Saturday, February 16, 2013

Clicker Training

My sister brought me a clicker yesterday at work! I tried it out on Seppel as he was the only one I brought to work yesterday, we worked on downs and eye contact, I was really happy with the results in that he gave me a TON of eye contact and was more consistent on his downs. What I really enjoy about the clicker is how clearly it helps to mark the wanted behavior, it's a lot easier than saying "Yes!' or "Good dog!" the click just seems to be a much clearer way to say "Yes, continue doing what you're doing!"

Today after I got off of work I went out to the barn to give the clicker a go with Cairo. I am by no means an expert in this kind of training. I know I could have spent more time introducing the "click=reward" but I really wanted to see if the clicker would work in marking the behavior. Let's face it, I'm impatient! As of today I was able to get her to understand she gets the reward when she touches the hat. It's hard to see in the video but every time she touched the hat with her nose, and she HAD to touch it, she got a click and a treat. In just a couple of sessions she seemed to be catching on to what I wanted her to do. I'm excited to go out tomorrow and see if she remembers/understands it still.

I'm really excited to try this method of training, especially with my horse. In the past I have tried to teach her to shake - the same way I have taught my dogs. However saying "Yes" or even "Good" seemed to have no affect, she didn't seem to understand WHY I was feeding her. I fed her every time I pulled her foot up, but even after several sessions she never offered to lift her foot herself. She just really didn't understand what I wanted or why she was getting the reward, just that she was getting the food. I'm really excited to see what all I can teach her, especially if I won't be riding for a while.

So anywho - here's the video!


  1. OH WOW!!!!! You and Cairo did a WONDERFUL job. This is a fabulous video, shows how quick they learn! Thank you for taking the time to take it. Bindi was onto the sound of your clicker in the video, haha. I can tell when they recognize it because they do a little jolt.

    I also want to bury my face in Cairo's mane and smell her forever. I love horsey smell. And I want to kiss and pet her nose. Also, it doesn't look that different training a horse than a dog. What all do you think you're going to train her to do?

    I think I'm going to work with Yoshi now and teach him something with the clicker. :)

    1. Thank you! It was a lot of fun to try the clicker!

      I'm not sure what all I will teach her. We're going to start with this hat and eventually getting her to retrieve/fetch it. If we can get that trick down I'm not sure what we'll move onto. Maybe I'll teach her to bow, shake hands... I don't know how far we'll take it just yet.