• Adele Shaw

Ep 67 // R+ Is Not A Method

In this episode, I dive into operant and classical conditioning, and explain how positive reinforcement itself is not actually a 'method.'


I talk about the importance of being flexible in our training styles, how every horse and human is an individual with a unique learning history, and how different training styles work for different learners.



 

[00:00:00] Welcome to season four of The Willing Equine Podcast. The podcast where we chat about all things horses, and being the best horse people we can be for our horses. My name is Adel Shaw. I'm a certified behavior consultant, and my passion is for creating positive relationships between horses and people.

[00:00:29] Hello. Hello. So in this episode I want to talk about a topic that came up actually at a clinic I was teaching um, one, maybe two weekends ago. I can't remember honestly. Everything's a blur lately. I think it was last weekend. Anyway uh, yeah, so the topic that came up was about methods and training methods and the different approaches to training, how positive reinforcement R plus, You know, clicker training is not a method and for some of you that may be a little bit not surprising that I would say that. And for some that may seem like, wait, what do you mean it's not a method? So I wanna explain what I mean by that.

[00:01:11] Positive reinforcement. So R plus, clicker training. You guys have probably all seen different ways of referring to it. People also will call it Force Free, Fear free... what else will they call it? They'll call it like reward-based training. Different, there's different, lots of different names for it. Basically, when we are training with the intention of positively reinforcing desired behaviors, and that is the primary focus of the training, and that's using a well focused on a form of operating conditioning. So operant conditioning, I've gone over many times on this podcast before, but I will briefly go over it again in case this is one of the first episodes you're listening to or you're not familiar, or maybe it'll just help further confirm the understanding of it.

[00:01:55] So, operant conditioning is a form of learning theory. It is a a way to explain how beings learn. And whether that's human, dog, fish, lizard, snake, goldfish, beta, actually the, at the clinic I was at or teaching last weekend, they had a beta fish there that had different tricks, different behaviors that they had learned through positive reinforcement. So all living, breathing beings learn through operant conditioning. They also learn through classical conditioning, which is sometimes referred to as respondent conditioning if, and those are two different forms of learning. So operant conditioning is where the participant is active in in the role of a learner, meaning they are intentionally doing certain behaviors to receive certain outcomes. So it's action based and they do the action and then there is an outcome and then they learn that, Oh, if I do that again, or I don't do that again, this outcome happens. And so this is pretty much, I mean, this is the primary focus for most active training.

[00:02:59] Now, the other part of active training, whether regardless of the method, regardless of the approach, the other form is also the classical conditioning, which is a more passive role for the learner, meaning that they're not intentionally doing anything. It's more the process of creating associations. So that's kind of the easiest way to refer to it. This relates back to like, dogs where they heard the bell and then food arrived. They heard the bell, then food arrived. Then they heard the bell, and then food arrived and eventually started salivating when they heard the bell because they knew that food was coming after. But they didn't actually do anything to get the bell to ring. The bell just rung, and then they started salivating, and then the food arrived. This happens all throughout life as well with us. So that's classical conditioning, that's more of a passive role, but you're still learning. You're creating associations.

[00:03:48] And then there's the operant conditioning, which is an active role for the learner. They are doing a behavior and then a certain outcome happens. And there are four main areas of operating conditioning. There's positive reinforcement, negative reinforcement, positive punishment, and negative punishment.

[00:04:06] All forms of these are happening throughout, every day, all day for every being on the planet. We are experiencing all of these things at, you know, different times throughout the day and different variations and in different intensities throughout our entire existence. From the moment we become into existence until we are no longer existent, and they are all natural and they are all normal.

