Clicker Training????????

leah&lydia

I Love My Lydia :)
Oct 22, 2008
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Ok so i dont get the clicky bit? Wat is a clicker?
From what someone has told me, ive gathered a clicker is a reward???? I dont get that at all.
Please can someone enlighten me? :eek:
Thanks L&L x


*Note this is note a bashing thread, its a thread to expand my/other peoples knowledge of different techniques. :D
 

Xandoz

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Mar 9, 2009
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A clicker is a little plastic box with a button. When you press it, it makes a distinct double-click sound. It marks a good behaviour, and after a bit of training, the animal sees the click as a reward, ecause it implies that they are doing whatever was asked of them, correctly.
 

ilovemyboys

George and Dusty (Red)
Jul 11, 2008
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so how do they get to know that a clicker is good? at the beggining do you give them a treat and click the button so they know that a click is good or do you just expect them to sort it out themselves?
 

Xandoz

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Mar 9, 2009
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When I CT'd Daisy, for the first 2 minutes of every lesson, I click and treat without asking for any actual command, just to remind her that the clicker means a reard.

Look at it this way: If I say "Bow" and Daze puts her head down, I click and treat. If she doesn't, I don't click. So by me clicking, I'm marking the good behavour and rwarding it. However, from Daze's POV, by putting her head down, she's cuing me to treat her. If she wants a treat, she'll bow.

I don't reward her for bowing on her own; only when I ask, but as far as she's concerned, she's trained me to produce treats when she does certain things.
 

wundahoss

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May 7, 2008
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Hi,

It marks a good behaviour, and after a bit of training, the animal sees the click as a reward

Not quite. The click isn't a reward. It is the 'bridging signal' between the behaviour & reward(positive reinforcement). Instant reinforcement is imperative, especially with horses, but frequently it is not possible or desirable to give the animal a reward at the precise instant that the desired behaviour happens. That's when the bridging signal comes in. It sort of buys you time. The animal has been previously taught that the click means they'll get a treat or such, so you can click(or whatever) at the precise instant of whatever behaviour you want to strengthen, and the animal knows that it means a treat is on it's way.

Some people do indeed phase out the treats but keep clicking the behaviours, when the behaviours become learned. The signal is still no more a reward in itself, and if it was never reinforced, would revert back to a meaningless noise, but if the treats are occasionally still forthcoming, the animal learns to gamble & works because there is a chance of a treat whenever he hears the signal. This part of it is called a 'variable schedule of reinforcement'.
 

capalldubh

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May 26, 2006
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Can I add a little bit to maybe put it in context?

Clicker training is based on something called operant conditioning, which is one of the main way all animals - including humans - learn about things.

We learn that when we do something, things happen. So when we want to cross the road, we press a little button, a green man appears and the cars stop. When we want a drink, we put some money in a machine, and a can appears :)

Clicker training works very like this. Horses like food - one of the first things they learn is that if they look in a funny dark place between two uprights, they find a way of suckling milk :) So they're all set up to learn that there are things out there that tell them food is coming.

Say you want your horse go backwards (and to make it difficult, you want to do it without touching them ;)). You stand by the horse and eventually, they'll shift their weight back a little. You make a clicking sound with your tongue and then offer the horse a couple of pony nuts. Then you wait again, and the next time the horse shifts their weight backwards, you click again and offer a few pony nuts. From the horse's point of view, the world is suddenly becoming a little more predictable - "I did this, and heard that noise and food came... I might try doing the backwards thing again and see what happens..." And the backwards shifts start to happen more often, and the horse may move further backwards. You just keep clicking - to mark the exact second you saw what you wanted - and then offering the treats.

Horses learn very quickly this way - as do humans :) If my boss praises me for doing something, that's nice. If my boss praises me and pays me, I'm much more likely to turn up for work tomorrow :D

So there's nothing magic about the click - it's just a signal that food/a scratch/something nice is coming. The magic is that the horse is suddenly very keen to work out how to get you to click, regardless of whether you're training them to back up, touch a target, do a smooth trot/walk transition or trot in shoulder-in :)
 

xloopylozzax

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Jan 14, 2008
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^how do you ask for it though. ETA and how do you guarantee that you will get the behaviour you want, not the thing you 'taught' (word used loosely, its just association which tbh most humans are too slow to reward in order for it to associate) the other day.

i would be pretty ****ed off if the horse started running backwards on the off chance it will get a treat!
 
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notpoodle

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Jul 16, 2003
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just acquired a book on this (and a clicker and a massive tub full of little treats), like a step by step guide (thanks rocklenancy!) and have every intention of trying clicker with the 2-year-old. i did try with my old mare a few years back, she got way too excited, kept bashing into things and then demanded a treat :eek: will ensure this will NOT happen this time (which is why i have the book and proper guidance!) :p

Julia
x
 

leah&lydia

I Love My Lydia :)
Oct 22, 2008
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Hmm, right i get were your all coming from but then the horse is gona become food obsessed, constantly nagging for food??
To me the clicker is eqivelent (sp?) to a release of pressure.
Release of pressure, rest + food are the 3 things horses like. (dont no how to phrase it!)
When my horse does wat im asking she gets a release of pressure (like the clicker), then wen its going really well she gets a rest. But i tend not to use food as much, at the end of the session she gets a couple of mints, which she loves :p. But if im constantly giving her mints during the session she will nag me for them eg. nudging with her head, obvs after ive told her she cant do that, she doesnt do it again cos she doesnt want that pressure.
Thanks for all your replies :)
L&L x
 

rocklanenancy

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cues

You have to put the things you teach "on cue" so they are only offered when you ask for them. If you only click and reward when you give the cue, the horse will only offer them when asked. Of course the horse will try begging by offering the behaviours at first but that will go away if it is not rewarded. Heres what my pony learnt this week with clicker training http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B6_i8ZOQCAw if he offered this behaviour without me asking for it, he wouldnt get a click/treat, so he would give up pretty quickly. Once I ask for it, however he will jump at the chance to earn a reward. And as for pushy horses, teach them you only reward them when they arent being pushy, they soon learn bullying doesnt work. I only click and treat if my horses head is away from me, if he tried to grab or demand the food he gets nothing til he's stopped. He stopped trying to get the food very quickly.
 
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rocklanenancy

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If anyone wants to start clicker training I recommend starting with "dont shoot the dog" by karen pryor. Brilliant book, you can get a used copy for a few pounds of the net, explains how it all works and how you can use it.
 
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