Treats for training

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Binky

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Not long now until we get our foals. Yes getting two as advised by members. When it comes to training what do folk do to for rewards? Is it OK to give a titbit by hand as heard this can make them a bit nippy?
 

LostandFound

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I don't feed treats. Young horses and boys especially seem to have a difficult time not putting their mouths on you and feeding treats only makes that worse. It seems silly to me to use a reward that is going to cause me to have to correct them later. For a baby I find the best reward is a good scratch.
 

LostandFound

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I stop all mouthy behavior immediately. I don't let them nibble, or suck or pick at my clothes or groom me. At a few days old I just move away. A little older foal I usually just say no sternly and move away. They are curious and playing and they don't know it's wrong. As they get older It's a loud no and pushing them away. An aggressive bite or one that is persistent and can't figure it out once they are old enough to know better will get a no and a soft smack.
 

Kelly

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Agreed. No treats here for my little boys either (except Stormy, trick training). I am always very consistent with discipline. They aren’t allowed to put their mouths on me, I push them away. If they start to wiggle their mouth/nose on me, I poke their mouth. That usually is all I need to do anymore. One of my boys was so nippy at a young age that I use to have to take their mouth in both hands and rub their mouth together or pinch their upper lip until they take a couple of steps back, but now they have learned what is allowed and what isn’t.

Plus if you take them out in public, you don’t want them nipping someone or a child for treat.
 

secuono

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My pony gelding didn't like much in the form of treats and human foods, he's still picky. Has a funny way of taking treats, too. He sort of opens his mouth and you have to push the treat in from the side. It's great and weird.
But the minis were treat motivated.
Babies are also scritching motivated. They're itchy a lot more than older horses, mostly during their first two shed outs. I used that to my advantage to be a reward.
Nothing wrong with treats or hand feeding, as long as you're also teaching them to wait for it, give space and not to gobble it down like a rabid alligator...
I use grass hay pellets & hay cubes broken up as treats.
 

dalvers63

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Use whatever your horse most enjoys for rewards. Scratches are great cause you always have them "at hand" :)

I'm also the dissenter here as there is nothing wrong with using a food reward as long as you teach them that grabbing, biting, being pushy is not allowed. As someone who uses positive reinforcement it is all in how you do it. All of my horses are first taught, behind a fence or stall wall, that the way to get a reward is to not grab it. Once they turn their head away they get the reward. Reinforce the behavior you want. If they do start getting amped up then walking away is the best thing as that removes any reward by you being there to play. If any horse is still grabby with treats during training you can always have a pan on the ground and drop things in there instead of feeding by hand.

Have fun with your new "kids"!
 

Taz

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Use whatever your horse most enjoys for rewards. Scratches are great cause you always have them "at hand" :)

I'm also the dissenter here as there is nothing wrong with using a food reward as long as you teach them that grabbing, biting, being pushy is not allowed. As someone who uses positive reinforcement it is all in how you do it. All of my horses are first taught, behind a fence or stall wall, that the way to get a reward is to not grab it. Once they turn their head away they get the reward. Reinforce the behavior you want. If they do start getting amped up then walking away is the best thing as that removes any reward by you being there to play. If any horse is still grabby with treats during training you can always have a pan on the ground and drop things in there instead of feeding by hand.

Have fun with your new "kids"!
Agree to all! 🤞 🤞
 

Minimor

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I have always used treats--usually a pocket full of oats is what I have. No, I have never had trouble with horses getting nippy or grabbing--and we are talking a lot of horses: minis, ponies and Morgans.
 

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