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The Art of Clicker Training
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The Art of Clicker Training

Horses are emotional creatures that are not only immensely powerful but are also smart. They have shared a strong bond with humans since the beginning of time as a result of their emotional characteristics that resonate with human beings. Horse owners claim that these animals are able to sense various human emotions and react to them accordingly.

Working and training horses requires a composed and subtle way of communication. Consequently, this turns into an exercise depending on one’s emotional awareness, self-control, and the ability to curb impulses. There are various methods to train horses, one of the most fascinating being the art of clicker training.

Better Than Negative Reinforcement

The fundamental motive of clicker training is to train a cheerful horse, by providing it an environment where it feels free to present all kinds of exciting behavior around an equally happy owner. The horse, with a little assistance from the trainer, tries out new behaviors or ‘tricks’. The cheerful mood of the owner can prove to be a treat for the horse.

It has been proven scientifically that animals trained with negative reinforcement do not try something new. This behavior may occur because they are frightened of being corrected or punished if they do something wrong. This is why clicker training is preferred by many horse owners around the world, as positive reinforcement leads to the horses being more open in trying new things.

Not So Much Different in Humans

Barbara Sher, a famous book author and life coach from the United States, believes in the idea that admiration helps you become braver. During one of her life coaching sessions, Barbara Sher asked the students in her class to tell the person sitting next to them about anything they were fond of in them. She believes that there’s something in everybody that someone else may like. She emphasizes on the fact that one needs to tell others about what they like in them rather than pointing out their mistakes. The same rule is used in the art of clicker training for horses.

One of Barbara’s methods for learning is to use a ‘backwards flowchart’. This comprises of a flowchart leading towards a goal, inquiring for any steps that have to be fulfilled before one can proceed to their goal. In the long run, this process can get exhausting. Barbara advises that one should never forget to reward themselves for every step achieved in this process, so as to keep the motivation alive. The same principle is used in the art of clicker training. When horses are trained in a cheerful and positive atmosphere, being treated for every step they achieve on the way to their goals, then the results speak for themselves.

Clearly we can now see how animals, especially horses, are reactive to human emotions and respond well to positive behavioral training. Just as humans require a positive learning environment during their development, animals also need a rewarding environment that helps increase their cognitive skills efficiently and techniques like clicker training provide them with exactly what they need.

Disclaimer: Of Horse! and sponsors do not endorse nor validate the accuracy of a blog post. Each article is the opinion of the blogger.

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  1. Of Horse Support
    Of Horse Support
    Great post! Thanks for sharing. This sounds like a way more effective way to train a horse than negative reinforcement.

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