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Positive Reinforcement 101!

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GraceandPoppy

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Hey guys! I thought I'd start a thread talking all about positive reinforcement training! I just found out about it and wanted to share with you guys my story and what I learned! Also, this isn't just me talking to you guys, this will hopefully be meant for ALL of us to share tidbits, conversations and learn from each other! This is meant for everyone to chit chat and share what they know or want to know about anything involved with +R or not! I thought it would be fun! So, I hope you all like it!
 

dalvers63

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I am 100% on the R+ train. It makes so much difference in the emotions around training. I highly recommend both Kendra Gale and Alexandra Kurland as resources. Glad to see you found it works for you too :)
 

GraceandPoppy

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Me too! It creates a special bond with you and your horse. Watching your horse figure it out is also the best thing in the world to see and it never gets old! Trust me I am not exaggerating. Yes! I've heard of both those people and they ARE very good sources.
 
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Taz

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Yes, it's great! I thought I'd add(hope you don't mind)... What's the most important thing you've learned from using positive reinforcement training? I'll start with this. All the 'bad behaviour' I was taught to 'get after them for' was actually communication or a symptom of something else going on, not bad behaviour. I've changed how I think about a lot of what they do and they are more relaxed and connected to me.
 

GraceandPoppy

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I wish I could answer the question differently, but I couldn't have said it better lol! I feel exactly the same way! Horses aren't "bad" just to be bad it's just their natural behavior or communication.
 

Pritanio

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Kendra Gale got me off to a great start with Missy. The only behaviour I shaped that I had to change was "be nice".
The undesirable behaviour was bugging me for treats. Using Kendra's suggestion I taught her to "be nice" which meant turning her face away from me. Just as KG said, Missy would offer the head turning as a way of asking for a treat rather than crowding or nudging me.

That's great until I started thinking of her doing that in a halter class 🤣! I stopped using "be nice" and started shaping for a respectful facing forward. That gave me control in head positioning.

I thought I didn't need "be nice" any more... until yesterday. I didn't need a show pose but she was begging. Just one, firm, "be nice" and she turned her face away. I immediately marked with "Yes, good girl" and rewarded with a neck scratch.

+R has helped so much. Missy shied at a flapping garbage bag the other day. Thanks to the +R work we've done I was able to walk her close to it and ask her to "touch" while pointing at it. She wasn't enthusiastic about it at first but trusted me and gingerly stretched out to first touch then gently nudge it. Success!
 

GraceandPoppy

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Wow that's wonderful! Yea I just taught Poppy be nice but you raise a good point! I think I will start working on the facing forward thing too! Poppy can also get a little pushy when I give her hay so I am working on Be Nice included in walking as well. It's just such a more fun way to train!
 

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