When it becomes more then just the food…


Right now I’m working with Dante on his lunging. Unfortunately, between all the bro-haha at the barn as well as me being down from dental surgery, things have been a bit uneven this last week which I really dislike – I like consistency in training because then you see improvements.

However, this Sunday, I had husband Grenwinae to help me. He was to be on the outside of the circle and use the target stick to keep Dante going on the outside of the circle while I ‘lunged’ on the inside. I wasn’t looking for Dante to touch the target but to just bring his head down while moving forward so when that happened, I clicked.

Dante had other Ideas.

Dante KNEW that the game should be that he touches the ball – and Silly Daddy wasn’t as smart as he was.

So when I clicked, Dante came going forward still trying to reach the ball on the target stick while Grenwinae kept trying to feed him a treat (which Dante ignored until he touched the Damn Ball!).

Part of this is I have changed the game and Dante doesn’t understand that it is the Down I’m looking for. So I’m working on putting that into place by just having him standing still and asking for Down and when he lowers his head, click (without using the Target Ball Stick in the exercise).

Part of this is an interesting phenomena called Contrafreeloading. Animals that were given the choice of doing a task to gain food vs. just having access to food would choose the task. For example, a gerbil with free choice food in the cage would instead chose to push a pedal to gain food. This has been observed in many animals (and if the Wiki article is to be believed, only domesticated cats do not follow this pattern! 😀 They much prefer food with no strings attached – so this must be true!).

It was rather funny to see how Dante was like “no, I do not get a treat until I touch this ball” and Grenwinae waving food at him, trying to keep up with Dante’s pace  😀

This entry was posted in Clicker Training, Pyschology and Behavior. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to When it becomes more then just the food…

  1. Pingback: Time to leave the Pity Party | Horse Ideology

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