What is a keep-going signal (KGS), why do you need it and how can you teach it?
What is it?
A keep-going signal is used to tell your horse that he is doing the right thing and that he should keep doing it in order to earn a click and reward.
A keep-going signal can be very useful in building duration of an behaviour. Not all horses ‘need’ a KGS. Sometimes withholding a click will work, too. Just experiment with it.
A KGS can also be used as encouragement and signal that the horse has to keep doing what he is doing.
A KGS can help prevent frustration. Some horses will get frustrated if they don’t get a click soon enough and will give up. If they hear a keep-going signal, they will know that the click will follow.
A keep-going signal also helps you get more behaviour per click. So basically you click & reward less often. Which can make the clicks even more desirable for the horse, since he doesn’t get them as often anymore.
How do you train it
Horses are smart and they quickly learn to anticipate cues. They will learn that after a keep-going signal, that has no meaning yet, the click & reward follows.
Choose a word that you would otherwise not use in either training or speaking to your horse. Choose a word that can be extended easily.
Introduce the keep-going signal in a behaviour that already has a duration of a few seconds, so you have time enough to introduce it. Slowly you extend the time between the keep-going signal and the click:
Cue behaviour + keep-going + click & reward (repeat several times)
Cue behaviour + keep-going + 1 second + click & reward (repeat several times)
Cue behaviour + 1 second + keep-going+ 2 seconds + click & reward (repeat several times)
And so on. Make sure your horse doesn’t get too frustrated by the removal of the click. Later on you can also extend the time before using the keep-going signal.
Cue behaviour + 1 second + keep-going+ 1 second + click & reward (repeat several times)
With a keep-going signal you can help prevent the horse from getting frustrated, since you can indicate what he has to do to earn his reward.
Related post: Reward-based training is…
Sandra Poppema, B.Sc.
Would you like to hear more about a keep-going signal or do you have a question about clicker training your horse? Click here to connect and I will be more than happy to help another horse-human relationship blossom.