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A minor Peeve?

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  • A minor Peeve?

    One of the women who works at my boarding barn confessed to me the other day that she "fakes out" my horse when it's time to bring him in for supper. She (and everyone else who works there) knows that he is very easily caught if you have a cookie and tell him to come get a cookie. (Otherwise, he can be a PITA for them to catch - not for me.) So she'll tell him to come get a cookie when in fact she doesn't have one and isn't going to give him one. (I keep a large bag of them at all times in my tack trunk.) The day she told me this she told me she got him to come to her that day by crinkling an empty candy wrapper, and then, obvy, not giving him candy. (He knows what a crinkling candy wrapper means, too - means he's getting some candy.)

    I told her he's no dummy and this is why she's having trouble catching him - he's on to her fake-outs.

    But isn't this kind of mean?
    What's wrong with you?? Your cheese done slid off its cracker?!?!

  • #2
    That's very mean! He doesn't understand what she's doing—only that a promise is being broken.
    "Dogs give and give and give. Cats are the gift that keeps on grifting." –Bradley Trevor Greive

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    • #3
      Not only is that mean (think promising a little kid something and then not delivering), but it's undoing the training you have worked to put on your horse! I would put a stop to that ASAP. And if she's having trouble catching him, it serves her right!

      However, long term, you might want to work on another method of teaching your horse to be caught (clicker training, perhaps?) that doesn't rely on food. Using food as a "bribe" can lead to nippiness, and if the horse is turned out with others, can be very dangerous to the handler if they all come stampeding up looking for the handout. Food bribes can be a good short term fix in some situations, but ideally, you want your horse to be catchable without them, IMO.

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      • #4
        Actually, studies have shown that the best reinforcements are intermittant.

        So, if you say sit and give the dog a cookie EVERY time, it actually doesn't work as well if sometimes you say "sit" and the dog sits and gets nothing.
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        • #5
          Originally posted by meupatdoes View Post
          Actually, studies have shown that the best reinforcements are intermittant.

          So, if you say sit and give the dog a cookie EVERY time, it actually doesn't work as well if sometimes you say "sit" and the dog sits and gets nothing.
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          • #6
            Yup. Psychology lore is that inconsistent positive reinforcement is the strongest form of conditioning.

            I have been known to wrinkle empty, garbagey plastic at a food-whore of a horse (who is mine own son). Meh, the sucker gets paid often enough. And another thing! If the brute would be caught, he wouldn't have to be lured or fooled, now would he?

            If Uncatchable PITA merely has to suffer unpredictable but minor injustices, I think he's doing ok in life.
            The armchair saddler
            Politically Pro-Cat

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            • #7
              Inconsistent, yes, works, But if this particular woman tricks him EVERY time, when he sees _her_ he'll know she doesn't have something and won't come.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by RolyPolyPony View Post
                Inconsistent, yes, works, But if this particular woman tricks him EVERY time, when he sees _her_ he'll know she doesn't have something and won't come.
                She will reap as she sews, given the fact that the horse can distinguish between people.
                The armchair saddler
                Politically Pro-Cat

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                • Original Poster

                  #9
                  This is the same person who "forgot" to turn my horse out on three separate occasions. He has to be turned out alone. Another boarder's horse goes out from 8 am to 11 am, then my horse goes out from 11 to 2. It's the only decent paddock at this barn where this can be done. I actually have to make sure I am there on Saturday mornings which this girl works pretty much alone so I can make sure he gets turned out.

                  I know, I know - First World problems. Thanks for letting me vent.
                  What's wrong with you?? Your cheese done slid off its cracker?!?!

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                  • #10
                    Honestly it would annoy the snot out of me anyway. Just that someone would brag about tricking my horse.

                    Originally posted by oliverreed View Post
                    One of the women who works at my boarding barn confessed to me the other day that she "fakes out" my horse when it's time to bring him in for supper. She (and everyone else who works there) knows that he is very easily caught if you have a cookie and tell him to come get a cookie. (Otherwise, he can be a PITA for them to catch - not for me.) So she'll tell him to come get a cookie when in fact she doesn't have one and isn't going to give him one. (I keep a large bag of them at all times in my tack trunk.) The day she told me this she told me she got him to come to her that day by crinkling an empty candy wrapper, and then, obvy, not giving him candy. (He knows what a crinkling candy wrapper means, too - means he's getting some candy.)

                    I told her he's no dummy and this is why she's having trouble catching him - he's on to her, fake-outs.

                    But isn't this kind of mean?
                    The problem with political jokes is that they get elected.
                    H. Cate

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                    • #11
                      Mean, no, but eventually he's going to figure out when SHE calls him, she doesn't have a treat. Unless she sometimes has one, he's going to know it's not worth it and won't come.
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                      • #12
                        i would be royaly ticked off. i hope you find a way to communicate this to her. I don't like when anyone messes with my horse, good or bad.

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                        • #13
                          I don't find it funny. My Bluey would have set her straight...he knew if the wrapper was empty...it must have sounded different.

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                          • #14
                            I am not at all sure who has been trained the best, the horse or the owner.

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