How to shape a thinking horse

I really place value setting it up so my horse learns to think without my help. Shaping is my preferred tool for this, but learning shaping can be as different for the human as it is for the horse.

Being non-directive, watching for something you like and clicking it, is very different for most people. A slight lift of the lead, moving the horse closer to an intended goal, using body language or tools are all methods used for trying to be helpful and show the horse what you want.

Sometimes I go into the “helpful hints” mode, but I know that every time do, I’ve taken away one more opportunity for my horse to learn how to think. So the next time you try to help your horse, ask yourself how you can click for his guesses. Oh, and if you just HAVE to be helpful, be more generous with your clicking.

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About clickertraininghorses - Peggy Hogan

I teach people and train horses using positive reinforcement. The horses I work with are given choice, the freedom to volunteer behavior. The joy is that they strive to volunteer what works for both of us.
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