Science

Operant Counterconditioning

I got an earfull for calling CAT 'operant counterconditioning,' but I will continue to put CAT/CAT-H/BAT/LAT (and all the other Dr. Seuss techniques, lol!) under the umbrella term of operant counterconditioning, mostly because a better term to encompass all of them doesn't exist. WHAT IS ALL THIS ALPHABET SOUP? Building an behavior is operant conditioning. Building… Continue reading Operant Counterconditioning

Science

Roadblocking old neuropathways…

The mind wanders down the old pathways before the feet do... When is it appropriate to block our horse from wandering down the wrong neuropathways? I like the word ‘block,’ instead of ‘correct.’ Language matters, because it shapes our intention, and our intention shapes our interactions. I’ve learned that there are some situations where letting… Continue reading Roadblocking old neuropathways…

Science

New Paradigm? Or Standing on the Shoulders of Giants? Part 2

Isaac Newton For science-based trainers, there have been some really good conversations here recently that are challenging how, in some circles, we assume the need for a ‘new paradigm’ which throws the baby out with the bathwater, and often, influential horsemen under the bus. Some of these conversations have gained momentum from being discussed at… Continue reading New Paradigm? Or Standing on the Shoulders of Giants? Part 2

Science

New Paradigm? Or Standing on the Shoulders of Giants? Part 1

I’ve noticed a trend that, as our horsemanship evolves, we seem to forget that we are standing on the shoulders of giants. For instance, while natural horsemanship clinicians are often criticized as fixating on marketing by ‘reinventing the wheel,’ I find that us science-based trainers aren’t immune to this Christopher Columbus syndrome either, sometimes throwing… Continue reading New Paradigm? Or Standing on the Shoulders of Giants? Part 1

Operant Counterconditioning/CAT-H

CAT-H AS OPERANT COUNTERCONDITIONING

I will probably start referring to the work I do with unhandled or reactive horses as Operant Counterconditioning, instead of CAT-H, to avoid any misunderstanding of my stance on how it functions. I personally no longer refer to CAT-H as Negative Reinforcement, but Operant Counterconditioning, which, from my understanding, is how the originators of CAT,… Continue reading CAT-H AS OPERANT COUNTERCONDITIONING

Uncategorized

HYPERVIGILANCE AND REACTIVITY, PART 1: THE UNREGULATED ANIMAL

“Why do you do all that head-lowering relaxation posture stuff? It seems unnatural. Why don’t you just let the horse relax on his own time? Why don’t you use straight positive reinforcement to fix the mental state instead of fixating on posture? Looks like learned helplessness.” Because horses aren’t built to self-regulate; they are built… Continue reading HYPERVIGILANCE AND REACTIVITY, PART 1: THE UNREGULATED ANIMAL

Uncategorized

CLICKER COMPATIBLE NEGATIVE REINFORCEMENT

This year’s Art and Science of Animal Training Conference seemed to focus on a lot of the issues which are a little controversial in the positive reinforcement community right now, such as… CAT-H (Operant Counterconditioning)The potential for coercion in Positive ReinforcementThat Negative Reinforcement cues don’t necessarily function as conditioned aversivesThe idea of clicker compatible Negative… Continue reading CLICKER COMPATIBLE NEGATIVE REINFORCEMENT

Uncategorized

Lions and tigers and working over threshold, oh my!

Two hands for first touch… and, Lions and tigers and working over threshold, oh my! and, How do I tell the difference between approach and retreat and CAT-H? Mary Kitzmiller is also the horsewoman who inspired me to try clicker training. Little tricks like this are great when we’re working with a lot of unhandled… Continue reading Lions and tigers and working over threshold, oh my!