet and willing but has no balance AT ALL. Not left to right not back to front. NADA. Start there.

                                    After the ground work and longe we work under saddle. He already knows that treats are involved and you certainly can't stop immediately after a canter depart on the longe for a treat. When we are done and he stops.

                                    Now asking him to LISTEN to my aids, because they mean absolutely nothing to him at this point, is a first step. So when I ask with my leg, he ignores, I tap with the whip, he walks off I click with my tongue to say that was it. Since he isn't going anywhere anyway and he has no halt, I do my best to stop him, click when he stops and treat. Two rewards, one treat.

                                    One of the first things he learns is to relax and chew. A good thing at this stage.

                                    Fast forward to teaching piaffe. I will use movements and how he thinks to produce a few steps. I will click in the front of my mouth to sound more like a clicker and continue on. When I halt he'll get his treat. It might be five minutes later but I assure you he knows what it is for. Since after the first steps of mounted piaffe I like to roar into a decent medium for some steps it would not do to stop immediately.

                                    Because I have limited use of my arms, the clicking is useful in so many ways. After a horse has been with me for a fair amount of time, clicking is a means to focus and "read my mind". They can decide to do a come apart and clicking stops them in their tracks as if they are saying "What? What did I do? What did I learn? I missed it! Tell me again?"

                                    You have done some of this already G. Get back into it. It will all fall into place.
                                    “Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.”
                                    ? Albert Einstein

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                                    • #78
                                      Posted by ideayoda:

                                      Imho most of the time that the being than needs to be 'clickered' for recognizing the behavior is the two legged one. The horse just 'is'. Read about how dolphins/whales are treated, totally different things from horses.

                                      Comment

                                      • Original Poster

                                        #79
                                        While I initially started this thread to get specific information on how people use treats/clicker training for under saddle work, I'm enjoying the discussion on how people use it in general.

                                        For fun I decided to do some liberty work with my horse today using treats. I had no halter on him and only my lunge whip to direct him. It was really fun! The main thing I wanted to work on was a voice command and hand signal for "come" - I trail ride a lot and if I ever came off and wanted him to come back to me, I want a command for that. Without going into all of the little details of what we did, I will say it was very interesting and fun for both of us, I think. At the end I had him "come" and follow me through a ground pole zig-zag maze (forward and backward) and a pole-bending-type exercise around/through some jump standards I had set up.
                                        "A horse's face always conveys clearly whether it is loved by its owner or simply used." - Anja Beran

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                                        • #80
                                          I don't work for free. Why should my horse?

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