clicker training


I’m pulling out a behavior science term today because it explains a lot about what horses do that can drive you a bit crazy. The science can give you a different and more generous way to view their behavior. So geek out with me here. Emancipated Behavior: behaviors that are performed […]

Emancipated Behavior


I use food rewards when training, but not in all scenarios. Here’s why. I train by identifying the behavior that I want, setting up scenarios that make it doable, and then rewarding the animal when it happens. I want to be able to get that behavior numerous times, the more […]

Training With Food – Sometimes


When Tonka and I are in sync, he’s flowing with energy and cadence, and I can talk to him with a the most subtle of body language, like by relaxing a ring finger, or by changing where I look.   But it’s not always pretty. What matters is what you do […]

It’s Not Him, It’s Me



Take your dog to a trainer and one of the behaviors that they’ll teach you is how to get your pet to come when called. A good trainer will teach you the reliable recall, one that your dog listens to despite distractions, like bicycles zipping by, or a piece of hamburger on the […]

The Reliable Recall, with a Horse


It’s always good to get out of one’s comfort zone to further one’s education, and so when I heard about a camelid training course, I signed up. Last week I spent three days in Florida learning about these animals. Before I went, I knew little about alpacas and llamas. Once in their […]

Alpaca and Llama Training


I’ve been working with a clicker-savvy horse and rider. The horse has a history of being balky and unwilling. The previous trainer had the owner use a whip and spurs to get him “motivated.” We have a different method. When I see the horse going forward at the walk, I […]

Respect?



Getting a horse to go where you want is not about respect. It’s not about dominance. It’s not about the horse fearing the rider more than fearing what’s ahead of them. It’s about clarity and trust. You build this relationship through training. Lisa asked me to help her with her […]

Training Polite Hand Grazing


I grew up with cats but the first year that I went away to college I developed an inexplicable and permanent allergy to them, which is why my children have had many animals in their lives, but never felines. My son, Daniel, always said that as soon as he could, he’d […]

Training Cats and the Incompatible Behavior


We’ve all had them – the riding instructors that yell, harangue and nag. In 1975 I went to riding school in England. Gerry was one of my instructors. He was tough and wiry and had legs like nutcrackers. He could sit on anything. He pushed me hard to improve. Modern day […]

Teaching Riding Without Yelling