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Old 04-24-2014, 10:28 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Peer reviewed scientific study on clicker training horses

Clicker Research Challenges | Karen Pryor Clicker Training
I found the "behavioral side effects" of clicker training on the horses particularly interesting.
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Old 04-24-2014, 10:36 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I have found there definitely is something calming about the clicker sound to my dog. We have taken him on pack walks(he is dog reactive) after a 5 minute session of clicking and rewarding calmness and focus on me.

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Old 04-26-2014, 10:33 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Peer reviewed where?

All I see is a synopsis of a 'study' embedded in the article. I'll look at it again but it's interesting that Karen Pryor gets all excited about having a 'scientific peer reviewed' study? I thought she already had loads of peer reviewed scientific studies to support her beliefs?

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I'm happy, therefore, to be able to tell you about the publication of what I believe is the first data-based clicker-training research paper to appear in a peer-reviewed scientific journal. The paper describes the thesis research done by Dawnery Ferguson for a master's degree in behavior analysis from the University of North Texas.
Yeah, embellishing somewhat...me thinks. I don't know exactly how peer reviewed this is, given it's for a master's but it's about time that some studies were done.

I've had a just a bit....of experience with this problem, loading horses.

If you want to use the clicker method and it works for you, great.

Me, I've used different methods depending on the horse. There's many, many different ways of training horses to load successfully.

Usually I've found just lunging them for a bit when they refuse to load works for a lot of horses. You load or you work. Usually they pick loading.

I had an abused off the track TB that was insanely difficult to load I used John Lyons method, which is gentle persistence in a nutshell.

I'm NOT a fan of clicker training horses because I have personally witnessed once well mannered horses turn into obnoxious spoilt 1000 pound brats and 1000 pound spoilt obnoxious brats are very dangerous.

My last farrier dropped clients who started clicker training their horses because horses that previously would stand quietly to be trimmed/shod started acting out. Not because he cared what training method the owner used it's just that the horses no longer would stand safely while he was working with them. A farrier doesn't have time to click and praise when he's got a hot shoe in tongs in one hand and holding the horses hoof in another. He can't afford to get hurt and not work, so he just stopped shoeing those horses.

Maybe these people were just not doing the clicker training correctly, I don't know but my experience has been if it ain't broke don't fix it.
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Old 04-26-2014, 10:41 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I’ve always liked to learn, so I wasn’t the kind of person who would simply discover one method and devote everything to it. I believe that each horse is different and different methods work better for different horses. I want to have more than just one tool in my toolbox. So I didn’t stop when I discovered clicker training. I kept searching for new methods. I discovered that Rainy excelled at clicker training while Breezy hated it. At that point I was told that I was wrong – one of my horses could absolutely not hate clicker training because all horses loved it since it was the only humane way to train. I disagreed, and that’s when I started noticing the darker side of the clicker community.

In my search for new methods, I started learning to train with pressure and release more effectively (which Breezy excelled at) and I started exploring unique techniques like SATS
Why I Started Clicker Training, Why I Quit Clicker Training, and What I Learned From It - Riding Rain Quarter Horses

read on what happens to the author when she ventures away from clicker training...interesting read.
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Old 04-26-2014, 11:04 AM   #5 (permalink)
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[quote]The authors wrote: "Target training and shaping were effective in training the five horses to load into a trailer without the use of punishment or negative reinforcement. The horses' loading generalized to other trailers and to other trainers, including the owner. Although no procedures were implemented to decrease the undesired behaviors that occurred during baseline, they disappeared soon after trailer training began."Furthermore, the authors point out, undesirable behaviors also decreased outside of the training situation. The mares who once fled to the far side of the field when they saw a person with a halter became more than easy to catch: they came up to the gate and put their heads in the halters voluntarily. They started cooperating around the barn and in other situations. They became, one might say, friendly[quote]
I don't have any experience with horses, besides being obsessed with them as a child and taking a few riding lessons, so it is interesting to hear from someone who knows horses. What interested me about this study, as it pertains to dogs, was that "undesirable behaviors decreased outside of the training situation". It does not seem that the horses in the study became spoiled brats, quite the opposite-they became more friendly and began to volunteer behaviors like putting their heads in halters. Something I have noticed with my own dogs is that they will both offer behaviors that have been instilled with a clicker or marker in other situations. For example, Grim wants to chase bicycles, so I have started feeding him treats and asking him to sit each time one goes by. He is beginning now to offer to look at me when he sees a bicycle. Not every time, but we are working on shaping an alternate behavior to lunging at bicyclists :-) There were five horses in the study, which is a small group. I'd be interested to see this study extended to dogs with problem behaviors, and have a larger sample size. I'm sure the results would be interesting.
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Old 04-26-2014, 11:25 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Well that's what one master's student at small TX college has come up with. As far as 'studies' I wouldn't call it ground breaking. It's a master's thesis.....

If you read the blog I posted and the comments posted beneath it you'll find in practice it's not all it's chalked up to be in the hands of many horse owners.

Besides where's all the 'science' people are touting about clicker method?

Karen Pryor herself is all excited because this is the 'first' study?

Ya know I really, really, really don't care what method people choose. But when someone lauds something to be what it's not that gets my Baloney radar going and I don't like baloney.
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Old 04-26-2014, 11:27 AM   #7 (permalink)
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I thought this lady (Rebecca @ 04/22/2014 18:01) put it well in the blog I linked above:

Quote:
It's not just the bullying behavior, but the "if it's not working for you, you MUST not be using it right" attitude.

I am a dog trainer, a horse woman, and I have spent most of my life working with and training exotic animals. I'm very familiar with the science of clicker . . . and the flaws in the research.

