Just wanted to drop a thought as I mull over a disappointing training experience. I spent about 2 months (working a few minutes each day) with a miniature donkey that was biting, rearing and wouldn't let anyone touch her feet.

To make a LONG story short, I proudly presented her back to her owner at the end of this training time. She would walk nicely with people, let her head and neck be scratched, was happy to have people in all of the different "zones" and of course, her feet would be lifted willingly to be picked. We even got them trimmed.

All of this was done using positive reinforcement with the clicker as the bridge.

So why am I "mulling?" Because I talked to the owner who said "She's being such a brat, she's eating stuff out of my garden even though she KNOWS I don't like it." After I suggested a fence or hot wire the response was "I'm just swatting her with the broom."

And of course the consequences are clear.

Just had to get this one off my chest....sigh....thanks.

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Oh Peggy, so sorry to hear all your efforts with the miniature donkey are now being reversed. I think the owner needed training more than the donkey. I can feel your disapointment.
Thanks Deb and Donna,
I isn't the first and I know it won't be the last time for this kind of experience, but sometimes it's harder than others. I did talk to a friend/trainer today who suggested I take some of the photos of this little donkey, put them on a page and send them with a note suggesting that it might undo all the training if she continues to use the broom.

I think I'm dealing with someone who really doesn't process verbal information at ALL...(not so LOL). Maybe I'll get through this way. At least I can try.

Thanks for your kind words and available shoulders... :)
I feel your pain! Trust me, every trainer I've ever known has had this experience one way or another. It boggles my mind why folks waste their money paying for training if they don't bother to learn, too. If only they'd understand its not let getting their car fixed.
Hello Peggy
I know many of us who have spent time with a horse in training can relate to this. I know it is why many people (see Donald Redux new blog LOL) have gotten out of the horse "business". I do not understand why so many people have no desire to understand the mind of the horse but just have an "I want them fixed" attitude. It is usually the owner who needs the fixing. As the trainer, it seems unfair to gain their trust and respect only to have it all go wrong again. It just reaffirms their bad opinion of the human species. Each time this happens it is harder to gain their trust again and sometimes nearly impossible unless your commitment to them is very longstanding. I am so sorry Peggy.
Thanks Becky,
You know, I have read and reread Karen Pryor's book called "Don't shoot the dog." The principles of positive really do extend way beyond our interactions with horses. So the tools like shaping, modeling and capturing behaviors are effective with people as well. I guess my job as teacher is to find out what "pays" the student. Harder for me than just sorting through whether it's going to be carrots, apples, pellets or apple smacks....LOL.

I really do appreciate being with horsewomen who are always looking for ways to improve our horse/human bond. Your group is a good place to hang out and it's appreciated greatly. A true source of "chocolate" for the horse lover's soul....Thanks!
I feel for you also Peggy. I've gone through this myself and it can really hurt. I've worked with a lot of people and their horses over the years. I always tried to work with them together. Most times it was successful, but sometimes it wasn't, for one reason or another. It's difficult to see all that was gained go down the drain. But keep reminding yourself that in the big picture you're helping a lot of people and horses. Most will be success stories and better for the guidance you've given them.

Keep the faith...
Afterthought...maybe you should chase her around with a broom and see how she likes it...!!:)
Yee haw...there you go....I'll make it one of those big brush brooms with heavy bristles...LOL
You are absolutely right...bingo. The sad part is this person really is almost untrainable. I think there's either an alcohol/drug problem, or maybe a short term memory problem. Truly, I've taught for 35 years and haven't encountered a situation quite like this.
Neglect due to airheadedness? She loves this donkey....just maybe shouldn't own anything that breathes....
You did hit the nail on the head though....
ROFLOL....yep...that about covers it. I just keep hoping I'll be able to educate people and they'll "see the light" once they understand the information. LOL on me....
Sigh... I know the feeling. When people see what can be done with positive reinforcement - I use a clicker too - they are soooo impressed. But, do they then go home and to likewise? Nooo. They keep on hitting their horses over the head.

It's frustrating. Believe me, I know. But what more can one do?
You know Suzanne, I really think that positive reinforcement is hard for 2 basic reasons; people find it difficult to SEE the good, and basically many people still think that horse's are farm tools that should work for "free." But since you clicker train you already know how it is....
At least the word is spreading.. :-)


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