[00:04:31] However um, so actually before I go into talking about more about methods let's talk about the individual one. So, positive reinforcement is the application of an appetitive, or something desirable or pleasant, following a desired behavior, following a behavior, even if it's not desired, following behavior that reinforces that behavior. So it means that it's rewarding it essentially, and it's going to be more likely to happen again in the future because we are reinforcing, so we are creating more of it. We are saying yes, we want more of that, keep doing that. We are encouraging more of it and it's positive as in like the mathematical type positive versus like the negative, which is also it's equation based. So positive meaning additional or adding. And then we can go into the negative stuff, which is the subtraction. So think of it as addition and subtraction. So it's additional reinforcement. So positive. So additional reinforcement is positive reinforcement. A good example of this is if your horse, you know, lifts up their upper lip, like a smile, like people train this all the time. They horse does like a smile and then you give 'em a cookie. They are gonna be more likely to smile in the future because it results in a cookie. If, however, you, every time they smiled, you smacked them that would be a form of positive punishment. So the addition of a punisher, which will decrease the behavior if it's applied correctly.

[00:05:57] So they smiled, they received something unpleasant, aversive, and this would be positive punishment. More commonly, something like a situation like that in the horse world would show up like your horse bites you and you smack 'em. The idea there is that we should decrease the biting behavior because every time they bite, something unpleasant happens. They would in theory, learn that biting results in something unpleasant. We shouldn't do that anymore. That's positive punishment. So again, addition of something. So it's an addition of an repetitive or something desirable, pleasant, that's positive reinforcement or the addition of something aversive or unpleasant, That's positive punishment. Sorry. The first one's positive reinforcement. The second one's positive punishment.

[00:06:36] Then we go into the negative. So the removal, the subtraction part of things. So we got negative reinforcement and negative punishment. Negative reinforcement is where the removal of something unpleasant or aversive actually creates more of the behavior. So we're taking away, This is, this one's kind of confusing actually cause we're taking away something. That it's slightly uncomfortable. It could just be annoying. Even like it doesn't have to be this big, overt, uncomfortable thing. It could just be a little bit like, Ugh, I don't really like that. Like a little bit annoying or a little bit unpleasant. The removal of that rewards or reinforces. The behavior and reinforces as the more technical appropriate term reward is not. But I'm just using it to help create that understanding in our minds as we're talking. So it's the removal of something reinforces the behavior. We see this all the time in horse training. This is the most common thing that we see in horse training. You put your leg on, it's kind of like the horse is like, Ooh, what does that mean? I don't really like that. And then they take a step forward and you take your leg off and they go if ever I feel that kind of weird, uncomfortable pressure. If I take a step forward, it stops. That reinforces the behavior. So that's negative reinforcement. There's a lot of other situations. This shows up in pretty much all normal, like traditional common horse training. It follows a predominantly, there's focus predominantly on negative reinforcement, the use of negative reinforcement. A lot of traditional and normal horse training has a lot of positive punishment involved, but we're not gonna go into that right now. Okay. And then there's negative punishment. This is the most uncommon one in the horse world, unless. You predominantly use positive reinforcement. The reason that it be, okay, well let's go to a human example for positive, or, sorry, negative punishment again. So subtraction, removal of something as a punisher. So a really good example of this is with kids. If you have kids, if you're a parent and you've ever had two kids fighting over a toy and you take the toy away, you're like, Oh, if you guys are gonna fight over this, I'm just gonna take it away. You removed the thing that was of that was desired as a punisher, it should decrease the fighting over the toy because they don't wanna lose their toy. So we don't really see this a lot in normal horse training because, We, Well, I'm not gonna get into the nuances of it, but because most of our horse training traditionally has been based on negative reinforcement. , the removal of the aversive becomes is reinforcer not a punisher. However, when we train with positive reinforcement, if we have the reinforcer, we have something that the horse wants we have the food on us, all of that. If we are not careful, we can unintentionally be applying negative punishment by withholding the food or taking it away suddenly, and the horse can experience in, in an instance of negative punishment. We can also see this in other area unintentionally where maybe the person predominantly trains with negative reinforcement, but they happen to have a carrot that day and they're not giving the horse the carrot because, you know, whatever, blah, blah, blah. Or they just walk away with the carrot. That could maybe be a negative punishment. It's really based off of the behavior and how we see the behaviors. Like the results of the behavior, and that's really something that's important to point out here. The outcome of the interaction dictates whether it was positive reinforcement, negative reinforcement, negative punishment, positive punishment. We can't just say because we were using food or because we scratched our horse or because whatever, that this is automatically what was happening. The learner tells us what they experienced in that interaction, what they learned, or what they were reinforced for, or what they were punished for. So we have to take really good data. We have to watch the horse, we have to learn the individual, and we have to be intentional with what we're doing. We can't just walk around saying, Just because I am giving my food, my horse cookies every once in a while that I'm using positive reinforcement that is not necessarily true. I'm not saying it's not true in many cases, but it is not necessarily, it's not a hundred percent true all the time. It's more about the outcome and what the learner tells us is happening. And just because we say something is punishing doesn't mean it actually is. We have to watch the behavior. Does the behavior decrease or does an increase, and that's really important information. Okay, so that's like a crash course on operant conditioning, operant conditioning can get very nuanced, it can get very individually specific. It can look like a lot of different things. There's a lot of different examples. There's a lot of different areas that it can get a little bit blurry or cloudy. And that's like a whole like webinar worth of information there. And I am happy to refer people to that type of information. If you are interested in diving deeper into behavior analysis and understanding operant and classical conditioning at a much deeper level, I am happy to refer you to that information. Just feel free to email me or reach out to me.

