How do you start clicker training a horse???

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by Willow's Meadow, Dec 21, 2010.

  1. Willow's Meadow

    Willow's Meadow Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 16, 2010
    Like do you need to click and then give them a treat to get them used to the clicker and understand what it means and that a treat is coming??? How do you start a horse that has never been clicker trained before with a clicker???
  2. ~*Sweet Cheeks*~

    ~*Sweet Cheeks*~ Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 12, 2009
    Medford, Oregon
    When I had gated horses, I hung out on the Gaits of Gold site that included a section on the forum/message board dedicated to clicker training.

    No new posts but still worth looking at - here:
  3. lemurchaser

    lemurchaser Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 11, 2008
    Corvallis, OR
    Just start by doing click and then treat, click and treat, click and treat. Bites of their daily grain works great with horses, or bits of carrots, apples, or horse treats. It will take a few repetitions (usually 20-30) for them to hear the click and look for a treat. Then start training with it. Something really easy. I usually would do something like a nose touch (as in touch an object or my hand with your nose. It's such a simple behavior, and if you stick something up in front of them, a lot of animals will reach out and investigate it which means you can start rewarding right away.

    I'd read up on clicker theory so you understand fully how to do it before you start.
  4. Bunnylady

    Bunnylady POOF Goes the Pooka

    Nov 27, 2009
    Wilmington, NC
    I've been teaching one of my mini's tricks using clicker training. Maybe she's unusually bright, but it took a whole lot less than 20 repetitions for her to "get it." Basically, you give the cue (for example, say "target"), and when the animal does something that is reasonably close to what you want (maybe just pointing their nose at your hand), you click and give the reward. Once they catch on to the cue-response-click-reward thing, you refine the behavior by waiting for a little more before you click (actually touching your hand). When you click, that tells the horse, "that's it! That's what I want you to do!" Some people manage to do essentially the same thing without a clicker, but use a word or phrase (like "gooood girrrl!").

    Most people get hung up with the reward. You start out giving lots of treats, but at some point, you have to taper off and let the click itself be the reward, with only an occasional treat or lots of treats again when teaching something entirely new. After all, you can't go into a show ring with a whole bucketful of carrot coins!

    You definitely want to read up on it before you start. Most animals love the game of clicker training, and will "volunteer" behaviors for your approval (and clicks) when you aren't really looking for them. Being sure about where you are going before you start will help you to avoid having to retrain away from things you didn't really mean to teach in the first place! [​IMG]
  5. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    The mainstay reference for clicker-training horses is generally considered to be Alexandra Kurland's book. You can find it on etcetera, and she has a website

    would strongly suggest reading it, or anyhow reading stuff she's written, because it is a bit different in some ways than clicker-training dogs (especially if you want to carry it over to 'work', not just barn manners and tricks) and you don't want to have to reinvent the wheel.

    Good luck, have fun,


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