You Are Allowed to Hand-Feed your darling! No, not allowed, you are ENCOURAGED!
Isn’t that great news? Isn’t that one of the best things of having animals: to feed them? Don’t we all like that? What is better then to hand-feed them and train them at the same time!
Finally you found a coach that encourages you to do what is one of the most reinforcing things to do: offering food and letting the horse take it off of your hand! ♥
Don’t let anyone take this away from you. If you are concerned about what would happened if you started using food reinforcers in your training, don’t listen to the general opinion: educate yourself.
Set yourself up for success and learn how you can do it right. Make it fun for you and fun for your horse. Win-win. You get the desired behaviour, your horse gets a wonderful treat (and you get to hand-feed him!)
Read these 2 articles if you want to know how to start safe and use food effectively as reinforcer in training. (You know you can always consult me personally, right? Contact me for a free discovery call.)
Clicker Training 101: Your first clicker session (including a step-by-step training plan)
Tips to Train your Horse to behave Safe around Treats
Myths about hand-feeding horses
People who use food reinforcers are frequently confronted with a lot of misunderstanding about how “treats” or “rewards” can be effectively used as reinforcers. I asked my Facebook friends to help me out with some common believes that live in the equine world about treats in training. Thank you all for helping me. I will quote the answers:
- Hand-feeding creates mugging horses
- Hand feeding makes them bite.
- That it instantly makes them fat.
- Hand feeding horses is bad because it turns them into monsters, they get rude, pushy and bite everyone.
- That’s bribing and horses do X only for treats but not out of respect towards the person treating them!
- They get Treat Crazy, and will not be able to think or focus on what they are doing.
- It will make your horse aggressive pushy and mouthy.
- Hand-feeding makes them spoiled and they will refuse to eat out of a bucket and you will have to exchange it for a gilded bowl.
- It makes them nippy, aggressive, pushy, space invading.
- You can only hand-feed your horse twice.
- They’ll kill you if you forget your treat bag once upon a time in the future.
- It’s unnatural (as opposed to using carrot sticks and spurs and what not), since horses don’t feed one another in reward for tasks.
- It’s super dangerous, for when done incorrectly it turns them into raging killing machines that can never be re-educated.
- Only hand-feed grain and hay but not treats because it will send the wrong message to the horse.
I will debunk these in upcoming blogs. I will give you one now.
Myth #5 “Horses won’t respect you”
The believe “That’s bribing and horses do X only for treats but not out of respect towards the person treating them!” is a common one. Here is what I believe if someone says:
‘With Clicker Training the Horse only does it for the Treats (not for you)’
Help me and share the believes you are fighting
What comments about hand-feeding or using treats as reinforcers annoy you? Do you need an answer, please leave a comment and I will help you with a science based one.
Safe the date: Thursday March 7, 2019
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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!
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