[00:11:28] Okay, So moving on to my core topic for today was about methods. So now that I've explained operant conditioning and what positive reinforcement is and also what negative reinforcement is, we need to we need to kind of zoom in. So each of those areas, or even zoom, I mean, I don't know if I would be zooming in or zooming out. It doesn't really matter. Okay, so we need to sidestep. We need to come over here and look at something else. I'm like visualizing sep stepping to the side and like looking at it from a different angle. When a trainer is working with a horse, they are going to use different forms of operant conditioning in different ways based on the situation and the individual learners, whether that's the human learners or the horse, in this case, there is not just one way to use operating conditioning. Like I said, it's happening all the time, and it is happening in so many different ways. Something as simple as like you walk into your house and it's really hot in there and you walk over to your thermostat and turn it down, and then now you're not as hot anymore. Potentially negative reinforcement, like there is so many different scenarios that are just constantly, it's never not happening, that you're always experiencing operant conditioning and classical conditioning just because our brain is always taking in information and it is always adapting and learning and storing data and just constantly learning and so are our horses. So where methods come into this is that it's really the individual trainers interpretation, not interpretation, it's their personal preference or way that they have developed their, their mixture, their technique, their style of applying all of these different areas of operant and classical conditioning. So it's how they are taking that science, how they're taking the like facts of operant and classical conditioning and applying it on a daily basis because I can apply positive reinforcement with a target like teaching horse to follow a target, and that's how I'm gonna teach them to load into the trailer and so on and so forth. But another trainer may have a preference of using something like stationary mats or just teaching the horse to liberty lead and then lead into the trailer or maybe even free shaping loading into the trailer. There's at least right off the top of my head, at least 10 different ways to teach a horse to load into a trailer using primarily a positive reinforcement approach, meaning that we are focusing on that area of operating conditioning. And then it just so happens that simultaneously we're using classical conditioning because we're automatically creating associations with the experience regardless of we want, if we want to or not. So by just by pure nature of constantly and frequently offering my horse something that they desire. In the presence of the trailer, I am classically conditioning their association with the trailer to be something enjoyable. So maybe previously they had a negative association with the trailer, but now I'm like clicking, feeding, clicking, feeding, or I'm just giving them food in the trailer or whatever it is. They are going to come to associate the trailer with something good and they're going to develop a new association with a trailer that is a nice one, and they'll be more likely to engage with it and do and load into the trailer and all that. That is the course of assuming that I do my job right.

