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Clicker Training
 Moderated by: DrDeb  
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Patricia Barlow Irick

Joined: Thu Nov 1st, 2007
Location: Counselor, New Mexico USA
Posts: 42
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Mon Dec 17th, 2007 05:27 pm
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I know... way too verbose on this subject... one last thing though...

Sue McDonnell has done some work testing a calming hormonal spray on gentling horses. How cool would that be... spray the horse and it is trained!!!

Actually the spray was no better than the no-spray alternative, but she does have some accurate times for gentling to a specific set of criteria. Sounds like, with this positive reinforcement method she uses, it takes about 100 minutes.

Here is the link to McDonnell's paper:


Super Moderator

Joined: Fri Mar 30th, 2007
Posts: 3253
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Mon Dec 17th, 2007 06:13 pm
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Patricia, the object was never to get anything done in a set amount of time. This is another aspect of "having an agenda", which so easily translates to "being dangerous to your horse."

And another gimmick to add to the catalog, along with the spam notices about pheromones that will make you irresistible to men (or women), or herbal supplements that people use as a substitute for the real juice, which comes from within ourselves. "Rivers of living water," you know (or maybe, you don't know, and ought to go to the source of that quote to find out more about it).

Patricia, if you could let go of your agendas, including the idea that you have anything to teach the best students here, you might derive great benefit. One of the reasons I tell all those stories "on" myself is to indicate that, despite a graduate education which absolutely forbade belief in the animal's real nature and capabilities, SOMEHOW or other I managed to wriggle free of that trap and "escape" into the far wider, deeper, and more enjoyable philosophical and practical realm that I now inhabit.

All of this is an invitation to you, and to everyone else who reads or corresponds here, to join those of us who are already in that wonderful space in which people and animals can interact meaningfully, happily, and usefully without harm to either party.

Best wishes -- Dr. Deb


Pauline Moore

Joined: Fri Mar 23rd, 2007
Location: Crows Nest, Australia
Posts: 273
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Tue Dec 18th, 2007 10:32 am
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Patricia - You clearly disbelieve that I, or anyone else, can transform a frightened horse within a short space of time, but that's OK, I take no offense because it is not too many years since I would likely have reacted in exactly the same way, dismissing such claims as outrageous bragging, as at that time I was completely ignorant of any such possibilities, quite beyond my imagination and therefore to be doubted.

As Dr Deb has stated, the precise time taken is irrelevant - my comments about 'a few minutes' were specifically to grab your attention, to give you a glimpse of a world you have not yet seen, but true nonetheless.  I wish I did live close by and could show you in person how to teach your young mustang to be unafraid of having his feet picked-up, trimmed, photographed or anything else you might want.  I guarantee it would not take long - I have done it often enough.  I intensely dislike having to speak of what I personally have done, and only ever do so because I can't think of a better way to convincingly illustrate my point, so I'll only give you one example, and since you brought up the subject of feet handling, I'll choose to stay with that. 

I just love working with young horses, preferably completely unhandled, they are so easy compared to those who come with 'baggage' from previous interactions with people.  A few months ago I was asked to have a look at a young horse someone had just purchased.  This turned out to be a 7 yr old who had been broken-in (good word for it in this case) as a 2 yr old and then left out in a paddock for the next 5 years.  He had never, in his entire life, had his feet picked-up or handled (lived on rocks so hooves themselves were not too bad) and was very nervous of everyone and everything in his new environment, freezing rigid with fear whenever anyone touched him.  To make matters worse, he had been sent to a 'trainer' for a 'refresher' immediately after purchase, the trainer failing in all attempts to lift his feet but succeeding in increasing this sweet little horse's terror.  Well, yes, Patricia, I have to admit it did take a bit longer than normal to gain this fellow's trust - took me a full 40 minutes or so to trim all 4 feet, but he allowed me to help him lift the first foot within the first few minutes.  More importantly - he stayed perfectly relaxed for the whole time, not even wearing a halter he was not confined in any way, free to leave whenever he wished, but he chose to stay close to me and did not want to leave after I had finished his feet, even followed me to the paddock gate as I was reluctantly leaving him.

If this is not enough to spark your curiosity about a different way of relating to a horse, then I have no more words to use.  If you do want to know more, it is there for the asking -  Dr Deb freely helps anyone who really wants to understand.

I wish you well - Pauline


Joined: Wed Mar 21st, 2007
Location: Lafayette, California USA
Posts: 146
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Tue Dec 18th, 2007 07:13 pm
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I wished you lived in California, because I'd take any help you'd be willing to give with my horse!!!!



Joined: Thu Aug 23rd, 2007
Location: Healdsburg, California USA
Posts: 15
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Wed Dec 19th, 2007 01:15 am
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Pauline, You and Dr. Deb so generously provide us with a wealth of information to pore over.                                                                                     Thank you, Carole

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