Turn every training and every ride in the best possible experience for human and horse! Win-Win!

_hippologic_clicker_addictIs there a support group for animal trainers like Trainers Anonymous?  I need them! Yes, I have to admit it: I am addicted to the sound of the click.

First of all: a click means “Horse, you did the right thing” and that means that I, the trainer, have booked a success, too. And I am addicted to success. Before clicker training, I was always telling myself what I did wrong, instead of what I could improve. I would see my failures instead of my triumphs.

Second: I just love to feed animals. I don’t know why, but it is very enticing and rewarding for me. The more I click the more I am allowed to feed my horse.

I realized one day I was addicted to clicking my horse. It really felt like an addiction because it felt like a computer game with a victory tune to announce you have completed this level and you can go on to the next. Is it dangerous? Could it be detrimental to the training?

Once I realized that I clicked too much, I discovered that I was not getting the best results I could. What is “too much”? For me it meant: not raising criteria after 3 successful attempts, clicking for already established behaviours like coming to me in walk when called, nice transitions under saddle that Kyra alr_addicted_to_clicking_hippologiceady would do with a success rate of 90% or more.

The key is to write down goals, make a training plan and keep a training journal in which you describe in positive words what you’ve accomplished in your training. I can recommend it to every one to find a support group/friend with whom you can share your successes and points to improve. Talking about your training with others can help you reflect and stay motivated.

With clicker training ‘Less can be more’. If you click less, the horse will answer with better tries. Sometimes you get amazing results, like I described in this post. For instance I don’t click Kyra for coming to me in walk. I’ve set her up for success so I could click her for coming to me in trot. The goal I am working on now is asking Kyra to come to me in canter.

Since I click less, Kyra is improving significantly in all behaviours and therefor the click has become even more addictive to me. It is as if I have moved up multiple levels in our game and a whole new world has opened. I am definitely high on our success and craving more.

Sandra Poppema

 

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Comments on: "Help, I am addicted to the Click" (4)

  1. ja heel herkenbaar 🙂 en goed advies eerst een doel stellen super ..ik was hem ook al aan het over voeren hah

    Like

  2. This is great advice. I haven’t tried clicker training (yet, I think it would be fun); but that advice could really go for any type of training. A certain issue I am having with Ebenezer kept coming to mind. He will pick up his feet for me (most of the time), but then leans into to me if I hold it up longer than he likes. He just leans enough to make cleaning/ trimming difficult. I really haven’t made much progress in getting him to stop. I do get excited when he does good and praise him often. I can hear him now… “oh your happy with that? Okay, I’m putting my foot down then!”

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Katie. With clicker training you use a bridge signal to tell the horse a reward is coming. If your horse can’t or won’t hold up his feet as long as you would like him to, you can reward him first for a few seconds. Then you can build duration and variable the click & reward (eg 4 out of 5 times). Then he will search for how he can “make you click”. But first start with some simple behaviours to practice.
      Let me know how it went. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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