[00:15:00] And so classical conditioning is always happening. We can't get around it. It's just, it's just happening. It's like run. It's a program running in the background. Right. It's just there and it's happening and so is operant conditioning. But when we're actively training, when we're in a structured training session, we are focusing predominantly on forms of operant conditioning. Are we reinforcing this behavior or punishing this behavior? How are we reinforcing this behavior? Is are we using an effective approach to reinforcing this behavior? Are we taking a good like path forward towards that is the horse understanding what we're asking because we could be sitting here and trying to get the horse to follow a target into the trailer, and we're thinking, you know, we're using positive reinforcement. But if the horse doesn't understand following the target or finds the target, aversive may maybe because they have negative associations with whips in the past and it kind of looks like a whip, like what is actually happening there. And so as a trainer, it's our job to break all of this apart and read our learners and create an approach that is that is ideal for our learners. And then, you know, make it effective, make it ethical, and and apply that. And this is where methods come from. It comes from methods are the trainers, individual preferences and learning history at play it is, you know, when I have like kind of my method of applying my training, which is predominantly focused on using positive reinforcement, that is the primary focus of how I teach and what I do. That isn't to say that other forms of operant conditioning don't sneak in here and there, of course they do because it's impossible for them not to. But as much as possible, I am using positive reinforcement and that is my goal. That is my kind of mission. That is what I'm doing, and I'm also simultaneously trying to create pleasant associations with every experience that I'm doing with the horse and also my presence. So I want them to associate me with good outcomes. So I'm classically conditioning my presence with them with, yeah, for them. But when I go and create like a shaping plan for the behavior I am drawing from my learning history, my experiences where that tell me that this approach has worked really, really well in the past for this type of case. And this is my preferred way of doing this behavior. And these are the steps to get there. And that's kind of like my quote method to teaching horse trailer.

[00:17:14] Now some trainers, many that are really good at what they do, are understanding of that their method needs to be flexible and individualized. And this is something that I'm really focused on as well. I do have my preferred kind of approach, my mainstream, my common way of doing things. The things that, the way that I have found works really, really well for me and the horses I work with. But I am always ready to deviate from that plan, should the individual learner tell me that this is not working. And the way they usually will tell me that is either. You know, express it through their body language. So I might see more signs of stress than I'm looking for. I wanna see like none or it's ends up being taking a little bit longer than it should because there's a lack of understanding or just, it's just not the best approach for that individual horse.

