Clicker Training (Horse) Resources
Clicker training is an animal training method based on behavioral psychology that relies on marking desirable behavior and rewarding it. By focusing on the positive, our animals become smart and eager learners. This is a list of resources that I originally posted on the parelli SC forum and later on the IATH horse forum. Most of these are horse related, I hope in the future to add more resources for other species.
If you are brand new to clicker training, check out these two resources first:
Now, here are some of my favorite clicker training websites and resources:
Don’t Shoot the Dog, by Karen Pryor Read my review or view on Amazon.com
Probably the best introduction to clicker training theory and training with positive reinforcement. More theory than how-to, but gives great explanations so that you understand how reinforcement and animal training actually work. This is a must read.
Books and DVDs by Alexandra Kurland View these DVDs or Books
Alexandra Kurland is perhaps the top (and best known) equine clicker trainer out there. Her book “Clicker Training for Your Horse” is a good introduction to clicker training theory and basic ground exercises. She has two other books that go into more exercises in detail, one that focuses on ground work and the other on riding. Her DVD series is excellent, and goes along with the material in the books.
Getting to Yes: Clicker Training for Improved Horsemanship by Sharon Foley view on Amazon.com
This is also an excellent book. It is a thorough introduction to basic and advanced clicker training concepts. You can read my review of this book in this blog post.
Clicker Training: Colt Starting the Natural Horse by Leslie Pavlich.
view on Amazon.com
More of a how-to manual and not quite as much theory as some of the other books mentioned above. An excellent practical guide, especially if you like having a plan to follow or have horses that need basic training
(or re-training). This book is one of my favorites as it’s easy to understand and lays everything out step by step.
True Horsemanship Through Feel by Bill Dorrance and Leslie Desmond
view on Amazon.com
This is not a clicker training book. The book actually discourages using food for training. Still, much of the philosophy is similar to what clicker trainers seek–building behavior in small steps, recognizing the smallest try and working with the horse, rather than against her.
Animal Training: Successful Animal Management Through Positive Reinforcement by Ken Ramirez view on Amazon.com
Ken Ramirez is the head trainer at the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago. This massive textbook is the bible for many zoos that are using positive reinforcement. It’s a great book, very in depth and thorough. Reading it would probably be more meaningful if you already understood the basics fairly well.
Karen Pryor’s website: http://www.clickertraining.com/
This is a good general resource that covers the basics for a handful of different species, including horses. The website includes articles, video clips and trainer’s blogs.
Alexandra Kurland’s website: http://www.theclickercenter.com/
Alexandra is one of the top equine clicker trainers and the books and videos she sells are phenomenal. Be sure to check out the training notes on Panda, a minature horse she trained to serve as a seeing eye horse.
Katie Bartlett’s website: http://www.equineclickertraining.com/
This website is chock full of great information. She has some excellent articles, including a lengthy (and very well written) article on how the four quadrants of operant conditioning apply to clicker training. Katie also maintains a contact list for horse clicker trainers.
Leslie Pavlich’s website: http://www.clickhorse.info
Leslie is another well known equine clicker trainer. She has written an excellent book on colt starting and has quite a few resources on her website.
Sharon Foley’s blog and website: http://www.horsemansarts.com/
The ClickRyder website: http://www.clickryder.com/
Lots of articles, information, links, and clinic reviews.
The ClickRyder blog: http://click-ryder.blogspot.com/
Most of the blog posts are youtube videos, and it’s fun to see what others are doing with their horses and clicker training.
There are also several yahooGroups devoted to clicker training with horses. Notably:
ClickRyder, the largest and one of the oldest horse clicker lists
The Click That Teaches, which is run by Alexandra Kurland
Leslie Pavlich offers online courses through her website http://www.clickhorse.info/
She even offers a free one week starter course for anyone interested in learning more about clicker training and her program.
Canis Clicker Training offers a free online 7 day course.
It’s aimed at dog owners, but it is a good introduction to the basics, especially if you’re new to clicker training.
I do not know of any online horse forums that are clicker specific. The following are natural horsemanship forums that both contain a small collection of clicker trainers.