Kindness to Others in the Clicker Training World

I’ve been inspired to write this post after having a conversation with some equine friends.

In the clicker training world – as in any ‘world’ there are different opinions.  That is good – because that is how we all grow in our knowledge!  But we can only grow in our knowledge if we are kind to each other.

Parelli Natural Horsemanship has this worked out.  They are masters at reinforcing people – keeping the enthusiasm going.  I went to a Parelli weekend with Pat and Linda demonstrating about  13 years ago.  It felt amazing.  Everyone was so happy, so kind – and so supportive.  It was only later that I realised the methods didn’t sit well with me.

But I missed that banter between people.  Just recently I visited old friends at the local natural horsemanship group.  I hadn’t seen them for ages.  It was great to see them.  We swapped stories, and of course talked about our love for our horses.  They are an incredibly supportive group and a very active club.

What if we had that in the clicker training world?

I’ve learnt in my nine years that there are many ‘factions’.  Now this is a sad thing – because this isolates people.  The clicker training world mainly has its conversations via social media (Facebook).

There are people doing clicker training who combine it with some negative reinforcement – there are others who clicker train and use what others perceive as pressure – then there are people who are purist and apply no force or pressure.

This creates lots of debate and often ends badly.  It doesn’t achieve anything.  In fact making verbally abusive statements just slams the door shut.  If clicker trainers can’t get on – how on earth can we encourage other people to join us in having fun with our horses?

Why aren’t we reinforcing and supporting each other?

This positive reinforcement world for horses is relatively new so we need a way to support each other who have ventured into this minority horse world.

As you know, I follow Alexandra Kurland’s work.  I love the detail of it – I love the attention to balance and the horse’s physical condition – and I love the group – why?  Because everyone is kind.  It’s the safest group I have found on the Facebook groups.  I post there most of the time.

I have also experienced that same kindness and support when I have attended her clinics.

I  write about all my mistakes in my blog- I know I’m putting myself out there – but I hope by sharing my ups and downs it will help others.  I’m still learning – and will be for the rest of my life.

In all the details we can argue about in clicker training – let’s ask the horse their opinion.  What do they think?

In my last post, Ducati told me what he thought – he wondered what on earth I was doing with those reins.  It wasn’t the reins as such, it was how I was handling them!  Yes, it took Cindy to point it out to me, but he had already communicated something was wrong.

In future posts I will go on to show how I rectified it, before something else happened…..

I just needed to post this before I continue the training story.

And if any clicker trainer lives near me – or want to come for a visit – you are most welcome – the only rule is to be kind – to humans and animals!



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