[00:18:01] And also I take into consideration the individual human learner as well. Usually when I'm working with, I mean, almost always when I'm working with client horses, the client is a learner and I have to teach them how to be able to apply what it is that I am teaching the horse so that they can have that communication, they can have that good relationship, and they can successfully go about trailer loading in the future when I'm not there. So my method becomes very tailored to the individual, but I still do have like my general approach, like how I introduce clicker training to horses. I have my preferences and how I introduce the trailer. I have my preferences and, and then a lot of my colleagues have their own preferences and so, but they're still using a predominantly positive reinforcement focused approach. That is their goal as well. They have similar ideas and goals in mind when working with their client horses. They're following Lima and the humane hierarchy and they want to, you know, do it as force free as possible, and focus on positive reinforcement. That doesn't change- what changes is how they are applying it to that individual horse and to that individual client, student, you know, human learner based off of their own preferences and how they like to teach and what works for them and what also seems to work for their clientele. So this is where the methods arise and methods have gotten a bit of a bad name because they get to, to like stuck. They get too stuck in their ways. Trainers that have developed a lot of times these really kind of big name methods. You know, I'm sure you can think of a few off the top of your head. A few that come to mind, they get a little bit of a bad name because they seem to be very much like, this is step one, step two, step three, and if your horse doesn't, if it's not working for you, then something's wrong with you. And I do not agree with that. I don't think that's always the intention when these methods are originally created, you know, quote, methods are originally created, but I think they can easily become that just because the sheer quantity of students that they're working with. It's really hard to tailor the the method to so many different students. And it's just by nature of how it works out, it's just really hard to do. So I don't think it's always done with, I, it's not malicious, is what I'm trying to say. Just because of the, kind of the nature of the beast, they've, it's become a really big program and that it's okay if it doesn't work for you. It's okay if that particular approach doesn't seem to be the most ideal for you guys. That's where I think methods though, have gotten a really bad name, but I don't think that all, Well, I think all trainers have a kind of method. , it's maybe a flexible method. It's maybe an individually tailored method. That's where I think it should remain. I think you can have a common, like most practiced way of doing things, but then I think we should be quick as trainers, as instructors, as coaches to alter our preferences to meet the needs of our learners, whether it's the horse or the student, or the client. I think it's really, really important to remember that every individual. Is just that it's an ind they are an individual and they have a different learning history. There are no, there's no such thing as two horses of the same learning history. They're going to have their differences and they need to learn slightly different. That doesn't mean that positive reinforcement doesn't work for all horses. Of course it does. It's a form of operant conditioning. All horses learn through all forms of operant and conditioning. Just by nature of what it is, it is impossible for it not to work. If, however, the way you are applying it is not working, that is very possible. It is very possible for the way that it, you are applying it to not be the most effective or best option for you and your horse. That is 100% possible, just the same as with negative reinforcement and all and forms of punishment as well. I firmly steer like I firmly believe in steering as far away from punishers as possible, I do not think that they have a place in a structured training program un, except for under extreme circumstances. And even then, I mean, I, I can count like on, you know, every time I've had or not had to, every time I've opted to re I've opted to intentionally use a punisher. I've within a, you know, a short amount of time realized that I could have taken a, like, I will find a different way that I could have done that, that was better. And there's usually, there's almost always fallout from it. So I, again, do not an advocate for intentionally using punishers in your training program. But again, that comes into my, that's my method, That's how I do it. I focus on positive reinforcement and. Going to find different ways to apply positive reinforcement so that it is effective for my students and for my, the horses that I'm working with. So I think, and the reason I'm bringing this all up, and the reason I think this is so important to understand is because, just because the first way that you applied, You know, some clicker training. Just because it didn't work out really well doesn't mean that positive reinforcement doesn't work. It's impossible for it not to work if you were using positive reinforcement correctly. It is effective. I mean, well, I should say this, if you by nature of by definition, positive reinforcement works and it works for every living being. If it, if there was a being on this planet where positive reinforcement didn't work for them, they would probably be dead because that's just, you just can't How we apply it though, needs may need to change for the individual. What we may need to tailor for them is, you know, we may have to find something that works and we have to try a few different ways until we get something that works for that individual horse and that individual student and slash client. That is absolutely a thing, and this is where methods are really important and teaching styles are really important. So just because a student, you know, tries it with another trainer and it didn't work out all that well, or maybe they got part of the way, but they were still having some frustrations. And you know, I would encourage them then to go to a different instructor and see if maybe the teaching style is more effective for them. Like maybe they can actually absorb the information better from a different teaching style. Or maybe the horse needs a slightly different technique with applying positive reinforcement. That's absolutely a thing. And we can do that. And there's nothing wrong with doing that. And this is where we are in need of, So, and this is also why I have my professional mentorship program and why I am very, a very big advocate of supporting other professionals that are using positive reinforcement in our industry because they, it is important to recognize that not everybody is going to be, I'm not going to be everybody's ideal teacher. It's just not going to happen. Just like, you know, there's other areas of my life where I've gone and tried to learn it from one person and I've just been like, Man, that just did not click. I don't understand. And then I go and learn from a different instructor and it clicks that time. And the same thing happens for this type of stuff, for horse training, for learning how to be a good horse trainer and caregiver. You know, handler and all of that, you're going to potentially need to look around a little bit until you find your ideal teacher, your ideal coach, and that is very normal. And then this is, you know, that's part of the method though, how I teach caters to a certain type of client and I have a certain teaching style and I work with a certain type of horse typically. That doesn't mean that, that positive reinforcement, it doesn't mean that positive reinforcement doesn't work if somebody realizes that maybe I'm not their ideal teacher, I would gladly refer them to one of my other colleagues. If I knew that potentially they just, the information wasn't like, it just wasn't clicking in their head, or maybe it wasn't really working out for their horse, and they moved on to working with one. Another colleague or somebody else that I knew, I'd be like, Yes, go do that. If it's working, do it. Because again, methods are different and teaching styles are different, and learning styles are different. And so it's really important that we start developing this diversity within the clicker training, Positive reinforcement force, free, all of that community and and training because there are so many different types of students out there that need different approaches, need different teaching styles. It is really, really important. The other reason I wanted to bring this up was because I hear quite often people talking about how positive reinforcement, like the method positive re it's, it's not a method, it's not positive reinforcement that word positive reinforcement is a form of operant conditioning. It is not a method in itself. How you go about applying operant conditioning and classical conditioning and all of the different tools and techniques and how you piece together the shaping plans and how, and your teaching style and how you present the information and how you organize your training program. That's a method and methods are not bad. I do encourage trainers and instructors and coaches to be flexible in their methods and to realize that they need to continue learning and continue adopting new new techniques and adding more tools to their toolkits and expanding their knowledge and. expanding their experience and being willing to adapt and support their clients and their, basically their learners in the way that they need as best of, as best as they can, and not getting too strict and too stuck in one way of doing things. That is super important, I think, for ethical training and a training that is not ego driven and building your training programs and all that in a way that supports the horse and supports the clients as best as you can. I think it's really important to remain flexible as professionals, but it's okay to develop a, you know, the, the structure of a, you know, quote method for consistency's sake, and I actually think this is really important to talk about as well, is that sometimes methods are really helpful because, they help you stay consistent with your type of training and creating a program that is follow that, that your students can follow, that your learners can follow. And it's not all over the place and like one day you're doing this and the next day you're doing that. I have definitely found since I have started to get better about establishing my kind of approach, my common. Path forward. My quote method that I am much more structured in my training and much more consistent. And this has helped my learners tremendously um, especially since my, like ADHD wants to run wild with me and I'm like, Let's try this today and let's try that today, , that does not help my learners. They're like, Wait, which one's the right way? And I'm like, Well, technically they all are or that's not helpful. Unfortunately, as much as my brain wants to do that and it's fun for me and I get really excited, like trying new things and I find that really reinforcing. It's not helpful when I'm coaching. That isn't to say that sometimes I won't strategically switch things up. Absolutely, I will. But doing it on a day to day basis is not fun for anybody. Except for maybe me . Although later on it'll become frustrating because my horses will start to get frustrated or my client's horses and then I start to get frustrated and I'm like, Why isn't this working? I'm like, Oh, because I've been inconsistent. So having consistency can be brought about through the development of a loose method or a flexible method, you could call it that and training uh, creating my foundation course was really helpful in this because it helped me establish at least the base, the core of my program that I go through with all of my horses and my client's horses and my students. Again, it's a flexible core. A flexible base, meaning that sometimes I have people go through my foundation course and we realize that the target is not going to be an ideal behavior for this horse at this time. So let's set that one aside and let's work on these other behaviors and then proceed forward with like cooperative care or something like that. Or maybe something else happens such as, you know, I almost always start with in protected contact, but actually this recently happened where we realized that this horse had a deep fear of people reaching their hands through the fence. And so protected contact wasn't going to be an ideal place to start. So again, flexibility in the method i, we switched, we switched outside to, outside of protected contact, so, or in whatever. Anyway, we worked with the horse without the fence barrier between us. This was after we had tried feeding from a hand buck or from a food bucket first to see if that would help. And it didn't help as much as we wanted it to, so we switched to not having the fence barrier. We had like a, a, a temporary solution. If I felt like the student really needed it, we could set up like a jump with, you know, across like a jump, two jump standards with a pole between it that could, it looked enough, it looked different enough from a fence that it, the horse did much better with it, but it wasn't, or it could have done much better. I don't even think we ended up doing that, but if it. Situation where we really need the protected contact. We had that as an option. But we went through the foundation behaviors without the protected contact, and that was just better for that horse. And that's okay. Does it follow my quote method? Mm, no, Not really, But it's okay because it worked out for them and it was ideal for them, and they are successful in it, and they feel empowered to continue going forward. And there was no point in press pressuring that issue at this time. Now I would like this horse to become less fearful of having hands go through the fence, but it wasn't the right time to introduce that. So this is what I'm talking about as far as flexibility within the method is it's okay to change things up and to, you know, customize to the individual learners.

