I’ve been corresponding a bit by e-mail with an equine clicker trainer from the UK, Hannah Dawson. That’s one thing I absolutely love about the internet, I can talk to people about training even though they might be an ocean away.
Anyways, Hannah posted a video on her blog recently of one of her clients. I was VERY impressed with the video, so I wanted to share it here on my blog as well. I think this video helps affirm the fact that we can train almost anything with clicker training! With positive training, we’re only limited by our imagination.
This horse has respiratory problems and has to use an inhaler. This is something that would probably be very hard to try and MAKE an uncooperative horse do. However, using clicker training, the trainer taught the horse at liberty to voluntarily use the inhaler. Pretty cool, if you ask me! Check out my post on clicker training for veterinary procedures for more information about using clicker training for medical and veterinary care.
The video also shows a nice example of how we can expand targeting. Rather than touching the front of her nose to an object, the mare has learned to touch her nostril to an object.
There are lots of ways we can expand on targeting for veterinary care. For example, a horse can learn to place her hoof in a bucket of water so that it can be soaked. We can also use targeting to help get our horses use to really strange items, such as clippers or intranasal vaccines. Horses get frightened and frustrated when we force them to do things. Clicker training can help build confidence because the horse knows she can voluntarily choose to approach and touch something without being forced.