Do you struggle implementing (more) clicker training into your daily interaction, riding and training your horse?
Would you like to use positive reinforcement in more areas of the relationship with your horse and don’t know how to do this?
Do you feel uncomfortable because you’re the only odd one at the barn who uses clicker training?
#1 Focus on one goal
If you focus on one behaviour you want to train or re-train you can fully emerge yourself in finding solutions to training that one behaviour or overcoming that one struggle.
It’s easier to ask for help if you know what your wanting help or advice on.
Write down your goal. Writing it down will help your brain focus on finding solutions and it’s easier for tip #3.
#2 Make yourself Accountable
Set yourself up for success by finding someone to share your goal with. Preferably someone who can help you with advice when needed, but that isn’t even necessary. If that one person will ask you about your progress on, let’s say Monday, then you know on Saturday that you better come into action if you want to share something on Monday.
The accountability will help you come into action and overcome fear of failure. I speak from experience. When I did a bi-weekly accountability with a friend I usually did nothing about the goals I shared with her (fear of failure) until 3 days before we would meet. Then I started clicker training Kyra and usually I had success in one area, got stuck in another. Only by coming into action I found my struggles and could overcome them. Weekly accountability is better than bi-weekly. Bi-weekly beats monthly and monthly beats not making yourself accountable at all. But if you want to book successes more often, find weekly accountability!
BY celebrating your wins you stand still and enjoy. This is what success feels like! Enjoying your Wins! Make sure you take the time to do this.
Celebrating your wins, big AND small ones will motivate you in going after your next goal.
It also gives you an ‘end ritual’ that tells you ‘Goal accomplished’. You can only know if you have accomplished if you’ve written your goal down, see tip #1. Don’t fall into the pitfall of stretching your goal endlessly and ending up feeling like a failure.
In my Key Lessons for Trainers, your Key to Success in Horse training, you’ll find these three. If you want to learn about the other 3 Key Lessons for Trainers, let me know.
Join the Clicker Training Academy if you want to improve your clicker skills
What is the HippoLogic CTA? It’s an online place where you can learn to train every behaviour you have in mind with R+. We have a small, all-inclusive community in which students can thrive and develop.
Professional, personal positive reinforcement advice on your training videos
Student levels are novice to very advanced clicker trainers
Join the HippoLogic Clicker Training Academy for personal advice and support in training your horse with positive reinforcement. The first 25 founding members get an additional 90-minute coaching session with me for free (value $150 CAD).
Sandra Poppema, B.Sc.
I help horse owners get the results in training they really, really want with joy and easy for both horse and human. I always aim for win-win!
When I was a little girl learned quickly that I couldn’t boss around certain horses. I also learned that I liked it much better when I didn’t have to.
A few decades ago I learned about positive reinforcement (+R) training and now, 17 years later I can truly say +R has become more of a lifestyle than just a training method for me.
One of the best reviews I received from a student is: “You are always very supportive Sandra and make this feel like a safe place (the Facebook support group) to ask questions. Funny, but I’ve met a lot of R+ trainers who a very encouraging and positive with their horses but extremely critical of their human trainers. Sandra you walk and talk R+ in all areas – with horses and people.”
Here 8 of the most valuable lessons and my biggest ‘clicks’ (eye openers) positive reinforcement horse training taught me:
The receiver determines the reinforcer, not the trainer, not teacher nor the parent. Once I learned to think from my horses’ point of view and what his motivation is, it became clear on why he did or didn’t want to do it. Same goes for humans.
Envisioning my goals before I start, makes it easy to keep on track and go back on track once I get sidetracked. Not only my equestrian goals, but all my goals!
Writing down my goals made it easier to find the right teachers. Studies prove that writing your goals down will make you see more opportunities because it puts your unconscious to work.
Writing down my goals helped me into dividing them into achievable (baby) steps. Whenever I feel stuck, whether that is in life or in horse training I ask myself if I am ‘lumping’ (making the steps too big) and I usually do. Once I make my steps smaller I can be successful again. This one was a biggy!
Different reinforcers have different values and values can change depending on the circumstances. It makes sense that once the receiver can predict when and what the reinforcer is, he can determine if he does or doesn’t want to do the behaviour.
I learned to think out of the box, because I didn’t have ready-made solutions for a lot of challenges I ran into. It is an amazing helpful life skill! I love it!
When I started to focus on my method of training, instead of only focusing on the results of my training, three interesting things happened: 1) there was now something valuable in it for the horse which made it a huge win-win, 2) the results came much quicker, easier and were way more reliable and 3) the overall relationship with my horse improved tremendously! Wow! Win-win-win!
What are the most valuable life lessons you learned in training? Please share yours in the comments.
Sandra Poppema, B.Sc.
My mission is to improve horse-human relationships by educating equestrians about ethical and horse friendly training. I offer coaching to empower you to train your horse in a 100% animal friendly way that empowers both you and your horse.