Attraction

What is Attraction?

Let’s take a visit to a marine mammal park.

What does training with attraction look like? Watch how the enormous Orca/Killer Whale is rewarded after each lap around the pool. Notice that the reward was not a release from pressure, it was a fish. Was there a handler floating in a raft with a really big stick waving it at the whale to make swim in circles? No.

Here’s Merriam Webster’s definition of attract:

  • A draw by appeal to a natural or excited interest, emotion or aesthetic sense

Their definition of attraction is:

  • The action or power of drawing forth a response
  • A force acting mutually between particles of matter, tending to draw them together, and resisting their separation
  • Something that attracts or is intended to attract people by appealing to their desires and tastes

Which reward do you think the whale would find more appealing to its tastes? The stopping of the stick waving, or a fish? Consider for a moment what would happen if you were to make a whale, a killer whale, uncomfortable. There would be no question as to what that whale would be having for lunch.

It’s totally in the trainer’s best interest to create a situation (to draw or appeal to the whale’s natural interest) where the whale feels good about what it’s being asked to do, or else. The presence of really sharp teeth and enormous tail flukes encourages trainers to train very mindfully.

How to Tame an Eagle, Prey Tell?
Now let’s go to a free-flight bird show with birds of prey.

Notice that these birds are not attached to a tether and there’s no enclosure, no roof. These birds could fly away at any time. Also, notice the really sharp beak on the eagle and equally sharp talons. At any moment those talons have the potential to do some serious damage. But they don’t. The trainer has created a situation where the bird wants to be with them. The motivation is so strong that the bird does not fly away, nor does it rip a human to bits.

Did you see a trainer in the middle of the arena waving anything like a stick at the bird? No, I just saw the bird being given a tiny piece of meat for returning from it’s free flight over the heads of the audience.

The moral of the story here is that if you pressure a whale, you could get eaten. If you pressure a bird of prey, it can fly away, or shred you.

These animals have to be trained using positive reinforcement ( attraction), or else. Just because we can train horses using pressure without getting eaten or having them run away, doesn’t mean we should.

Of Mice and Whales
A well known positive reinforcement trainer once told me that it’s as easy to train a killer whale as it is a mouse. The principals of positive reinforcement work across the board for all animals, so why the push to train horses exclusively with pressure?

In my opinion I think training horses with pressure has a nice payoff for the trainer. The trainer exerts some active energy at the horse and the horse responds. At a clinic it looks exciting with all the waving, flapping and fancy foot work. There’s a lot happening that you can see, even from the far-away bleachers. It’s quite dramatic and makes for a good show, giving the people their money’s worth.

Training with attraction, on the other hand, appears really boring, no whacking sound effects, no Fred Astaire moves. The horse is simply moving happily towards what feels good, not in a galloping frenzy away from what feels bad. The deeper level of training with attraction comes when you realize your horse is with you because it wants to be, not because it’s contained in a round pen or restrained by a rope.

As Free as the Wind Blows
Most of my work with my horses takes place with them at liberty, unhaltered, in a two-acre field. I treat them as if they have wings, capable of flying away at any moment like a free-flight bird. My training challenge is to motivate my horses to want to stay and interact with me. If I make a mistake, they simply walk away. If I keep them motivated, they don’t want to be any place else in the world except with me.

I like to teach every single behavior with attraction that is normally taught with pressure.

For instance, if I needed to teach my horse to back up, I could pull on his halter or send energy down the lead or wave a whacking stick at it. But instead, I teach it to target an object and then teach it to follow the object backwards. As the horse is backing up (following or being attracted to the object) I’ll say Back. Then once the horse knows how to back with attraction, then I’ll add a wriggle of the rope as cue, only after the horse first knows how to be attracted into the behavior.

This is my my training focus and the inspiration for this journal:

How many ways can I attract a horse into doing what normally would be achieved through pressure?

The payoff for me training this way is written all over my horses’ faces. When I appear in the pasture with a saddle and bridle, they race to me to see who gets to be ridden first. I never expected that horses could show this type of enthusiasm. I’m finding it really, well, attractive.

– cw

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19 thoughts on “Attraction

  1. hi cheryl…after a hard snowy winter i am happy to report that i have two of my mustangs standing together at liberty on their tire pedestals. they really like it and soon, i will start teaching the other two. thank you for your insight and help. your friend in mt. shasta, roxanne >>>——->

  2. Hi Cheryl,

    I’ve loved horses all of my life, and have had some wonderful hores in it.
    As a young adult, I rode as I was taught by older more “experienced” riders. But I noticed that my horse wasn’t digging any part of it, and I began a journey to understand how to become a partner with my horse. It has been and still is trial and error.

