A Sappy but Powerful Experiment

Here’s a fun little exercise I did with DaVinci. I was patting his neck and admiring his beauty. Part of me was wishing he’d hurry up and get over his deep-seated fears of things that sound weird, things that smell weird, things that move fast, things that move suddenly, things that are in the wrong place, people who he doesn’t recognize, people who sound weird, people who smell weird, people who move fast and so on and so on. Continue reading


Things to Smile About

Many thanks to my friends in cyberspace that sent me these two videos and a funny little story.

The videos demonstrate creative, attraction-based ways to encourage humans to get exercise and be responsible.

And a little story demonstrating a not so attraction-based sentiment:

A cowboy and his wife had just got married and found a nice hotel for their wedding night. The man approached the front desk and asked for a room.

He said, “We’re on our honeymoon and we need a nice room with a good strong bed.”

The clerk winked, “You want the Bridal?”

The cowboy reflected on this for a moment and then replied, “Nope, I reckon not. I’ll just hold onto her ears until she gets used to it.”

For me this was like a two for one. Not only was it a nice play on words, it was also a great example of habituation for both horse and human. 🙂


Whoops and Mutual Operant Conditioning

I just received a comment from a very insightful and great proofreader that the Animal Management Resources blog that I was so excited about, hasn’t had a post since early 2008.

That little tidbit of information completely explains why I couldn’t connect to their members blog page. Silly me, I just thought my computer was having issues again.

If anyone knows of any such blog or similar resource where there is an inter-species positive reinforcement forum, please let me know.

Until then, I’m finding that many of the resources pertaining to zoo animal handling to be very informative. Especially when its core is based on mutual operant conditioning. Here’s Wikipedia’s description:

Mutual Operant Conditioning is the relationship between an animal owner or trainer that turns to the exclusive benefit of the animal rather than the trainer. Marine biologists have mentioned that they often feel they are the trainees rather than the trainer.

I completely love that the focus is on the benefit of the animal rather than the trainer. This has to be why this type of operant conditioning works so well for medical treatment of zoo animals.

I’m in awe each time I read about zoo animals being trained to voluntarily stand still to have blood drawn. No cross ties, no shanking, no yelling. Just a wild animal offering up it’s body to be poked by a needle.

If these are the things that can be accomplished with wild animals using mutual operant conditioning, I’m really excited to see what can happen with our domestic horses.

I offer my apologies for posting out dated information 😦


R+ Trainers Unite

I’ve just been inspired by a comment from Mary Hunter (Stale Cheerios). She mentioned the fantastic idea of having a group of Positive Reinforcement Trainers from all walks of life, aquariums to aviaries, to paddocks and living rooms, come together and share their experiences. With the click of my mouse, I found this site Animal Management Resources. Here’s how they describe themselves. Continue reading

NutriBit For the New Year

I can barely contain my excitement. There is a new product on the market that feels to me like a direct answer to a prayer. My prayer was, “How can I make a seamless transition from ground work to under saddle using attraction-based methods?” Before I tell you about this new product, I feel the need to explain why I’m so enthused, even before trying it. Continue reading