We finished the last post talking about the magic of time. Think of it as magic. It helps to dissolve the expectation of immediate results. Of course you may also have immediate results – but there may be some other puzzles that take time.
If you like – go back to my posts about Magnum and the hoof trimming. Part 119 – The Summer of Hooves! It was excruciatingly slow! But the time taken strengthened our relationship!
Think of it in slow motion. Slow motion helps you to see things that you would otherwise miss.
I got to know Magnum on a whole new level during the hoof trimming. I knew which hoof was harder to lift, which one he preferred to lift. I learnt about his body – where it hurt – how to make it easier for him. We were a team. He was communicating these things to me all the time. In fact, often there was laughter – I could swear he was laughing with me as his hoof sometimes slipped off the stand!
I would lift ever so gently and in the end, he just couldn’t lift his right hind anymore – his left hind couldn’t support him. That’s when I started to use the grinder. Here is a video of hoof lifting. We always make sure it’s nice and relaxed!
So, in the overall question “What Does It Mean To Be A Clicker Trainer?”, we can add that a clicker trainer has learnt that time is your friend. We use time to observe, to modify if necessary – or just to build a behaviour.
Clicker trainers know the magic of time – they observe and celebrate the smallest of changes – they have patience. They use time to build the relationship.
In comparison – here is a video showing how to pick up feet on a horse that doesn’t like being handled. The trainer hasn’t looked at WHY the horse doesn’t like the feet being handled. He hasn’t put the horse through a training process – he has shown ways to possibly stay safe and to stop the horse moving so much. Now this isn’t terrible – it’s just the way things have been taught for centuries. What is sad is how many views it has had compared to my video. Mind you – I never really promote my videos, but I guess I should learn how you do that!
Now, let’s come to the subject of behaviour. It’s a huge subject! I really have only just stuck my toe in the water! But one piece of advice I can give, is don’t take it personally if your horse behaves badly towards you. I know – easier said than done… I still struggle with it!
Think of it as information. Remember your horse will do what has worked in the past. Instead – ask WHY? Ask why the horse has gone to bite you, for example. What was happening? Were there warning signs? Did you miss them?
Then, make one of Alexandra Kurland’s cups of tea, and think about it. Take lots of video so you can watch and slow it down. Time is your friend. Apart from helping you to solve puzzles, it will keep you safe.
And safety is something I should have talked about first – but let’s talk about it in the next post!
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