    I’m not a professional trainer, I don’t have all the answers to every problem. Infact, 4 of my horses are recuses and I am continually scratching my head on how to help them move through it, and understand what they need.

    I love my horses, and my goal is simply for them to enjoy being around me, as I do them.
    Reading your blog soothes my soul, because sometimes its not always easy finding the right way, as apposed to the socially acceptable way…

    Thanks for sharing your experiences and wisdoms,
    Kathy

    • Hi Kathy. Thank you for sharing. You hit the nail on the head when it comes to the socially acceptable way. I think the incredible journey starts when as you said, we start seeing that our horses aren’t ‘digging’ conventional treatment. I’m completely in love with asking my horses, “What floats your boat?” rather than “You’re going to float my boat! Right now! (Jab, Jab, kick, kick, tap, tap). It seems like when I prioritize their feelings over mine, suddenly I have a horse that wants to float my boat effortlessly. I think too, the rescue horses carry such gratitude. Your horses are very lucky to have you.

  3. hi cheryl…emotionally fractured horses; okay here goes… to me, an emotionally fractured horse is one that has endured trauma, pain, injury, abuse or neglect, to the point that it can no longer find the peace it needs to live comfortably in it’s nautrual world (let alone the world of man). it’s my belief that oftentimes the only way these horses can find that peace again is by being returned to the wild or put into an environment that mimics, as best it can, that environment. since my experiance is mostly with mustangs that were not born in captivity and were fractured either while actually being caught or thereafter, i can really only talk about them altho i think many of these ideas can apply to domestic horses as well. first of all let me say that i know mustangs are different. not better, just different. they are keener, sharper, and more mentally quick and rescourceful than other horses because it is in their blood. they are more finely tuned into their environments because their survival depends on it constantly. these qualities in most cases are a plus for someone who has one, but, you may just get one that just can’t contract with a human. i’ve seen this in wild horses and altho it’s sad in a way, in another way i admire and respect it. after all why should a horse who is living a happy and healthy life want to leave to come live with us? this is hard for some humans to understand and if it is for you, go out sometime to a place where horses live like this and watch them. the first time i did it brought me to my knees. they are so pure, so free, so utterly happy and beautiful in their horse world, and think that even domesticated horses have a strong primal memory of this. seeing them like this changed the way i feel about them. i think that the Creator made all living beings equal. that we are no better or no less than a horse just because we are human beings. this too is hard for most people to understand but if you do, then the way you treat other beings including horses, changes. you can no longer beat them or mistreat them or (here’s the biggie) expect them to be here in the world for you, doing things the way you want and expect them to!!! if you listen the horse will tell you!!! if you look the horse will show you!!! in their language. what is required by us to hear and see? an open heart and clear eyes and patience with ourselves. i had a big, astonishingly beautiful mare named queen zenya dann. her story in a nutshell…10 year old shoshone indian horse kicked off blm land, spoken for by a bad man named slick gardner along with 80 other mares and babies, abandoned by him at fish creek for 3 months with no water or food, rescued by LRTC and others after many of the mares and their foals died, reahabed at shirley allen’s, said a sad goodbye to her filly kaytee who was adopted, then adopted by me. this poor mare was very emotionally fractured, heartbroken, and pissed. she had had it wih humans and would let you know just by the way she looked at you. i could pet her, love her, groom her, halter her (sometimes) but i was never going to ride her or turn her into the gorgeous riding horse i envisoned. i saw her chase two big grown men out of a 40 foot round pen because they were throwing ropes at her (dumb dumb dumb!!) trying to de-spook her. needless to say, i had a fit and after bawling them out real good got her calmed down. this is a mare who when i brought two sweet little girls aged 5 and 8 to see her one time, she got the softest, brightest, twinkle in her eye and was ever so gentle and friendly to them! but she was in no way, ever going to be what I (thought i) wanted her to be. she couldn’t. it just wasn’t in her. i had a mustang (HoonaH) die from what i believe was a broken heart…he was amazing, and wonderful, and we loved each other very much. but he would stand on top of a little hill in our obstacle course area, and stare off into the distance with tears rolling down his face!! do we give these horses away when they come into our lives because they won’t or can’t do what we ask of them? would you give back a child that you had adopted even if you knew that child had emotional problems? no… you don’t give up. you look, pray, ask, for a better more effective way to help the child, the horse, the dog, the husband, to find their way to happiness and a healthful life. it may not be the life we want or wish for them, but with patience and love and the willingness to really really see and listen, it will be our best gift to them and the highest expression of love. i think your on the right path my friend and our four-leggeds will be better for it. many blessings, roxanne >>>——-> p.s. queen zenya dann now lives at the shingletown wild horse sanctuary in califronia and is quite happily, one of ‘the phantoms’ harem mares. if you goggle her name you can read about her on one of terri farley’s websites

