The use of food is a great way to motivate and reinforce behaviors, however there are a few reasons why learned behaviors may devolve when food is not immediately available or visible. In this post we review such concepts as; It’s Not a Treat, Motivation, Timing, the Compromise Conflict, Food as a Distraction, and Fading Food Reinforcement Strategically.Read More
Bits are quickly becoming obsolete in the equestrian world, as more humane equipment is developed for communicating with the horse, and knowledge of learning theory expands among horse-people. To create effective alternatives to using a bit, we must first understand why the bit is used and what it does. Bits have long been considered essential to successful communication with the horse, but with advancements in force-free training, behavior is no longer contingent upon equipment.Read More
Intelligent Disobedience is a phenomenon wherein an animal makes a choice to act directly against the instructions from the handler/owner/trainer/rider in order to make a decision that is ultimately better. Intelligent Disobedience has most often been associated with guide animals who make decisions to keep their handlers safe. Such as when a guide dog for the vision impaired ignores a cue to cross the street during a time in which a car is coming. However, this phenomenon is not only present in the horse world, it can help to increase safety in a perilous sport...Read More
Why train a horse to steer of a verbal cue? There are many benefits, the first of which being that it creates another mode of communication between rider and the horse. Where the traditional pressure cuing system vaguely translates to "more pressure = more response", a verbal cue allows us to precisely communicate what it is that we are looking for. For this process I used a technique known as shaping, which involves rewarding successive approximations (or small steps) towards the finished behavior.
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Tricks play an important role in behavior modification because tricks add options to your pet's behavioral repertoire. Matching Law states that given two options of possible behaviors, the animal will choose the one with a stronger history of reinforcement. Adding behaviors that we like to reinforce gives your pet more options, with a higher probability that he/she will choose these behaviors over undesirable behaviors...
The technical term for a clicker is an event marker. If you have ever been to a dolphin or marine mammal show you have probably already seen an event marker in action. The clicker helps to mark the moment in time that an animal behaves correctly, making communication more precise!Read More
Dogs pull on leash to get where they want to go, when it works it reinforces the pulling behavior.Read More
To train our animals effectively, it is important that we first understand how animals learn. The science that follows in this post is a brief summary of learning theory. By understanding how it is that all living beings learn, we can then establish the most effective methods of training.Read More