[00:32:24] That is really important as a good trainer to be able to do. But wrapping it back up to my original point, positive reinforcement is not a method. And this was really confirmed for me going to teach this clinic this last weekend cuz I was teaching the students of another instructor who was also a Lima, humane hierarchy based, positive reinforcement trainer. And absolutely she is. We're on the same page and, but she applies the science different than I do and it's just, and little stuff here and there. It's like the how often or when reinforced or how they applied the jackpot, like just little stuff that look end up making the end result. Well, sorry the end result looks the same as far as like a happy horse that is responsive to cues and functional behaviors and all that, but the process of getting to that end result looked different. But we were both of the same opinions and the same, we have the the same ideals, and we are working to apply the same science. We just have slightly different techniques with doing it. So her method is different than mine, but that doesn't make her, And then also, that's also because her teaching styles different than mine too. Well, we're both applying positive reinforcement. And you bet you that if I had a student that I felt like would really benefit from this other instructor's training style and teaching style, so their method, I would absolutely send them to this other trainer just because I want what's best for my students. And yeah. So in this know, that's really the whole point that I wanted to get to is that we need to stop looking at positive reinforcement as a method and. And I guess I'll go to a traditional example here before we close up for today. So, as everybody knows, or as I started off talking about a lot of tr most horse training, a lot of traditional natural horsemanship, all of that, most training that everybody has seen and grown up with is predominantly focused on using negative. And then there's varying levels of positive punishment that get incorporated as well. However, as I'm sure you guys have seen, all of the trainers have different ways of using that, different techniques as far as applying it. They are, some people start off in a round pen and start off with things like join up and other trainers start off in more of like an arena and are gonna start off on a lead rope in a halter and doing some different stuff on the ground. Some people are gonna start off. Like breathing? I don't know. There's just, there's gonna be different ways. I mean, I can think of like 10 to 20 different trainers right off the top of my head, that train very, very different. Yet all of them are predominantly using negative reinforcement. The methods are different, but the science is the same. Meaning that the form of operating conditioning that is being primarily utilized is the same across the. . It's the way it's being applied that is different and, and then the teaching style and all that. That's what creates the method. Same idea here with positive reinforcement. And so I think it's really important to keep spreading this message and really get it out there and talk about this, that positive reinforcement is not a method. It is just a way that horses learn, that people learn that dogs learn that fish, learn that cat learn cats learn that birds learn all of the things lizards. I've seen all kinds of animals learn alligators, whatever, but the way that it is applied, it's based on the trainer, their learning history, what they have found works and doesn't work. And then it should be also individualized to the learners. That should be the big focus there. So that's really what I wanted to share today, and I think it's so cool.

