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clicker training ideas?

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  • clicker training ideas?

    I am interested in trying clicker training with my mare to add some interest to our humdrum January. Have never done it.

    What are some useful and/or enjoyable things can you train a horse to do with this? Am thinking more of stuff you can do unmounted, in the barn or turnout.

    Please share.

  • #2
    I have taught my mare to:

    -back and turn on both voice commands and hand signals
    -touch her sides and girth area on command
    -touch her nose to my hand
    -touch a ball I toss in the barn aisle
    -stand on a mat on the aisle floor
    -pick up each foot on voice command
    -wait 'out of my space' on command

    The practical applications of these 'tricks' are that I can get her to approach and touch scary things -- a game of 'Touch the Monster' -- by asking her to turn or back and touch her nose to my hand as we get closer to the monster. Soon my hand is on the monster and she is quietly standing next to it.

    "Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit."
    - Desiderata, (c) Max Ehrman, 1926


    • #3
      I taugh my horse to fetch, do the spanish walk, stand on a pedestal, take a bow.
      "When life gives you scurvy, make lemonade."


      • #4
        I taught Sadie (a dominant psychoamazon war bitch-mare from hell) to only approach me with a nice expression on her face instead of pinned ears and an evil glare. And to touch various things, so that she will in fact march up to scary stuff if I ask her if she can touch it. And to stand still for mounting. And to pick stuff up. And to not expect a treat unless she was standing at a polite distance with her chin tucked in. And to lower her big head.

        Its a lot of fun to do and your horse will enjoy it.


        • #5
          Many, many things:

          * To come to my outstretched hand
          * To move away from light pressure
          * To stand still in the cross ties (untied) even if I walk into the tackroom.
          * To put his nose in a halter.
          * To put his nose in a bridle and take the bit.
          * To relax when I girth up.
          * To sidle into position to pick me up from the mounting block.
          * To put his head down and relax
          * To tolerate plastic bags
          * "Nice ears"
          * To get in the trailer
          * To jump over a barrel
          * To come back to me (instead of bolting) if he does spook
          * To tolerate my fingers in his mouth and ears
          * Belly lifts
          * Lateral bend stretches

          Many, many more things. Virtually anything you'd like your horse to do for you or with you. Consistant clicker training creates a very pleasant rapport between you and your horse that goes way beyond learning a specific trick.

          Get a book by Alexandra Kurland and enjoy!

          Oh, and post back in a few weeks and tell us how it's going.
          I have a Fjord! Life With Oden


          • #6
            Rustling plastic training?

            It occurred one cold, boring day, that my gelding is part of the way to clicker training.

            The horse will sell his soul for a peppermint and the rustling plastic of its wrapper is entrancing foreplay to him.

            Is that essentially his pre-installed, ready-to-go clicker cue?

            I understand that the relationship between the clicker and reward is more complicated than a simple delay. In fact, his rustling plastic should rarely be followed by the mint right? I'm using inconsistent positive reinforcement to keep him damned interested in figuring out what it took to earn the plastic... and a mint....maybe. Is that right? After that, I assume I can associate whatever response I want with good old plastic.

            Have I got this generally right?
            The armchair saddler
            Politically Pro-Cat


            • #7
              Practical Horseman did a 2 part article on this in Nov. and Dec. Dr. Emily Weiss was the trainer. Very nice to help in learning the basics. May be on the website...


              • #8
                This video is mentioned in another thread here on COTH:


                Awesome example of clicker training!
                I have a Fjord! Life With Oden


                • #9
                  EVERYTHING! I got a filly that was unhandled and nearly unhandleable several years ago. I taught her to be haltered and led. She also learned to wear a saddle, bridle, and be ridden. She'll come, at liberty in the arena, and line herself up at the mounting block stock still for me to mount. Move sideways, forward, back on cue. Head lowering for calm, touch a target,, liberty lunging, fetching, improved gaits, jumping at liberty...

                  You name it.

                  The best thing to start with is targeting. I suggest joining clickryder (the yahoo group) and getting any book by Alexandra Kurland. You'll have a ball!!

                  Have fun,


                  • #10
                    I'm using it (in a way, without the actual clicker) to teach my green gelding to stop on command. He's a smart little sucker, so he has picked this up VERY quickly. I give the command, he comes back to a halt from any gait, then cranes his head around for his cookie.


                    • #11
                      I taught my horse to open up the cooler and get me a beer.

                      Hardest part was teaching him to go back and shut the lid.