  4. My Dear Sister,
    This site and the comments people left is beautiful.
    Princess Stephanie say “meow” and a bow .
    love
    Brother

  5. I am so pleased I found your site and couldn’t believe my eyes with the horse painting! I teach Art and love horses so what better! But most of all I love the whole idea of what you are doing. I came back to horses after 35 years last summer long story! I now have my boy Del and have been following NH methods with him as this seemed to be the only other alternative to ‘normal’ horsemanship which at times horrifies me. For me it has always been about the relationship not the riding. That’s why I quit. I couldn’t afford my own and hated the riding school thing.

    However, like you, I never liked the idea of pressure. I am way too soft with animals and with horses, well, obviously am a dead loss as I will never gain my horses respect if I don’t batter him. Del was given to me last November. He is an ex racehorse off track for some years. He had a tendon injury and was no good for his owner as she couldn’t hunt him again so he had to go. I have spent all the time building mutual trust and now have a wonderful relationship which is growing all the time. He is such a gentle and sweet boy when not afraid.

    But having read your wonderful stuff I’m kind of stuck as I don’t want to carry on with the pressure thing (not that i did a lot of that anyway) but I don’t know where to go from here. I have sat on him a couple of times but am having problems getting him to move at all. He is apparently supposed to be forward going, and when a very experienced but ‘normal’ rider got on him, he just went and she commented how forward going he was and yet for me he just won’t budge. I am not nervous getting on him and ride on a very loose rein, so how can I get him to want to move for me rather than stand relaxed and falling asleep?

    He is pretty much the same on the ground now too. He likes nothing better than standing next to me and nodding off. He was scared of the rope and any form of pressure, but now I can hardly get him to move his feet. I did try increasing my energy the other evening at liberty as he was happily walking around the field with me. So there I was running, skipping and jumping around, with him looking at me as if to say ‘Gosh you’re lively tonight. I’ll just have a snooze until you calm down.’

    I know he doesn’t have a huge play drive. He was the same with the bossy, ‘I just want to run jump and buck’ horse who shared his field. I think he was relieved when he went away, to be honest. So how do I motivate the gentle, no pressure way without him loosing interest and nodding off? I also have to wonder now whether he was just a fast horse through fear and now he is not fearful of me. He feels he doesn’t have to be.

    I would add at this point I have discovered that he headshakes in hotter and sunnier days, and the last time I got on him he just wanted to rub his nose on my stirrups. I think it is a pollen allergy, and I’m looking into herbal remedies and honey as well as bitless bridles. Although this may have contributed to his not wanting to move on that day it doesn’t explain why when someone else rode him he was fine (apart from the headshaking).

    • Hi Jo,
      Welcome back to horses! I too had a 20 year span from my last horse to my present herd. I guess this is a common phenomena and they call us re-riders. I like the term, but I feel after my 20 years my relationship with my horses has changed and it includes much more than riding!

      Your horse sounds wonderful. From your description it seems like he may be simply reading your energy and your thoughts. Although you’re not nervous, you may be projecting quiet and calm, which I think is fantastic, especially if he is being retrained from racing. Even more fantastic that he’s reading your projection so clearly. What a great team you two make. I love this.

      Another thought, he may used to more contact than you give him in the reins. I don’t always equate contact with pressure, he just may need clear guide lines at this point, and a loose rein may leave him wondering where to go. If he can’t feel connected to you through the reins, which is probably what he is used to, he may not be moving simply because he doesn’t know where to go. You may try more contact in the beginning just to give him a bit more security, and then once he’s had more experience with you to understand your direction, you should be able to ride with the contact you’re comfortable with.

      As far as getting him to move, I like to ask the question, what would make him want to move? I think you’re completely correct that in the past, much of his movement was a result of pressure or fear. With my horses, I do a lot of ground work by teaching them to follow a target. This way they learn about moving forward toward something with a reward when they reach it, rather than moving away from an irritating stimulus.

