Positive Reinforcement (and cheese) to the Rescue

I was driving home yesterday when I spied a dog running loose along the busy road at the entrance of my neighborhood. Her black muzzle and smooth fawn colored coat created a perfect camouflage amongst the roadside autumn leaves.  In my rear view mirror I saw a line of cars approaching. Continue reading

Harassment Training in Action

Sometimes contrast is good. I normally prefer to link to feel good, positive, forward moving videos and stories, however this  story demonstrates my previous post in the most timely manner. I just posted a blurb musing about negative reinforcement training being called harassment training and I find a well publicized example that I feel compelled to use to visually demonstrate my last post. Continue reading

The Negatives of Negative Reinforcement

I stumbled upon a wonderful article written by Kellie Snider, editor of Animal Behavior Answers, and positive reinforcement dog trainer. In her two part article she discusses the unwanted teachings of negative reinforcement. She very clearly discusses and defines many issues surrounding the use of negative reinforcement as a teaching method, bringing to my mind a few similarities occurring in the horse world. 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

The Practice of Appreciation

I’ve been told and have read that successful positive reinforcement training (or attraction-based work or clicker training) is both an art and a science. It certainly helps to observe, as an artist with a trained eye would, the subtle nuances of your horse’s behavior. And the knowledge of science can shed light on the ins-and-outs of operant conditioning. I’d like to add a third category that compliments both the art and the science: appreciation. Continue reading

The Gift of “Good Becoming Normal”

‘Tis the season of giving and I found a few gifts online in the form of awesome websites. The first is a dog training website chock full of phenomenal training information. It’s called Dogmantics. If I could snap my fingers and fast forward into the future I would love to provide a resource like this for horses. Continue reading

Dialogue with Dante: Something Wonderful

Falling in Love Again
I really do fall in love way too easily, especially with horses. Dante has stolen my heart and, thankfully, stolen the heart of his owner even more. The contrast between where he was when we started and where he is after four short sessions makes me smile. Dante sees the world through different eyes. When I first met him his eyes were wide, his head was held high and there was no question that he was very alert. Continue reading

The Beauty of Interaction

After I wrote about the bilingual nature of horses and their ability to speak and respond to both pressure and attraction, I realized another facet. It appears that pressure-based communications are reactive and attraction-based communications are interactive.

When a trainer uses pressure-release techniques, they are counting on the fact that the horse will have a reaction. Continue reading

What the Heck Kind of Training Is This Anyway?

If you read my page about Attraction, or if you’ve read anything from my PaintingHorse site, you may say, “Sounds like this is Clicker Training” and then wonder why I’m not calling what I do Clicker Training.  I think a more correct term would be to say it’s Positive Reinforcement training, but wow, is that a loaded term. Continue reading