The Force of the Treat Pouch

Here’s a comment I received from Ulrika in Sweden in regards to attraction-based training.

“Thank you! GOOD name for a NEW way of using the force of the treatbag…ie without force.”

It got me thinking about a very important relationship that I’ve taken for granted until now. And that is the one I share with my treat pouch. I swear, if an alien landed in my pasture and saw me working with my horse, no doubt they’d probably think I was of the marsupial family.

One day, just for kicks I decided to take a treat pouch inventory. I found at least 10. Several had dog food for when I work with the pack, and the rest had alfalfa pellets, crumbly DuMour treats from Tractor supply and then a few had fuzzy mystery bits most likely ancient chopped up apples or carrots. Those pouches were promptly cleaned out.

The reason for my scattered treat pouch collection is that I like treat pouch preparedness. I never know where I’ll be when one of my animals does something adorable. The closer I am to my treat pouch the faster I can reinforce with something wonderful.

My favorite treat pouch was given to me as gift from my daughter for my birthday. It looks as if it may have been from Mexico. It’s leather and can hold almost a scoop of pellets. At present it’s been resurfaced ala Flash Dance style as a result of years of painting with horses.

Fastening my treat pouch is as second nature as putting on my shoes. I feel like I should write a sort of ode to my treat pouch with my new realization of its power. I’ll refrain because I can’t stop hearing the words from the scene in Star Wars with Yoda and Luke Skywalker:

May the force be with you.

It’s like my treat pouch is a power pack giving me a supernatural connection to my horse’s brain, but I’m letting my imagination run wild. In reality it’s just a container to hold something my horses find incredibly valuable.

This helps me realize that it’s not what humans think of the idea of using food as a reinforcer, it’s what the horse thinks. My horses really like the idea of Mom as marsupial. I like the idea of how force-free training is a truly a force to be reckoned with!

May the positive re-in-force be with you!


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