      I can completely relate to trying to ‘up’ my energy to get my horses to move, but I swear they can read my mind and know that I just don’t have it in me to ‘make’ them move out of force or pressure. I much prefer to invite them to move in a situation where they are moving because it feels good, not out of avoidance of an irritant, like me waving something at them or kicking or cropping their sides.

      I’m right there with you in that department with my young Clydesdale. He’s the poster child for mellow and is nothing at all like my fiesty Pasos that love to move. In the videos of Starting Raleigh with Attraction, I first taught him to retrieve, then would get him to move forward willingly by throwing a ball from his back to retrieve.

      This worked great for moving forward as long as he had a target. Once I stopped throwing the ball, he was a little lost. So I tried an experiment where I took about 6 bins I use for hay (rubber/plastic storage containers without lids) and arranged them in a 60 foot circle. I walked Raleigh in hand and asked him to target each bin. I even threw a couple of alfalfa pellets in each bin, just to get his interest. Then when I was under saddle in the middle of all these bins, he was very interested in visiting each bin. I just had to verbally tell him right or left with soft rein guidance. After a few large circles visiting each bin, I was able to do all sorts of patterns, diagonal, figure eights etc. He kept moving without any pressure as long as his nose was pointed at a bin. That was a very clear point of attraction for him.

      The point of my long winded explanation is that I had no problem getting him to move as long as he had a clear idea of where I wanted him to go. I think the experienced horses are very secure in taking guidance from the rider, relying on all sorts of physical cues (seat, rein, leg) as far as direction. I have a feeling your amazing horse just needs more experience understanding how to follow your cues.

      I’ve found with green horses that creating obstacles for them to walk through, or over, or around is a wonderful way to get them moving because it gives them a challenge and a focus. They aren’t relying solely on the rider’s cues as they have a visual guide. As you do this, pay close attention to your physical cues and apply them clearly so that when your horse is away from the obstacles he’ll understand the cues without visual stimuli. My guess is that your horse is making this transition. In his past he had the track, the other horses running next to him as his guide as far as where to go and how fast. Now he just needs to be reprogrammed to your set of guides. So instead of following the track, he’ll follow your seat or legs or reins. Instead of keeping up with the next horse, he’ll follow your energy or seat and legs for speed.

      I think you have a unique opportunity to create a different experience of being ridden for him. Here’s an exercise that my friend and I tried with her 8-year-old, completely untrained, PMU mare. We put her in a bitless bridle and a surcingle with long lines. I wanted her to get used to moving forward without pressure. We put a bucket of a few bits of feed on on the far side of the fence. My friend was across the pasture with the bucket and shook it. I was behind the mare and said, “Walk.” After a few repetitions, the mare learned that walk meant forward. Eventually we paired the shaking bucket with the walk cue and a light touch of a driving whip and soon the mare was moving forward like a dream, without pressure.

      Our goal was to create a dramatic, wonderful first experience of moving forward and I think we did, judging by the mare’s willingness and calm demeanor.

      So to answer your question as far as How can I get him to move for me rather than standing relaxed and falling asleep? while using gentle motivation, I’d create situations where he has, in his mind, a good reason to move forward, not out of avoidance, but out of choice. Creating targets is a great start, but he may do just fine if you create little obstacles for him to negotiate and help guide or channel his movement.

      It’s always my challenge and one of my greatest joys to find ways so that my horses enjoy being ridden as much as I enjoy being with them. I like the motto, Show, don’t tell. If I can show my horses the way, rather than tell them, I think they feel like they get a chance to decide and become such willing partners.

      Best wishes to you and your wonderful horse. Keep me posted!
      Cheryl

  6. Hi Cheryl,
    I, too, am inspired and moved by your blog. Thank you for sharing your stories, experiences and your learning!

    Reading some of these stories so reminds me of my experiences with my horse, who I adopted earlier this year. He gets so tense working in pressure-based situations that he grinds his teeth! So, I’ve been searching for ways to help him – and me – address this tension and anxiety. I learned about clicker training and found that he responded fairly well, but I felt kind of at a loss after the initial sessions. What do I do now? Know what I mean? But your blog has provided lots of food for thought and I’m feeling reinspired and remotivated to build on our relationship through mutual interaction, rather than unilateral control (or perceived control).

