Tuesday, January 19, 2010
It just clicked!
I am reading Karen Pryor's new book Reaching the Animal Mind in which it has a section on her pony training days and "Pony surfing" I will tell you no more but I do encourage anyone interested in shaping and positive reinforcement to pick up a copy!
This long weekend was fantastic as I got to work with Bodhi and the clicker. We are working on three main things and I will try not to move on till we have these on cues (though it is so hard!).
manners cue- to work on his over eagerness during training. I was rewarding him when he kept his head away from my hands and pockets
Targeting- While leading he is the slowest walker in the universe. It leads to me feeling like I am constantly nagging him. We used his targeting behavior to work on walking speed. I used a dressage whip as the target.
Undersaddle we worked on transitions and being forward. I clicked and rewarded for speed in which he responded to my legs and voice to trot and canter. We then worked for a sustained trot and he was clicked when he maintained his speed on his own.
All three areas are well on their way, he responded consistently and seemed to understand what I am asking for. The next step will to put the behaviors on a cue. The cue for the anti-mugging I think will be me saying "Manners". The cue to increase his speed while leading will be "walk-up" The cues while riding will be my same neg reinforcement cues but by using positive reinforcement as well I hope to really soften up my aids. I would like to not use spurs anymore. I have been told by trainers I use them correctly, and I know they can be a good tool I just don't like the feel. I am very excited as Bodhi was more forward yesterday than he has been in a while with spurs. How powerful this is! I think we both have more fun too. Which is after all the most important part.
Tie is well. The picture is of him begging for a carrot. He is such a ham. When I wonder if the things I did to get Tie were worth the trouble and problems in my realtionship with the owner I just to have to look at him to know the answer. I am thankful for Tie and I think he is thankful for me (and Kathy too!)