December 5, 2009
I worked Jackson for a little bit today. We
just played around in the round pen for a
while. I am still working on getting the
balancer'. I have got him where he will put
his weight from one front foot to the other
about 3 times in a row. I am just rewarding
all his tries for that. It doesn't look like
anything now, but I am being patient. It
can't be an easy move for the horse. We also
did a little work on the rear. At one point,
he offered low rear that he held it for a
second or two. I clicked that and he seemed
to understand what I wanted. He held several
rears for a second or two today! Yay!
I have been trying and trying to get him to
hold his rears. I know that he needs
strength and I think he is finally getting
it. I also realized another mistake I was
making when I was asking for him to hold the
rear. I had forgotten two fundamental rules
of shaping. I was reminded of them as I read
Don't Shoot the Dog!
-Train one aspect of any particular behavior
at a time; don't try to shape two criteria
-When introducing a new criterion, or aspect
of the behavioral skill, temporarily relax
the old ones.
I was asking for Jackson to rear rather high
and to hold it longer. I am guessing
he wasn't physically able to rear high and
to hold it. But when I focused on him just
holding the rear at whatever height he
wanted, I think it clicked for him. What a
good lesson for me as well!
We also had another type of "breakthrough."
I am not sure what to call it. Normally,
Jackson almost never offers any tricks on
his own. Today, after he had done a good job
on one rear, I rewarded him and then stepped
back and just stood still. After he got done
chewing, he starting offering various
behaviors. He nodded his head, shook his
head, offered Jambette, and even reared! I
see these things as a sign that Jackson is
ready and willing to interact more and more.
I was asking him to back up to the pedestal,
the big one, because I was going to ask him
to sudo sit on it. I wanted him to just bend
his haunches. However, he decided that he
would rather park out a little bit and do
the obeisance or back crunch. It was
actually a pretty good one. Of course I
clicked and rewarded. I asked for it a
couple more times and he gave it. I cued it
by asking him to park out just a little and
then I gently tugged backward on the cordeo.
I started this from his left side and I
decided to try it from his right side. As
soon as I went on that side, he started to
offer the bow! This has also never happened!
It felt so fantastic! So I put protective
boots and just very lightly asked for the
bow and clicked often. He did great. I
previously, with Jackson, shaped the bow
without using clicker training. What a
difference it makes!
Then I decided to hop on his back and just
ride him for a minute or two. He was turning
so will when I lengthened my outside leg! I
hardly had to cue him at all! He would also
stop with a weight shift or a light touch of
February 05, 2013