    Reading your blog, I also found myself wondering if you are familiar with Abraham-Hicks (www.abraham-hicks.com)? Their explanation of the Law of Attraction and guidance as far as how to deliberately create a life of joy and happiness and growth is clear, concise and easy to put into practice (in my opinion). They have free introductory audio CD’s through their website: http://www.abraham-hickslawofattraction.com/lawofattractionstore/product/AB_CD1.html. I think you’d really get a kick out of it… I know I’ve felt the same kind of energy from listening to and reading their words as I have from reading yours.

    Thank you again and please keep the blog posts coming! 🙂

    • Thank you so much for your comments. You caught me. I’m a huge fan of Abraham-Hicks. They’re work is so practical, logical and makes so much sense and not just for humans. I find that all creatures, especially horses are really in tune to reading the thoughts, energy and vibrations of people around them.

      My ultimate goal is to help horses become deliberate creators so they can create a joyous life for themselves. If I can help them form positive associations and behaviors then they will be a horse that will be a joy to own, and then hopefully receive the best treatment from their owners and handlers.

      I’m just now realizing how powerful and important it is for a horse to be able to decide to feel better. In my heart I feel at the core of all undesirable horse related behavior is simply because the horse is not feeling good about something. I’ve found if I can create a situation where the horse feels good about doing something I ask the undesirable behavior vanishes like magic.

      The key for horses, just as it is for humans, is that I have to allow the horses the space to make the decision that getting on the horse trailer can feel good. If I force the horse into the trailer and hope it will feel better, the horse was denied the chance to create a new reality for himself. The real power is when the horse decides independently that the trailer is good.

      Thank you so much for you comment and including the links to Abraham Hicks.
      Best wishes,
      Cheryl

  7. “Just because we can train horses using pressure without getting eaten or having them run away, doesn’t mean we should.”

    I loved this! Your website is wonderful – thank you for sharing your experience and experiences with us.

    I have 3 horses – one has post traumatic stress too. I have been getting some positive results with him using clicker. I shall try some of what you show in your videos here. It’s just the right approach and energy for my worried boy!

    • I’m so glad you’re enjoying the blog. It really has been a spectacular journey watching DaVinci recover. He’s truly the engine behind why I write, because pressure-based techniques serve only to freak him out. He makes the contrast of using attraction-based techniques so clear. Each day he shows me something new about how I can relate to him.

      Best wishes for you and your herd. No doubt, you’ll soon be washing all your worried boy’s cares away. He’s lucky to have you.
      Cheryl

  8. Maybe I haven’t dug deeply enough, but could you expand on what you mean by having your horse “target” something? That seems to be the piece of this training style I am not getting. Thanks!

    • Hi Kelly,
      Great question. Having a horse target an object means asking it touch an object typically with its nose or hooves. I’ve also taught my gelding, recovering from post traumatic stress, to target his neck to a syringe, or his forehead to a grooming tool. The process of teaching a horse to target has proven to be the most powerful tool to be able to communicate with a horse without force or pressure.

      For instance, when my PSTD gelding was unhalterable, I could still lead him through the pasture, on the trailer, really, anywhere I needed him to go by simply asking him to touch and follow my target stick (an old crop with a bright yellow sponged taped to the end). If I needed him to stand or stay, I’d put the target stick on the ground and ask him to touch it. This was also a great way to teach the ‘head down’ cue.

      When I needed my Clyde to stand completely still for harnessing or mounting, I placed a 20″ x 20″ concrete paver where I wanted him to stand and taught him to target his front feet to the paver (stationary target). I taught to my Clyde to walk forward without pressure under long lines and under saddle by having him fetch his ball (a moving target). I taught him to move away from me, by moving toward something he found enjoyable.

      I frequently work with all four horses at the same time by asking them to stand on their individual tire pedestals. I can groom them at the same time, at liberty, untied, taking turns, while the other horses practice ‘stay’.

      I think the reason horses take to targeting so well is that it’s one of the first lesson it learned as foal, to follow and target its mama. Upon reaching mama, he found warmth, security and something to eat. I just try to duplicate that dynamic through the process of asking the horse to touch an object, I click or use a sound that says ‘right answer’, and then reward with a few alfalfa pellets. (Touch/click/treat)

      This is also the process I use to teach horses to paint. After they know how to target an object, I then ask for them to pick it up in their mouths. This too becomes a valuable tool for helping horses overcome fears tarps, or grocery bags. It seems once they can manipulate the scary monster with their nose, mouth or hooves they often are no longer afraid. Rather than me trying to desensitize them through habituation, by exposing them to the scary thing over and over again, the process of touch/click/treat allows them to quickly make the decision that that they don’t need to be afraid.

