yep, minis can really be smart - watch McKee do "scent" work

Discussion in 'Miniature Horse Photo & Video Gallery' started by Peggy Hogan, Mar 25, 2011.

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  1. Mar 25, 2011 #1

    Peggy Hogan

    Peggy Hogan

    Peggy Hogan

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    This is McKee. I've actually taught him to do "scent work." He walks around looking for the mat that has the lavender scent, and then he indicates that this is the correct mat by pawing on it. It is very fun to teach this and I plan on expanding the behavior to include more mats.

    Hope you enjoy...

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IgmCXkoZzJ0
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 7, 2011
  2. Mar 26, 2011 #2

    CharlesFamily

    CharlesFamily

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    That is awesome! You have me sold on the benefits of clicker training! Now I just need to educate myself and get started!

    Barbara
     
  3. Mar 26, 2011 #3

    hobbyhorse23

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    My mom does canine nosework competitions with our Sheltie and I've often joked about teaching my mini Kody to do it. He's got a very interactive personality and already likes to ransack shelves and boxes so I think he'd pick up the concept of a systematic search quite quickly! [​IMG]

    How did you do the initial scent discrimination training? I can get them to search my hands for a hidden treat but that's because the treat itself smells good and they want to find it. I can click for investigating a strange scent like lavendar, but did you have to do more than that to get it across that you want them to find the scent itself rather than an object that happens to smell a particular way? I imagine it's like teaching a dog to point out the red object in a grouping whether it's the red ball, red block, or red squeaky toy. How do you teach them that what you want is the common classification of "red" and not, say, the ball instead of the block?

    If I had a cargo van so I could easily take him to the classes I think I would have been trying nosework with the mini last winter.

    Leia
     
  4. Mar 26, 2011 #4

    jegray21

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  5. Mar 26, 2011 #5

    O So

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    That is amazing!! Too cool! [​IMG]
     
  6. Mar 26, 2011 #6

    Taylor Richelle

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  7. Mar 26, 2011 #7

    wingnut

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    That's fabulous!
     
  8. Mar 26, 2011 #8

    Knottymare

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    I have to admit that I'm a big fan of yours on You Tube. You inspire me! I never thought of doing scent work with my horses; in an earlier life, I did it with my dogs. How fun!
     
  9. Mar 26, 2011 #9

    A Little Blessing

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    Scent work? I think this guy is smart enough to read his name!
     
  10. Mar 29, 2011 #10
    Ditto![​IMG]
     
  11. Mar 29, 2011 #11

    AppyLover2

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    Peggy I always so enjoy your videos. You do wonders with those smart little ones. Way to go!!
     
  12. Apr 1, 2011 #12

    Peggy Hogan

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    Thanks everyone....as do all of you, I absolutely love my minis and am so glad I found them. So as an update...I added several more mats and we're up to 9 mats as of tonight. McKee really does like the game and he cruises over each mat with his nose down to see if it's "his" mat. I'm starting to make it more difficult by hiding the mat a bit more. I'm hoping he can learn to find "his" mat even if it's out of sight.

    Funny how each of them has a different talent and personality. Handsome loves to stand on his pedestal and perform, McKee loves the mental challenge. My 3 year old filly looks like she's going to be quite a jumper, so I'm going to start clicker training her to do liberty jumping. Always something fun to train, right??!!!
     
  13. Apr 1, 2011 #13

    Peggy Hogan

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    How did you do the initial scent discrimination training?

    Leia...the first thing I taught him to do was go to a mat...(makes sense right?). Then I had to train him to touch his nose to the mat, after all he needed to smell it to get the scent. So then it was, go to the mat and put your nose on it.

    AFTER that I taught him to paw on it when he got there. Since pawing can be a really annoying thing I didn't teach him pawing as an early trick. You need to understand he has been clicker trained for 4 years. You could do scent work earlier, but just don't teach your horse to paw as an early clicker trained behavior....trust me.

    Once he would put his nose down and paw, I introduced more mats. We're up to 9 mats now :)

    hope this helps.

    Oh...and one more thing. Hopefully you can avoid a pitfall. Don't put the scent on the top of the mat, he'll spread the scent to other mats and it'll really confuse him. I learned that the hard way...LOL

    Peggy
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 1, 2011
  14. Apr 2, 2011 #14

    Knottymare

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    Thanks for the detailed tips, Peggy! [​IMG]
     
  15. Apr 2, 2011 #15

    Peggy Hogan

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    So are you going to try it? I can just see a new fun event of scenting minis. Wouldn't that be a hoot [​IMG]
     
  16. Apr 2, 2011 #16

    hobbyhorse23

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    So when did you introduce the scent? [​IMG] All I see in this explanation is "go to a mat. Put nose down on mat. Paw when you get there." How did you teach to go only to the mat with the lilac scent? I'd prefer not to use mats as I want him to be able to work birch and anise scents on boxes and vehicles just as my mom's dog does. Did you simply teach going to the mat, putting his nose down, then start clicking only when he went to the one that smelled different and let him figure out the scented mat was the only one that got rewarded?

    Kody LOVES to paw so I know what you mean about not clicking for that behavior early in training. I was careful with him (he's been doing clicker work for four or five years now) and even more so with my yearling colt I started last year. The yearling got no pawing, no picking things up, nothing that encouraged crowding or using his feet or mouth. It would have been way too easy for it to get out of hand! Now that he's been gelded and has strong cues for putting his foot down, keeping his mouth away from me, etc., maybe I'll start some of that stuff.

    Leia
     
  17. Apr 2, 2011 #17

    Peggy Hogan

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    Leia....I put the scent on the mat right from the get-go. Sorry, should have said that. So in the beginning, every time he was near the mat it smelled like lavender. To introduce another mat I put it far enough away from "his" mat that he was inclined to walk towards the lavender one first.

    So with clicker training they know the click=correct answer (followed by food). As I put the mats closer to each other sometimes he would go to the unscented mat, and of course, he didn't get clicked. But you know you want to set this up so he succeeds a lot...don't need to frustrate him....just allow him to learn with the click/treat.

    Then add more mats or place them further apart. Make sense?
     

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