Use dolphin training techniques with horses to build a working partnership based on motivation
We made the move from the hustle and bustle of Southern California to a 10 acre farm in beautiful Leelanau County.
A blog of experiences
Training Sessions and fun videos on You Tube
Question/ Answers and interaction on Facebook
Approx 14 year old Arabian/QH Mare
21 year old Welsh Cob Mare Foster from Horse North Rescue
I will list terms that I may use in videos or journal entries, and break them down in such a way that followers of all ages can completely understand.
Operant Conditioning- A process of training/learning where behavior is conditioned (strengthened) as a result of the following consequence. Either reinforcement (reward) or punishment. It differs from classical conditioning in that it deals with voluntary behavior, not involuntary.
Target Behavior– The behavior which you are trying to increase the frequency of. Your goal for what you would like the animal to do.
Criteria- The details of the target behavior. If you do not know the criteria, how are you able to communicate that to the animal? For instance; where are they too do____? how high? How fast? How steady? For how long? You get the picture.
Sd–. Discriminative Stimulus. A stimulus, that when presented, is conditioned to elicit (bring about) a particular behavior.
bridge- A conditioned tool that a trainer uses to communicate to the animal that whatever it was, that they were doing when the bridge took place, is what is being reinforced. Many of you may know this as a clicker. I used a whistle with dolphins. With horses, I am using the term "brav". If you choose to use a word, it needs to be something that you won't say otherwise.
reinforcement- A consequence that is meant to increase the behavior. Positive Reinforcer is giving something positive. Negative reinforcer is the removal of something the animal does not like.
punishment- A consequence that is meant to decrease the frequency of a behavior. A positive punishment is applying a consequence that is aversive (animal does not like it). A negative reinforcer is the removal of something that the animal "likes".
LRS- Least Reinforcing Scenario- In utilizing positive reinforcement training, the consequence for an incorrect behavior is to be the Least reinforcing thing possible. Even a reaction, can be reinforcing. The animal may be doing something that is self reinforcing. As much as we think we know them, we cannot read their minds. All we can do is be sure not to accidentally reinforce it. This pause, communicates that no reinforcement is coming, now let's move on. 4 seconds is a reasonable length of time. It also, can let the animal know that mistakes are part of learning, remain calm, and we shall continue.
VRRV- This is super important!!!! And a key to successful training in my opinion. This is the schedule of reinforcement. Variable Ratio Reinforcement Variety. Basically the amount of times you reinforce any behavior varies. And the type of reinforcement varies!!! They DONT always want a "treat". Creativity is key.
Primary Reinforcer- A reinforcer that the animal does not have to be taught. Food and water are two examples.
Secondary Reinforcers- A conditioned reinforcer. They may not need this to survive. They may not have even know what it was. But by using it, pairing it, with a primary reinforcer, it takes on a positive quality. Back scratches, fun things to "play" with, sometimes even getting to do something else they enjoy. Again..... Creativity.
Shaping- The technique which is used for a large portion of training behaviors. We can't just say we want to teach them to walk through the gate, turn around and face me. You have to break it down into understandable steps.
Approximations: The small steps taken to shape a behavior. They should be reinforced at each step along the way, to communicate the importance of each aspect of the criteria. These are needed, when an animal may be having difficulties with a behavior. You have steps to back up on to remind them, et success, and move forward with a good attitude.
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Cedar, MI 49621, US