[00:36:23] And I am, I love learning from other trainers. I love going and watching their, you know, quote method, their teaching style, their training style, and bringing in some bits and pieces into my toolkit as well. And I think that's an excellent thing to do for all trainers. And I'm very excited to continue to see this area of focus and horse training this This, I, I mean, cuz I can't call it a method cuz I just went on. So this, this type of training, this focus, this type of training focused on positive or utilizing positive reinforcement. I am very excited to see it continue to grow and more trainers create their own approaches and their kind of method and teaching styles and start to bring that to the public so we can all start to learn from each other. And there can be options for different teaching styles and training styles. I'm very excited to see that happen and so yeah, I'm excited about that. And. Definitely reach out to me if you are interested in learning more. I'm happy to share resources. I'm happy to refer you if you want to deep dive into the science and learn more about it, and until next time.

[00:37:34] Thanks so much for listening. If you enjoyed this podcast episode, I would love if you left us a review on wherever you listen to your podcast. If you'd like to learn more, head to our website. The willing equine.com, where you'll find a bunch of links to our different social media platforms. We have Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, Facebook, pretty much everything.

[00:37:58] We also have our blog, our training services, and the t e Academy where you can enroll in the foundation course that opens a few times a year. Thanks so much for listening, and I look forward to chatting with you in the next episode.

20 views0 comments