I see what the clicker-only revolution has done to dog training. It's come to the point that today, a group stay is considered dangerous. Why? Because people can't seem to train a reliable stay. (Also, in with the positive-movement came a belief that ANY dog can do ANYTHING but I'm sorry, some things just shouldn't be rehab projects.)

I currently have 2 dogs who are not happy clicker trainers. One gets rather annoyed when you don't tell him what you want. He HATES the guessing game, the uncertainty if it all. I have another that came to me with some issues, and from day one, we've likened him more to a horse than a dog. He seems to excel when we use the pressure and release techniques of horsemanship, as opposed to the hands-off approach of clicker.

It's not always the trainer, sometimes . . . it's the dog. But I think they're afraid to learn that their technique isn't 100% perfect. It has it's place, it works for many situations and animals. But not all. And that is OKAY. It's not just the bullying behavior, but the "if it's not working for you, you MUST not be using it right" attitude.

I am a dog trainer, a horse woman, and I have spent most of my life working with and training exotic animals. I'm very familiar with the science of clicker . . . and the flaws in the research.

I see what the clicker-only revolution has done to dog training. It's come to the point that today, a group stay is considered dangerous. Why? Because people can't seem to train a reliable stay. (Also, in with the positive-movement came a belief that ANY dog can do ANYTHING but I'm sorry, some things just shouldn't be rehab projects.)

I currently have 2 dogs who are not happy clicker trainers. One gets rather annoyed when you don't tell him what you want. He HATES the guessing game, the uncertainty if it all. I have another that came to me with some issues, and from day one, we've likened him more to a horse than a dog. He seems to excel when we use the pressure and release techniques of horsemanship, as opposed to the hands-off approach of clicker.

It's not always the trainer, sometimes . . . it's the dog. But I think they're afraid to learn that their technique isn't 100% perfect. It has it's place, it works for many situations and animals. But not all. And that is OKAY.
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Old 04-26-2014, 11:35 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Peer reviewed scientific study on clicker training horses

Just a side note- it can absolutely be peer reviewed even if it's "just" a master's thesis... if she submitted to a journal, it's reviewed. I had my master's thesis published in a big-time peer-reviewed journal.



Anywho, I agree with everything else, for sure. I also used John Lyons methods with my OTTB who was a very pushy, very defensive mare and had great success. When I got her she was so pushy (and dangerous) that I essentially started from scratch, on the ground, and basically practiced horsey NILIF- she didn't so much as move an inch without my say so. Boundaries are SO important with horses like that.



I've heard from a handful of people who tried clicker training and ended up with horses displaying OCD behavior, as well... horses can be pretty prone to adopting superstitious behavior.







Quote:
Originally Posted by Gwenhwyfair View Post
Peer reviewed where?



All I see is a synopsis of a 'study' embedded in the article. I'll look at it again but it's interesting that Karen Pryor gets all excited about having a 'scientific peer reviewed' study? I thought she already had loads of peer reviewed scientific studies to support her beliefs?



eta:







Yeah, embellishing somewhat...me thinks. I don't know exactly how peer reviewed this is, given it's for a master's but it's about time that some studies were done.



I've had a just a bit....of experience with this problem, loading horses.



If you want to use the clicker method and it works for you, great.



Me, I've used different methods depending on the horse. There's many, many different ways of training horses to load successfully.



Usually I've found just lunging them for a bit when they refuse to load works for a lot of horses. You load or you work. Usually they pick loading.



I had an abused off the track TB that was insanely difficult to load I used John Lyons method, which is gentle persistence in a nutshell.



I'm NOT a fan of clicker training horses because I have personally witnessed once well mannered horses turn into obnoxious spoilt 1000 pound brats and 1000 pound spoilt obnoxious brats are very dangerous.



My last farrier dropped clients who started clicker training their horses because horses that previously would stand quietly to be trimmed/shod started acting out. Not because he cared what training method the owner used it's just that the horses no longer would stand safely while he was working with them. A farrier doesn't have time to click and praise when he's got a hot shoe in tongs in one hand and holding the horses hoof in another. He can't afford to get hurt and not work, so he just stopped shoeing those horses.



Maybe these people were just not doing the clicker training correctly, I don't know but my experience has been if it ain't broke don't fix it.
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Old 04-26-2014, 11:48 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Understood and I don't mean to imply it's 'nothing'. But as I mentioned above it's not ground breaking it's the 'first' peer reviewed study and it was published in "Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis".

In blue, yup, very well put. I really don't want to say 'no' to any method a person chooses to use but with horses I have just seen it end up badly too many times that I just contain myself!

Quote:
Originally Posted by LoveEcho View Post
Just a side note- it can absolutely be peer reviewed even if it's "just" a master's thesis... if she submitted to a journal, it's reviewed. I had my master's thesis published in a big-time peer-reviewed journal.

Anywho, I agree with everything else, for sure. I also used John Lyons methods with my OTTB who was a very pushy, very defensive mare and had great success. When I got her she was so pushy (and dangerous) that I essentially started from scratch, on the ground, and basically practiced horsey NILIF- she didn't so much as move an inch without my say so. Boundaries are SO important with horses like that.

I've heard from a handful of people who tried clicker training and ended up with horses displaying OCD behavior, as well... horses can be pretty prone to adopting superstitious behavior.

I guess I can think of a couple of horses who might respond well to basic clicker training, but honestly, I don't think horses really "think" like that.
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Old 04-26-2014, 12:01 PM   #10 (permalink)
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The Best Animal Trainers in History: Interview with Bob and Marian Bailey, Part 1 | Animal Behavior and Medicine Blog | Dr. Sophia Yin, DVM, MS
Here is an interview with the founders of clicker training, who studied with B. F. Skinner. Using a sound to predict a reward goes back to Pavlov's research.
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