      You can see video of one DaVinci’s early targeting lessons here on my website.

      Best wishes,
      Cheryl

  9. Ok, these videos are really interesting, but the very first step is missing – I am still not seeing a good explanation of “targeting.” Did you present them with an object and touch it to their nose and then click and treat maybe? I think I can incorporate your techniques but without this integral building block, it might not work.

    Thanks for being willing to explain this – I know that once you’ve done something for so long or your horse’s have mastered it, it can be hard to remember how another person should start out. So I appreciate you taking the time to explain it to me.

    • Hi Kelly,
      You know, I write so much about targeting, I totally overlooked the fact that I haven’t included the first step. Duh. My focus has been on the ‘why’ it works so well that I’ve neglected the how. Sorry about that.

      I do have an explanation of how to teach targeting, but it’s hidden in my Teach Your Horse to Paint tutorial.
      It’s a free download from my paintinghorse.com website. I have a pretty clear explanation in the steps section.

      Meanwhile, you’ve inspired me to create a new post about this. I’ll be working on it asap.

      Thanks,
      Cheryl

  10. Hi Cheryl,

    I am really excited to have found your website and now your blog.

    I look forward to speaking with you soon….thanks so much for all you do and offer.

    Kim

  11. Hi Cheryl,
    I love your site…It is so wonderful to be able to be inspired by new ways of connecting with our four legged friends…I have been given a “free” horse who i fell in love with when i was helping a friend help a woman who has too many horses and not enough heart…You know the story…Anyway he was one of the forgotten ones ..left in a stall 24/7. He is 7 yrs old and has had no training of any sort..I ended up with him because when he was gelded he had one testicle still up inside of him..So he is half gelding half stallion…The reason i fell in love with him was his easy going personallity..His name is Chico. I have tried different approaches to him and treats seem to be the grreatest motivators for him..He can back when i say back…He can walk on and follow me until i say whoa and trot as i run along side him until i say whoa..Its quite fun playing with him as this is all new to him and to me …We both are beginners..ANyway my question is when i am in the pen sometimes he nips at me or stands quite energetically alert giving me a look that makes me think your trying to either show off or over power me…I don’t know how to shift this..At one point i had my elbow up to block his head,I was feeling a little uneasy and i looked into his eye telling him to be kind i didn’t like him treating me like this..He never moved his head from my elbow he just looked at me..when i put my elbow down he was better..Still how do i get him to understand nipping is not an option and towering over me for a few minutes until it shifts is not an option…What am i doing wrong..How do i move this into joy and mutual respect … thank you….Christine…

    • Congratulations on welcoming Chico into your life!
      To answer your question this little phrase comes to mind, “Horses only repeat what they have been reinforced for”.

      If Chico is nipping or energetically staring a hole through your soul, I don’t think that he is showing off, I think it’s because he did these behaviors before and received reinforcement. He’s simply a smarty and seeing if his clever behaviors will work again.

      Definitely nipping is not an option. The first thing I would do is to make certain that he understands that Click Means Treat, and No Click, No Treat. Also in order to receive a treat, it comes from your hand as outstretched as possible from your body. In his case, you may even want to teach him to back up to receive a treat.

      I would set up a scenario where the right behavior is so clear and easy it never occurs to him to give you the incorrect behavior such as nipping or towering. Keep his mind busy ask him to give you a behavior that he has down pat, click and then treat with your arm outstretched. You could also ask him to back and gradually increase the time that he stays back by asking him to Stay. At this point, when he gives you the behaviors you want, which are the opposite of nipping and towering, you’d reinforce like crazy with a jackpot or special treat reserved for the difficult behaviors.

      Another super helpful thing is to break down exactly what you want from him. So, the opposite of nipping is standing still with his head tucked. You could put that on cue and reinforce like crazy when he gives you “standing still with head tucked.” Instead of towering, you may want him backed away from you a couple of steps with his head down, simply put that on cue, and reinforce that every time he gives that to you.

      My prediction is that he’ll be super thrilled to give you the behaviors you want. He’s just really excited to work with you and is repeating behaviors that have worked for him in the past. Your job is to show him new behaviors that will work even better than his old repertoire.

      Keep me posted!

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