equine clicker training

using precision and positive reinforcement to teach horses and people

ASAT Conference 2016: Ken Ramirez on “Bubble Rings and Beluga Whales”

I first heard about the beluga whales and bubble rings a few years ago when someone mentioned them at ClickerExpo, but I never heard the whole story about how the training was done. So I was pretty excited that Ken was going to talk about this at ORCA.  In this short talk (approx 30 minutes), he described how the project came about and how the training was done. If you’ve […]

Continue Reading →

ASAT Conference 2016: Dr. Iver Iversen on “Selection and Creation Processes Involved in Shaping a Novel Behavior: Method and Theory”

Dr. Iver Iversen was the keynote speaker at the conference. He is a Professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of North Florida.  In his CV, he writes:  “At UNF’s animal learning laboratory, I use rats to study a) circadian rhythms of learned behavior, b) stimulus control; specifically how chains of learned behavior are formed and broken down, c) how learned behavior is maintained over long periods of […]

Continue Reading →

ASAT Conference 2016: Alexandra Kurland on “Feel- Art or Science?”

These notes are a little different than the others. Instead of sharing all the details of Alex’s talk, she has asked me to give an overview and share a little bit about how becoming more aware of the small details of movement, in both myself and my horses, has helped in my training. Alex started by talking about excellence and where it comes from. Many of us were brought up […]

Continue Reading →

ASAT Conference 2016: Kay Laurence on “Micro-shaping”

What is micro-shaping? The first time I heard the term was at Clicker Expo when Kay gave a presentation on shaping where she talked about the importance of clicking for very small movements that would lead directly to the final behavior, and also on the importance of having a high success rate. I can remember being in a learning lab and taking data on the behavior of a golden retriever […]

Continue Reading →

ASAT Conference 2016: Dr Joe Layng on emotions

Dr. Layng started his presentation by asking the audience if they thought animals had emotions like they do. Then he asked if everyone thought the person sitting next to them thought had emotions like they did. I think most people raised their hands.  He said these seem like simple questions but they are ones that have plagued science and philosophy for a long time. It turns out that studying emotions […]

Continue Reading →

Do You Have a Cue for That?

Last week I posted a video on my facebook page of Aurora learning the difference between targeting and manipulating an object, and it reminded me of something that I’ve been meaning to write about for a while. This is the importance of making sure that each new behavior has its own cue, that the cue is regularly practiced, and that old behaviors don’t lose their cues when new behaviors are […]

Continue Reading →

Timing

One of the advantages of clicker training is that the use of a marker signal (the click) allows the trainer to tell the animal exactly what behavior she is reinforcing. When we observe an animal, it is tempting to think of behavior as discrete units, but a more accurate description of behavior would be what Dr. Susan Friedman calls a “stream of behavior,” where behavior is constantly changing and each […]

Continue Reading →

Capturing Behavior

In Kay Laurence’s IDTC class last year we took a closer look at capturing behavior.  I’ve always been intrigued by capturing behavior because it’s one of the advantages of clicker training and there are some behaviors that are easier to capture than to shape. A behavior is “captured” when the trainer marks and reinforces the animal for doing a complete behavior, instead of shaping the behavior in small steps.  In […]

Continue Reading →

Body Part Targeting – Moving beyond nose targeting

Touching a target is one of the first behaviors that many clicker trainers teach to their horses. It’s a great way to introduce the horse to clicker training and show him that he can do a specific behavior to earn reinforcement. Once this targeting behavior has been learned, it can be used to train many other behaviors such as leading, standing still, going over obstacles, turns, lowering the head, etc… […]

Continue Reading →