equine clicker training

using precision and positive reinforcement to teach horses and people

The Alphabet Blog Project

Back in 2020, I had a little idea. I thought it would be interesting and fun (?) to put together a list of things you could teach with clicker training. I had encountered a surprising number of people who either didn’t think some things could be taught with clicker training or who had run out of ideas for things to teach. My goal was to provide ideas, inspiration and tips so that people who were interested in clicker training could explore it more deeply.

It was also a way to help me stay motivated. I’ve been clicker training for a long time (20+ years) and I sometimes run out of ideas for what to do with my own horses, especially as their repertoires get larger and larger. Revisiting old behaviors and coming up with new behaviors seemed like a good way to give me and my horses some things to do.

I’m not sure where I got the idea for an A to Z alphabet theme, but it seemed like a good way to organize the material, so I made a simple list with one behavior for each letter. Remember, this was a small project…

Then, I thought of a few more behaviors for each letter. Friends suggested other ideas. I thought it would be good to add a little more content for each entry and maybe a picture. I also decided I wanted to include “guest” entries (photos and articles from other clicker trainers) so that the content was not limited to my own material. Reaching out to other people made me feel connected to the clicker training community and I’m very grateful to everyone who supported this project through their contributions.

In the beginning, I thought I would be able to post one blog each week, but I quickly gave up on that idea and posted as often as I could. That varied depending upon how much content I wanted to include and how much time I had available to work on it. In the end, it took me almost 2 years to do the whole A to Z series and when I was done, I had written over 400 pages. The blogs became more in-depth as I worked through the alphabet and the later blogs contain more information and links to useful resources. While I had never intended to include detailed training plans for each behavior (too big a project!), I did find I was writing more for each entry and the content expanded to include related topics (not just behaviors).

When I finished with the Z blog in the fall of 2021, I took a break. I had a few ideas about what to do next, but I needed time to think. I had kept myself motivated by taking time to learn something new with each blog. That kept it interesting for me. I would either teach a new behavior, revisit an old behavior, or try to learn more about some aspect of training or equine behavior. This turned out to be a nice way to pick projects, identify behaviors I had never trained and compare what I would do now with how I trained in the past.

Since I enjoyed doing the A to Z series the first time, I’ve decided to do it again and I’m looking for a few interested people who would like to join me. We would focus on one or two letters each month and add new content. In return for your participation, I will offer some free coaching. If you are interested, you can contact me directly.

If you haven’t seen the blogs, here are some ways to access them:

If you find them useful and want to have the information in a more usable format, you can buy a PDF or kindle version of the blogs. You can purchase that here.

The kindle version of the A to Z blogs is called What Can I Teach My Horse? and is available on Amazon.

Why am I doing this?

I ask myself that every day. A couple of reasons. One is that writing helps me process information and it makes me a better trainer. Another is that I want to spend time with my horses, and they love training, so I have to keep coming up with new ideas. If I’m going to do that for myself, I might as well share it with other people.

But also, I want to provide good clicker training information in a readily accessible place, so that people don’t have to join groups, courses, membership sites etc. just to get a few ideas. The blogs are not intended to replace those things (those are all important resources), but to encourage people to expand what they do with clicker training. That’s one reason I include guest entries. If I can connect a potential student with someone who has a program to help them, then that’s a win for all of us.

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2 replies

  1. I love this so much. I have yet to go through and read all of your posts, but there’s so much fun material to work with. I’m a baby clicker trainer and I haven’t even started my blog, but I have started social media accounts. I would love to contribute something if you’d be interested. I don’t think I could bring anything new to the table, but I’m almost completely blind so it would be cool to show people that anyone can train this way 🙂

    Like

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