When you do something over and over, you’ll see a pattern emerging. In this blog I share 6 common pitfalls I see people falling into when they (start) clicker training their horse. It’s not easy to train an animal 100% force-free when you’ve been raised with coercive methods. You have to teach yourself to think out of the box. Once you can do that, a world of opportunities open up.
Pitfall #4: Quitting before Getting Results
Trainers stop before they reach their goals with their horse. Sometimes this happens because they struggle with pitfall #1, #2, #3 or a combination of these factors.
In some cases people stop training simply because they feel unsupportive and sometimes they even have to endure verbal abuse. They’re getting continuously snarky remarks about ‘spoiling their horse’ or ‘bad horsemanship’ from their fellow horse owners at the barn. Or questions like: “When are you finally going to ride your horse?”. This can really be discouraging!
Many clicker trainers, who do have a goal, are clear about it, know how to train it, still don’t accomplish it. Why is that?
Sometimes something happens, and they fall out of their training routine. Maybe it’s because of their work, or their family needed their attention, or sometimes just because they went on vacation and never got back in training mode with their horse. Or the weather changed and they thought that it’s impossible to work on their goal behaviour in Winter/Summer/Spring/Autumn.
We’ve all experienced it. This is a simple pitfall to avoid and that’s what this blog is about.
How not to quit
The answer to that is preparing yourself the best you can. Flip the struggle into a positive one: How to keep going!
- Knowing why you do what you do, and why R+ is so important to you. This has to do with your equestrian core values. Force-free, getting results and bonding with your horse.
- Educate yourself about how learning takes place: Key Lesson Learning & Motivation and how you can influence the process in a positive way
- Writing a good shaping plan so that you know exactly what to do, what to reinforce and what to expect from your horse.
- Setting yourself up for success with Accountability.
How to make yourself Accountable for your Clicker Training
Accountability is taking responsibility for the outcome. One invaluable part of being successful in clicker training your horse, is to work consistently towards your goal. Starting and stopping won’t bring you results.
How to help yourself to train consistently towards your goals with your horse? Here’s where accountability will help! Some ideas to help make training easier:
- Set clear goals. When you have a clear goal is so much fun to work on it!
- Split it up into baby steps. One way is to write a shaping plan for the behaviour you want to train. When you know exactly what to do and when to raise your criterion and what to do if plan A won’t work, it will keep your enthusiams and motivation high.
- Make a training schedule, a planning. Stick to it. How? That’s next.
Tips to keep yourself accountable:
- Find a friend to ‘report’ to about your training. Set a time and day. Weekly works best! When you setup weekly accountability you have 52 accountability points in time, per year. When you think monthly is enough, think again. With a monthly accountability plan you only have 12 accountability points in time. When you don’t have someone who is interested, join the HippoLogic Clicker Training Academy where you can get weekly accountability.
- Getting coaching or lessons on a weekly basis, can also be working as a weekly accountability. Make sure you’re working towards your learning goals, with your instructor/coach.
- When you’re highly self motivated you can make a weekly training plan for your horse and follow it.
- Join a group of clicker trainers that you can report to about your training
What makes accountability successful
Accountability works best when
- You make it a long-term agreement (6-12 months, but actually you’ll need this as long as you have goals or want to improve). After a set time you can evaluate and decide to agree to go on for another 6 months.
- You have one accountability partner. Having multiple can be confusing. I’m speaking from experience!
- You have respect your accountability partner and values her opinion. Otherwise a calendar with a reminder “Train Your Horse” would work just as good. 😉 You have to find it important to show up for her. When you’re each other’s accountability partner it even has more changes to pay off. Hen you don’t have to be there for you, you’ll have to show up for her!
- Dedicate yourself to your accountability setup. Make it the most important thing! After all, you’re doing this for yourself! Keep that in mind. The goal is to become better at training and setting up support for times it will be hard!
Need help training your horse?
Are you a compassionate horse owner who wants to build a strong friendship with your horse? Would you like to understand your horse better and help your horse to understand YOU better? Get access to many online clicker training courses and a fabulous, supportive R+ community in our HippoLogic Clicker Training Academy. Check out the link!
Not sure? Start with a free clicker training assessment to get taste of what it feels like to work with me. When you have a specific struggle that you want to overcome, don’t hesitate to contact me. In this assessment you’ll discover what’s holding you back from accomplishing the things you want with your horse. After our conversation you’ll know exactly what to do, in order to move forward towards your goals.
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