Stimulus control stabilizes behavior and creates good manners.
Cues act like green lights. They tell the horse which behavior will earn him reinforcement at this particular moment. When a behavior is fully on cue, you are saying to your horse that you want the behavior when you ask for it and ONLY when you ask for it.
“Lesson 4: Stimulus Control" will show you how to teach cues, and how to use them to create a mannerly, focused, happy horse. When you hear the word “respect", think stimulus control instead.
Lesson 4 ties together the lessons covered in the first three videos. It provides a superb summary and overview of clicker training, and it shows you how to use the clicker under saddle. If you can only get one video to start with, Lesson 4 makes a great introductory lesson.
What does respect mean to you and how do you teach it?
Respect is an interesting word. Most of us can recognize it when we see it, but we may have trouble defining it, and even more importantly, explaining how we teach it.
This is in part because respect can have many different meanings and origins. In clicker training respect grows out of stimulus control. it is a by-product of good training. What do I mean by that?
When you teach a new behavior with the clicker, you’ll find your horse goes through two distinct phases. In the first phase you’re simply getting behavior to happen. At this point your horse doesn’t understand anything about cues. He simply knows that everytime he offers a particular behavior, click, you give him a treat.
From his point of view it’s a wonderful game. It’s almost as though he has YOU on cue! His behavior is a trigger that gets you to reach into your pocket and hand him goodies. Is it any wonder that horses love the clicker game?
This phase is a lot of fun. You get to see how eager and smart your horse is. But it can also feel very out of control. All you want to do is groom your horse, and he’s trying every behavior he can think of to get you to play the “clicker game". At this point you need to move on to “Phase Two" of clicker training and put the behaviors on cue.
This two hour is divided into three parts.
Part 1: Stimulus Control covers:
What are cues?
How do you teach them?
How do you use cues to develop great manners in your horse?
Part 2: Riding with the Clicker
Communication through the reins
Chunking your riding lessons down into small steps to teach cues
A riding lesson on single-rein basics and the clicker
Part 3: Communication through Cues
Cues: developing a two-way conversation with your horse.
The video features four horses:
Robin, a seven year old Cleveland Bay cross. With Robin I take you through a basic lesson in stimulus control, how you teach it, and what you can do with it.
Peregrine, my seventeen year old thoroughbred. Peregrine takes us through a master class on riding with the clicker.
Nikita, a twelve year old quarter horse mare. Nikita is having her first lesson under saddle using the clicker. She shows you how to get your own horse to go from stiff to soft through a clear progression of steps.
And lastly, Panda an eighteen month old miniature horse in training to be a guide for the blind. Panda demonstrates the use of environmental cues. And she also shows how cues can develop into a two-way communication system between you and your horse.
This DVD was first produced in 2002